MomenTech, United States

Residency Period: 1 November 2013 - 30 April 2014


Bio

MomenTech is an experimental production studio based in New York City, founded in 2010 by Filipino-American conceptual artist Reynard Loki and Polish-American multimedia artist Maciej Toporowicz. American filmmaker Mika Johnson joined in 2013. Inspired by transnational progressivism, cosmology, post-humanism, ecology, neo-nomadism, futurism and more, MomenTech has created pop culture remixes, instructional works, site-specifc installations, public space interventions and user-generated content pieces, developing over 35 projects and participating in 18 group exhibitions in the United States, Canada, Germany, Italy, Greece, South Africa, China and the Philippines.

momentech.blogspot.com/


On-hiatus Proposal Summary

As of November 1, 2013, MomenTech is on hiatus from any and all creative production for a six-month period as they engage fully with our proposed on-hiatus activity: a daily meditation practice.

MomenTech's hiatus residency also includes meditation research, data collection and progress updates posted to the RFAOH website.

This investigation into meditation continues MomenTech's interest in the practice, which began in 2010 with Field Experiment, an interactive, site-specific audiovisual project that explores meditation, self-hypnosis, the media and our cosmic origins (via Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation, or CMBR) by asking participants to imagine a field after having stared into live television static for a period of 10 seconds. Field Experiment was selected by the Behring Institute of Medical Research to be a part of their first publication for "Placebos for Art," a long-term research project investigating the influence of "art-based placebos" on public health.

Meditation was also a theme in MomenTech's 2011 project Mandala-Tanque, in which pétanque competitors are invited to play a game on the surface of the pétanque court on which a Tibetan Buddhist sand mandala has been drawn. The project was selected for inclusion at the 2011 Dumbo Arts Festival.

MomenTech will resume its normal production schedule on May 1, 2014.

To contact MomenTech, please email: m01123581321345589144@gmail.com.


Final Report

Reynard Loki:

Being the primary writer in MomenTech, the task of composing the group's response to the exit questionnaire naturally fell on me. My suggestion to my fellow collaborators was that I would draft a response from the group as a whole and Mika and Maciej would add their own thoughts. But the more I thought about what we "should" express as a group, the more I realized that it was a bit of a fool's errand. It makes sense: Meditation—the daily practice of which was the main activity of MomenTech's residency—is ultimately an individual journey.

Of course, group meditation is a common practice; I have participated in several such gatherings at the Tibet House in New York during our residency as part of my own exploration into the various styles of meditation. But in the end, meditation is an intensely personal activity that can lead to intensely personal revelations, even as it may help to strip away what is to be one of humans' heaviest burdens: the ego.

The initial structure of our residency was straightforward: Each of MomenTech's three members would engage in an individual daily meditation practice for the residency's six-month period. But while the design of our residency may have been rather simple, its goals were anything but: to "develop mindfulness, concentration, insight, wisdom." That's pretty heavy-duty stuff.

Did we develop any of these aspects? I'd like to say yes, but who can really know? Meditation is not so much a "fix-it" therapy as it is a lifestyle, a way of being present in the world. Perhaps that movement towards "being present" and "being in the present" affected MomenTech's ability to plan for future events around the residency. For example, at the outset, we were all gung-ho about hosting weekly online open meditation sessions via Google Hangouts. That plan never materialized until the very end. (We hosted an open meditation on Google Hangout on the last day of our residency.)

One thing is for sure, MomenTech really did go on hiatus and for the first time in our four-year history, took a break from making art; or rather, taking a break from producing the things MomenTech produces (MomenTech, as a rule, avoids using the terms "art" and "artists.") But is that even possible? Art is often compared to life. And if art, like life, is a continual process, then can an artist truly avoid "making art"? Perhaps MomenTech did not think about, design and build a "product," per se, but the experiences we had, both individually and as a group, during our six month hiatus will forever be a part of all our future work in some fundamental way.

Our residency did "create" one kind of important thing: questions. And perhaps the best thing about our residency with RFAOH. Some of the best effects that meditation can call forth have to do with a growth in awareness. And part of becoming aware is to challenge one's status quo, to continually ask questions. What is art? What does it mean to create it? Can an artist take a break from making art? Is meditation an art form? Conversely, can making art be meditative?

I asked my fellow MomenTechnicians to email me a few lines of thoughts and observations a few days after the residency ended.

