Peace is brought to Pashino


Meditation is a practice aimed at removing one from the narrative of a time-bound life and bringing consciousness to rest in the present instant, where the past is forgotten and the future does not exist, perhaps as close as a living human can get to suspending time. Clearly a result of suspending time, viewed from a temporal perspective, is monotony – eternally. I have been interested in how some artworks can give a feeling of suspended time. The stillness seen in paintings by Thomas Jones or the photographs by the Bechers, seem to have a meditative quality.

Thomas Jones, Naples the Capella Nuova, 1782

Bernd and Hilla Becher, 1966. Winding tower, Glenrhondda Colliery, Treherbert, S. Wales.

A photograph of a bleak village being flown over by four helicopters in perfect formation was the starting point for recent work. It accompanied an article about Sino-Russian military manoeuvres; the specially built village of Pashino was given hell and finally liberated. The participating armies were well pleased, the only losers, apparently, were ‘the people of a nearby village who had hoped that [the] six armies might pulverise their own ghastly shacks and then rehouse them.’ (The Economist, 23 Aug, 2007). The precise positioning of the helicopters gives the image a paradoxically static quality.

Helicopters over Pashino

Is this photograph of the inhabited village or the doomed Elysium?

Are the helicopters actually coming here or just passing by on their way to a more important place?

What is going on?


2 thoughts on “Peace is brought to Pashino

  1. I really like your meditation/painting/photography idea, and obviously making art is a form of meditation as well!!
    Maybe my page is wrong, but it seems you have written the two paragraphs twice…
    I really like the helicopters. can we have more pictures please!!

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