The embodied experience of light and shadow have functioned as central metaphors throughout the history of philosophy from Shakyamuni Buddha’s “Shadow Cave” to Plato’s “Cave of Shadows.” Only Zhuangzi, however, makes the penumbra—the luminous border between light and shadow—his central image for our existence; it being at once entirely co-emergent and co-dependent on the world from which it emerges and yet entirely self-realizing and self-so within its own experiential context.
“We know our world not by observing it from outside—from one direction, one angle— but by experiencing it embodied from inside of it, as part of it. Our surroundings— around, above and below us—we actively perceive in motion; by moving we unfold a rough terrain of experience. Through this engagement, the world teaches us not only how we perceive the world but how in pure experience—of light, air, space, movement.
“In art, space is both concrete and abstract. However, in art time is very difficult to perceive. Like a shadow, time can be conveyed through the interaction between volume and light—that is, time can be perceived through the movement of light in a particular physical space. Our engagement with such changes of light in space—taken as a continuous and whole field of experience—is precisely the process by which we perceive the world and are perceived by the world.”
. Concept & Process .
Walking Penumbra 行影支离
INK Studio, Beijing, China
Mar 24, 2018