 

Maciej Toporowicz:

"Having a surgery and recovery during the residency taught me that meditation has its limits, at least for me," Maciej said. "I wasn't able to meditate, because the post-surgery stress was too much." He added that "having opportunity to meditate more often than usually moved me closer to solving my personal koan, the one I have been trying to solve since a while."

 

Mika Johnson:

"The main challenge the residency posed for me was in relation to self-discipline. On some days finding time to meditate was not an issue, whereas on other days it was almost interruptive, even frustrating. Undoubtedly, this was partly because the residency was not in a physical space, with a community of artists or meditation practitioners working toward a common goal. However, in the end, this absence of a physical space and community made my practice stronger, in the sense that I had to learn to integrate my meditation time with my normal routines and responsibilities, which is also a useful approach to art making as well.

"In the beginning, we had originally set out to answer short daily and weekly questionnaires. We took a lot of time formulating these questions, which were later abandoned. My guess is that the practice immediately became something very personal, which in many ways was difficult to comment on, at least by questionnaire. I responded similarly to the blog, in the sense that I found it challening to write about something that felt entirely personal. I simply didn’t feel I had much to contribute, as the content of that practice was my own subjectivity, not something that I could generalize about or even articulate. In retrospect, I do wish MomenTech had agreed to do one spontaneous drawing before and after each meditation session, as it would have physicalized that response, without rationalizing it. We did this on the last day and all found it surprisingly interesting and satisfying."

"Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through," wrote French author Anais Nin. "Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death."

 

Could taking a break from "creating art" help to avoid a kind of "artistic death"? Perhaps. One thing is for sure, for six months, a residency with RFAOH changed the normal "elected" state of MomenTech. The decision to meditate during our hiatus only heightened the experience.

Finally, on behalf of MomenTech, I would like to thank Matt and Shinobu, the founders of RFAOH, for making this all possible. We are fortunate to have been a part of this program. Through our residency, MomenTech sowed important seeds for the future.


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On Sep 10 2015, seo commented on Kill the Buddha!: Hello Web Admin, I noticed that your On-Page SEO is is missing a few factors, for one you do not use[...]

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back in a saddle

Happy to report. First successful meditation since my surgery. I managed few times to get to the surface tension. I borrowed this term from physics and I use it to describe a moment in meditation, when you can glide formless on time/space interface. 

 

Leave a Comment (3)

Matt wrote on Jan 20:

Conratulations Maciej, Happy you are regaining your strength!

Mika wrote on Jan 18:

Very happy to read this my friend.

shinobu wrote on Jan 17:

happy to receive the report (:

 


My garden

It comes as disappointment to realize that once your body takes over, it temporary suspends all your previously manufactured mental defense structures. Since I have been meditating for years, I thought, I built a garden where I can always spend time free of worry and distraction.

 
Meditation is considered a state of equilibrium between body and mind. Once your body gains upper hand, there is no more balance left. In my case breath has been uneven, sudden bouts of cough occur, body shakes with each heartbeat. I feel like a meat bag.

 
Pain and discomfort is too strong. It is here and it is now.You can’t fight it. It is not like clearing your mind from distracting thoughts. It is tangible, you are absorbed by it. There are clearly limits in a way we can control our bodies. We gradually loose our control while aging.
 
Imagine you are living you life full force and suddenly you are removed from your castle and thrown into a pit. No warning given. The sheer randomness of fall comes close to sheer randomness of birth. No explanations are available.
 
Of course, I hope to heal soon and be back in my garden again. I found it disappointing though, that I wasn’t able to use meditation to find a solace or ease the pain. Perhaps it would work, if I find experienced practitioner, or Master to guide me through.
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Winter Meditation for Indoor Spaces by MomenTech

Cold winter days are the perfect time to meditate indoors if you live in a place where buildings have central heating. Like the sound of bells or other instruments used in various meditation practices, central heating units emit a continuous low humming sound, perfect for shutting your eyes and tuning in to. If the building you find yourself in does not have central heating, look for a vending machine or refrigeration unit, both of which also emit low humming sounds.

1. Position: we recommend finding a seat near a heating vent or 7 meters away from a vending machine or refrigeration unit. If you cannot find a seat, especially one that will allow you to sit comfortably with your spine straight, we recommend standing or sitting on the floor. Whatever the case, let your muscles relax. Your body should be centered and free of tension.

2. Breath: close your eyes. As the humming sound becomes part of your inner landscape, become aware of your breath. Don’t try to control it, just breath deeply and naturally, centering your attention just below your naval. Attempt to become one with your breath and the droning sound emitting from the vent or machine(s).

