performances that American artist, Tashi Leo Lightning is doing all over
the world under the title No Boundaries are about meditation.
These performances resemble tai chi at first glance, but the slow motions
of the artist's body that take hours are coming from a meditation process.
Lightning usually does No Boundaries performances at national
monuments and boundaries between countries. By doing that he is trying
to eliminate boundaries between people, nationalities, cultural traditions,
ideologies, and especially the boundaries between himself and the spectator.
Lightning's performances come from deep concentration which makes a strong
impression on the viewer, not by the performances outward effects
which can seem monotonous sometimes, but by the radiation of the artist's
Leo Lightning has been performing No Boundaries for the last
three years. In 1989 he performed at the Berlin Wall, just prior to its
opening. Recently, in September of this year his hour-long No Boundaries
was performed in Amsterdam on the Dam Square. After that he did it in
October in Paris, under the glass pyramid at the Louvre, when it took
nine hours, and his latest performance at St. Mark's Place in Venice took
about twelve hours.
Leo Lightning is an intermedia visual and performing artist who uses photography,
collage, printmaking, drawing, sculpture, and performance to create art
that reflects social, environmental, and spiritual values. Born in New
York, he has lived in Hawaii for sixteen years, synthesizing art into
his study and practice of Buddhism, meditation, metaphysics, psychology
and the healing traditions. As a performer, his interests led him through
dance, figure skating, mime, tai chi, aikido and theatre.
BOUNDARIES - International Sited Performance Work
Tashi Leo Lightning
performance series "No Boundaries" began as a way to explore
the process of the way boundaries are formed in individuals, language,
culture, ideas, the shifting perspective of meaning, and the mind,
out of which we form choices and identities. Using awareness sustained
through meditative and shamanistic views a site is intuitively chosen,
and often a temporary visual element is installed there. Sites are
either national monuments, sacred sites, or the actual borders or
boundaries of countries. Each site and performance is a section
of the work that was begun in 1989 and continued for seven years.
ones body to move is very different than making movement. Sustaining
a choiceless awareness and concentration as well as not allowing
thought, physical sensation, and emotion to dominate is the challenge
of this performance. The length of the sections has varied from
one hour to twelve hours, the mean being around four hours.
and expressing narratives about identity can foster understanding
from a mutual experience, or divide and create boundaries. This
performance work "No Boundaries" presents language in
a kinesthetic and non-narrative way in which viewers can choose
to relinquish identity in rational narrative structure and flow
an awareness that is not centered in past or future, but on the
continuous moment. The clothes worn during the performance varied
from all white, all black, black and white, and all grey, and included
a full year in 1990 dressed in pants and shirt that had green trees
and landscape and a small house, with animals and people. The clothes
of trees and landscape was to draw attention to the ecology of the
earth that is in peril, and the spiritual aspect that reverses the
human ego identity as the anthropocentric highest intelligence,
and gives acknowledgement to the larger intelligence(s) of the universe
that we are a part.
Dance of Shiva, the Hindu god of creation, preservation and destruction
comes to mind, as do the shamans of ancient traditions. Transformation
is the process and product of such a work, closing the gap between
subject and object, I and other, and attempting a non-aggressive
message and method, using the artist/performer as catalyst-alchemist-shaman-healer.
The transformation of the site, of the viewer, and culture can happen
at any moment that we allow ourselves to meet in unprejudiced moments
together, not in spectacle or fantasy. "No Boundaries"
attempts this by being a kinesthetic experience. Transforming the
mind is the ultimate aesthetic action.
Tashi Leo Lightning