Falling open to the world

In the beautiful conversation between Ann Hamilton and Krista Tippett, which I wrote about earlier this spring, Hamilton is formulating very nicely some of the yet unfinished thoughts I have been struggling with the last couple of months. As I see it, she is figuring out some of the things I hoped that Alain deBotton would grasp – but didn’t. Here are some clippings from the above mentioned conversation:


  • What are the circumstances for we ? – that I can enjoy the pleasure of something I’m seeing here, knowing that I’m also sharing this pleasure with the person next to me.
  • There is an interesting kind of intimacy with this total stranger, which the situation makes possible. And that this can change our whole day. We are alone together.
  • Maybe too much togetherness makes us really nervous.
  • Finding our own presence, our own gestures, in relation to a larger presence or being: across time, space and cultures.
  • As an artist working today: How can we create a circumstance in which those kinds of processes in joining and acknowledging can occur.
  • Labor is a kind of knowing. An evidence of someone else’s body in the object. 
  • The museum can be (like) a sacred place, soaked in beauty. A place where air and time feels different – calm.

ANN HAMILTON: the event of a thread (2012), Park Avenue Armory, New York

I find the idea of the sacred, as formulated by Hamilton – not as a relation to God, but to a greater, collective non-individual being, incredibly fruitful when thinking about art. Being alone together, being quiet together, letting our body connect to something outside of logic – this is what religion used to do for us, but for many of us no longer have  the power to do. But I wonder; can art? These are the things I like to study.

2 comments on “Falling open to the world

  1. There is something profound in the collective focused on art, secretly interpreting what they see by the rapt look on their faces. There is a desire to nudge the person beside you and exclaim your wonder, but a another desire to respect the peace and let the moment be contained within you.

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