3. Vision: this meditation works best with your eyes closed.

4. Sound: allow the sound of the heater or machine to wrap itself around your body, like a warm, pulsating blanket. After this sensation feels comfortable, allow everything in, in one breath, feeling the sound engulf your sensorium. Assign the patterns of sound a color, or even multiple colors, that make you feel calm, restored.

5. Awareness: come back to your breath. You are aware of your posture, the vent, the machines. Your eyes are closed. You are listening to a symphony of sound and allowing it do whatever it likes. You are aware of it, not suppressing it. Allow it to exhaust itself. 

As the heater or machine sounds change frequency, feel different parts of your body release tension. When all the tension you brought to the meditation is gone, slowly open your eyes. Return to the world, renewed and awakened.

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Television

Full frame image from an original 8×10 negative by Richard Avedon. Andy Warhol’s scars resulted from extensive, life-saving surgery following misandrist Valerie Jean Solanas’ gunshot wound to his chest.

Upon recovery, Warhol had this to say about his near-death experience, “Before I was shot, I always thought that I was more half-there than all-there – I always suspected that I was watching TV instead of living life. People sometimes say that the way things happen in movies is unreal, but actually it’s the way things happen in life that’s unreal. The movies make emotions look so strong and real, whereas when things really do happen to you, it’s like watching television – you don’t feel anything. Right when I was being shot and ever since, I knew that I was watching television. The channels switch, but it’s all television.”
mikophoto – the blog
 
A wise man, recognizing that the world is but an illusion, does not act as if it is real.

Buddha
 
“Have you ever had a dream, Neo, that you were so sure was real? What if you were unable to wake up from that dream, Neo? How would you know the difference between the dream world and the real world?”
Matrix

Does The Matrix not repeat exactly Plato’s disposition of the cave (ordinary humans as prisoners, tied firmly to their seats and compelled to watch the shadowy performance of (what they falsely consider to be) reality? 
Zizek
 
When I was in hospital, I felt exactly what Warhol describes as unreal, I had to pinch myself hard to feel that this is really happening to me. Everything was coming through cotton. They  would come day and night, wake me up, give me things to swallow, shoot me with heparin till my stomach was blue, check me, touch me. I didn’t feel 100% myself, It was more like I was a rag doll or a meaty hologram. Right after surgery, I was in a room separated from main room by a screen/curtain. I could hear never ending static of gossips, jokes, intimate confessions, complaints and other audio traffic exchanged by stuff, nurses and doctors. It was like I was tuned to one radio station 24/7. The feeling of illusion or a dream was intense. I suppose, this is what what Warhol described as watching television.
 
Static, as remembered by some of us from analog television is also called cosmic microwave background radiation (CMBR). It fills up the whole universe, and it is considered to be left over from Big Bang.
Well, what if the universe is a giant 3-D TV broadcast, and we just occupie this one particular channel?
 
 
 
 
Leave a Comment (4)

Maciej wrote on Jan 6:

I see Zizek doesn't has a good rep on these pages..LOL. I found him in a similar spot as Baudrillard. Both are crossover from philosophy to pop culture, and boy, they can talk..

shinobu wrote on Jan 5:

and the real tragedy happens when those young fresh-out-of MFA type artists proudly "quote" his babbling in their "conceptual" art work -- (Clearly, not your kind of quotation, Maciej), right, Matt?

Maciej wrote on Jan 5:

I read Zizek a lot many years ago. He was a breath of fresh air in world of dusty academia. I also like his using pop culture and movies to illustrate his theories. I like when you say " the difference between the dream world and the real world is not significant". It is significant for most people on this planet. You must be a real artist. As for myself, I feel compelled to experiment time and time again on my conscious and perception in order to break on through to the other side. ( as Jim Morrison wrote). It is my pet project.

milena wrote on Jan 5:

I can’t believe you quote babbler Slavoj Zizek from my country. He has good education, but he usually only says aloud things which we all know and think about but never say.
Maybe for me personal the difference between the dream world and the real world is not significant, both are of the same importance or equal real.

 


soap bubble

Coming to border line between life and death. The rotting valve spewing blood clots is a sure agent behind stroke. It hasn’t happened this time. It is shocking though, how thin is the line between being and not being. It is a soap bubble.This brush with death makes me feel there is no time left to waste. Since one can die at any moment, it is foolish to live in past or future.

Leave a Comment (1)

milena wrote on Jan 3:

I wish you good luck and good doctors.
I think about ill animals. They do nothing, just wait on some safe place, secure from any attacks.