Monday, 21 November 2011

Japan Philosophical Landscapes "Journeys Around a Spatially Arranged Landscape

Journeys around a spatially organised landscape was the principle behind the pilgrimage circuit. EG in Kyoto. The pilgrimages not by a hierarchical route leading to an ultimate goal but on a non hierarchical organisation around a system of magical numbers. P and lost none of the religious character. pilgrims were guided not to a specific destination but past a certain number of temples on a route all of which were of equal importance. This is an abstract system which works like a framework which is transferable so that it organise other situations in the same way. (Like a blueprint) Pilgrimages which had stretched over hundreds of miles could be condensed to fit in your own back garden These type of gardens were a final attempt to re introduce an explicit religious element into the secularised traditions of garden architecture in Japan.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Sandscapes of Ginkaku ji

This section of the film focuses on the Silver Pavilion of Ginkaku ji. It suits my purposes over the more popular Golden Pavilion in Kyoto as it describes more directly the phenomenon of Philosophical landscapes. Most people are concerned with the Golden pavilion because of its obvious beauty, a striking golden temple set in the middle of a pond, its still golden reflection a mirrored upturned version of itself creating an uncanny sensation of a floating vision in mid air.

However in some ways the Silver Pavilion, Ginkaku ji,  is no less beautiful despite its subdued  presence if compared to the Golden Pavilion. The addition of moss covered grounds and what I would call "sandscapes" - abstract images made with sand and grit give it a unique quality as a Zen temple. They do not represent the landscape or depict a particular landscape but communicate an essence or idea. The cone of sand in the garden resembles Mount Fuji however this is but a surface interpretation.  A mountain is seemingly a solid thing ostensibly made of hard rock. However mountains can fall or increase in size with volcanic eruptions. A miniature mountain of sand  conveys this state of flux or indeterminateness of things and life which Zen Buddhism teaches. The volume of sand shaped into a cone is held in a state of static but fluid tension which can change with a gust of wind or a heavy downpour of rain and then reconstituted anew. Similarly sand as waves convey the inter penetrability of things. This constant blurring of borders between materials shows the solid but non materiality of an idea given expression in three dimensional space. The essence of Zen Buddhism.