NEGOTIATING PURITY—ALBEDO (Encountering Catharsis)
DIMPLE B SHAH
Albedo (white) is the color of enlightenment, healing, calmness, and absolute truth. My attachment and connection to this white color goes back to my childhood memories of visiting the Jain Temple with my parents. Almost everything in the temple is white—the temple building complex is made of white marble; the idols are made of the same material and decorated with real silver foil; most of the people wear white clothing while offering prayers; and you see people performing rituals with white rice. Even the small pieces of cloth covering the monks’ mouths are white.
The performance started with outdoor ritual act of carrying light reflection through mirrors on my head and cleansing the air. Inside, I had created a cube of transparent white cloth for my audience in which they experienced private one to one interaction with me. I used various cleansing elements such as a sandalwood stick which I ground and applied to audience members’ hands. The audience drew on black slate with black salt water, depicting their emotions. They also created a ritual rice drawing under my guidance.
In this performance I tried to bring the serene and spiritual experience of my childhood by creating a meditative experiential environment for my audience. The goal of the performance was to attain catharsis through various ritual processes. I led ritualistic actions and created a meditative environment to help the audience to encounter their true selves. It was an experience using both one-to-one interaction, and community interaction focused on healing. The most important part of performance was performing these rituals which involved all five senses.