MAUNA, SOLO SHOW
DANSKE GRAFIKERNES HUS, COPENHAGEN (DK), APRIL 2016.
To practise yoga in space, is to preserve a memory of gravity.
In 1984 the Indian cosmonaut Rakesh Sharma is sent into outer space, aboard the Soviet Soyuz T-11 mission. One of his many tasks is to explore how yoga and meditation affect the body and the mind, in a non-gravitational environment. Sharma carries a camera with him, it is his own, to document his experiences. The images are black and white.
The year before the launch of Sharma´s mission the Czech media theoritician Vilém Flusser publishes his book Toward a Philosophy of Photography. In the introduction to it he writes that a photography is a significant surface, it signifies "something out there", in time and space, which we can only perceive as an abstraction. Flusser is especially concerned with the black and white image, which he regards as an optical theory. There isn´t such a thing, as a black and white condition in the world, the black and white is a conceptual borderline case, he writes.
Rakesh Sharma meditates in space, but the microgravity has an impact on his psychic condition and the nervous system. Light and shadows blur, and he hallucinates. Gravity controls our perception of time and our connection with the physical surroundings. Sharma is the first - and last - Indian cosmonaut. He floats above the Earth and possibly experiences the ancient Hindu concept of MAUNA.
The black and white condition doesn´t exist in the real world, but it ought to, Flusser writes. If we perceived the world in black and white, it would be more accesible for logical analysis. At this time, Flusser has returned to Europe after many years of exile in Brazil. In his book Rootless: A Philosophical Autobiography, he has written about this exile that the moment the exiled is capable of transcending his own culture - i.e. the culture he has lost a foothold in - a different kind of cultural experience becomes possible.
The exiled hovers, Flusser writes.