Passage

 

Passage

Passage, 2018, Rachel Clarke and Stephen Blumberg

Passage is a journey through our ancient past and possible future. The piece was prompted by environmental concerns, and was created after a residency in Tanzania in 2016. In central Tanzania we were introduced to the ancient rock art of Kondoa created by the ancestors of the Sandawe people. The rock art was carefully documented by archaeologist Mary Leakey in the 1950s. Studying her tracings along with seeing some of the rock art works in the field provided inspiration for this piece. The majority of sonic elements were derived from field recordings made in Tanzania, including recordings made on the gong rocks at the Moru Kopjes in the Serengeti. 

We had the privilege of meeting a contemporary Sandawe medicine man or shaman, who shared aspects of their beliefs with us. Still living in a remote part of central Tanzania, the Sandawe can trace their lineage back to the first sapiens, and were hunter-gatherers until about forty years ago. The Sandawe culture blends modern and ancient influences. They still observe their animist religion and shamanic healing practices which demonstrate a deep connection to nature and the cosmos, a perspective that they share with most early indigenous cultures, regardless of location.

Passage, 2018, Rachel Clarke and Stephen Blumberg

In the twenty-first century our future is threatened by the destructive forces of willful corporate greed imperiling the life of humans, other species, and the planet. Passage contains an environmental message: although we live in an entirely different reality, we can reconnect to the consciousness of our ancestors, recognizing the interdependent nature of existence to model a hopeful future for our world – one in which the annihilation of the planet may be averted.

Passage, 2018, Rachel Clarke and Stephen Blumberg

Passage is a journey through our ancient past and possible future. At the start of the piece the viewer is assaulted by vestiges of physical reality, a space gyre of junk and remnants of contemporary life. Gradually we leave the material world behind, passing through a boneyard that represents ancestral memory and the ephemerality of life. We leave the body behind and travel into a realm of visions, an elevated state of consciousness. Led by stones symbolizing the wisdom of the ancestors, we move through space and across astral planes, connecting to a larger consciousness. Finally, the viewer returns to the physical world, but one that is replenished and healed, a multi-species paradise of living things.