Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Words: Igor Santizo's Pivot/Horizon

Here Comes the Rain Again
More LIVE5: To Igor Santizo's Photo Set

The first part of Igor Santizo's piece Pivot/Horizon is described in the gallery flyer as "a communal soundwalk within the proximity of the gallery, as an exercise in (in)attention, listening and the wayward driftings of the quiet mind." I had experienced sound walks as aided by headphones and pre-recorded soundscapes, but in tonight's walk the city provided the sound track. This "no tech" style sound walk comes out of the Acoustic Ecology movement explored by artists such as Hildegarde Westercamp. Santizo explained that he would ring a bell at the beginning and end of the walk. He asked that we be silent during the journey. He gave us a length of small, white circular stickers to place where we wished as an act of marking specific places that attracted our focus.

Did I mention the sun had gone down and it was pouring rain? In spite of this, over fifteen people came to walk in silence with Igor. The first thing that echoed out into the night was the sounds of trains shunting just a few yards away from us. This is the sound I often hear from miles away in my bed at night. A helicopter came next, then a garbage truck. We walked along a semi-industrial street and paused in empty shipping and parking lots. The rain sounded different in relation to the materials the buildings were made of. One got a sense of the textures of the roofs and walls without even looking at them. I kept looking at the rain falling in streams and sheets down the streets toward the rail yard. In some ways this black rain was calming. At other times it was overwhelming. "Too much rain! Too much rain!" I panicked. The stickers were soggy and my hands were cold. I resented having to stick them on places when I wanted just to be listening.

I was distracted by the rain. After a summer-long garbage strike the rain feels calming, as though it is cleansing and renewing the city, but it reminds me that winter is coming. Since we've just had two particularly long, wet winters the rain fills me with a sense of dread, of having to shore myself up for a long, dark journey ahead. The hopeful thing was being in a group of people, feeling supported and safe in a place I normally would not go at night by myself. That was my favorite element of the piece--witnessing the beauty of Railtown at night among friends.

I focussed on the sounds of footsteps of the participants. Two women were wearing boots with heels. One woman's heels were causing her feel to cave in towards the center, suffering for fashion. The sounds of the boots were distracting, but in this case the distractions were what created the meditation. One thinks of meditation of the act of clearing the mind and making it blank and neutral, however Santizo is not coming from a particular spiritual tradition of meditation. He is creating his own form of meditative practice. At the end of the walk he rang the small bell repeatedly and blew an instrument that sounded like a train whistle. He provided a playful ending to our heightened sensory experience.

Igor Santizo is inviting anyone to join in the second part of this piece, which will be a series of meditations with small groups of people in private homes. He is asking for interested participants and also for people willing to open their homes for the meditation sessions. For more information contact the Helen Pitt Gallery at (604) 681-6740 or email

Lori Weidenhammer


Anonymous said...


for those with further interest,
here is the text from the brochure:

Helen Pitt Gallery presents: (2007)
Pivot / Horizon:
By Igor Santizo

“Nothing happens until something moves.”
_Albert Einstein.

“The only thing that is not art is inattention.”
_Marcel Duchamp.

What does happen in that horizon next to nothingness?
What can we experientially realize, when we approximate stillness?
How is enacting quietude a performed event?

Pivot/Horizon is a two-part study that aims, within the context of the LIVE Performance Art Biennale; to look at stillness, quiet and the act. Through a mostly decentralized yet shared-act, rather than a typical performer/audience dialectic; the event nature of uneventfulness is explored. This study is about subtle and participatory action; where being, attention and consciousness are regarded as the central motifs.

Through the gestures of sitting and walking in silence, we are invited to pay attention and simply observe. With the only requirement being: the willingness to engage as a silent and open participant. In order to enter that zone: where next-to-nothing is the “happening”, and the suchness of life is endlessly presenting itself as suchness.


“The outer sun hungers for the inner one.”
_Jakob Böhme. De signatura rerum, 1621

“Each person is in the best seat.”
_John Cage. Silence, p.97

Meditation, in an online definition, is described as: “a state of concentrated attention on some object of thought or awareness. It usually involves turning the attention inward to a single point of reference.” The act of sitting, as an informal meditative moment, is for this project thought of as a “performed” event, one that is about mutually holding stillness and spaciousness; rather than desiring climax.

Pivot is intended as the gathering of small private meditation groups. These pods of momentary stillness, are to be held within private spheres: in people’s homes. These ephemeral gestures are thought of as a counterpoint, to the often lively and animated nature of performance; as well as the busy-making and hectic nature of our worldly lives. It is through these small intimate moments of voluntary silence, that our readymade-being may be seized.

Why acquiesce to the moment as-is? How is outer stillness or the inner sphere of the mind: eventful? What does the zero-point of interiority reveal?


“Walking meditation means to enjoy walking without any intention to arrive.”
_Thich Nhat Hanh. Resting in the River.

“We may make no impact, leave no trace. We may never even be part of a conversation, barely make a difference in someone’s thoughts.”
_Kirsten Forkert. In Against Information, notice.

Similarly for the second and parallel aspect of this study; walking is considered from the meditative orientation, as a performative act in Horizon. How can walking be an attentional event? In the case of this gesture, a group is gathered for a walkabout, with the invitation to allow stillness and natural observation to emerge.

Gathering in this way is inspired by Soundwalks, which are listening explorations that emerged out of the Acoustic Ecology field. A soundwalk is defined as: “a silent group-walk led along a planned route to experience a location’s ambiance and underlying rhythms. … A soundwalk enables its participants to actively listen, open ears and consciousness to the complex orchestration that the environment is composing at all times.”

How is reality, a tableaux of events always-already-occurring?
What does the event-horizon of exteriority reveal?
What is an unmediated experience of this reality like?

“The world is all that is the case.”
_Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus.

“Your innermost sense of self, of who you are, is inseparable from stillness. This is the I Am that is deeper than name and form.”
_Eckhart Tolle.

Pivot / Horizon is intended to act as a frame for a raw moment, to simply exist. As well as be a reflection, on the nature of experience and ontological art-making.

Finally, this project is offered as an: invitation, experiment and question, into the nature of first hand experience. Silence and stillness are only the external conditions, here performed, which allow for the fold-of-form and the field-of-consciousness to be allowed: whole, anew and fresh.


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