Selfless self-portrait of the artist as aggregate, empty of essence apart from the luminous flux of relationships that are themselves empty of essence apart from the luminous flux of relationships.

Of all the distortions resulting from the nature of consciousness, none seems more pernicious than the illusion of self. Whenever I go fishing for my self (or anyone else casts a line for their own), all that is ever retrieved from that ocean are bit’s and pieces, fragments of thoughts and things. As I haul them into awareness, pulling them awkwardly from the natural flow of being, I casually confuse my catch for the whole sea of existence. Sometimes I haul in a small fish, a little observation, and sometimes if feels like a whale, but it is always and forever, less than the breath of a prawn compared to the great expanse of the totality that I am, that we are. All manner of sufferings arise as I confuse my conception of self with the actuality. For here is where limitations and divisions are born. Here is the fragmentation, where the infinite is diminished, where satisfaction is reduced to factions; it is little “I” in the world, little “I” getting somewhere, little “I” against the storm, little “I” in triumph and tragedy. It is little “I” separating my self from myself and from all the others, who are themselves inseparable from all that is. As Krisnamurty said so succinctly, “you are not what you think.” Recognition of this unity, of fluctuating dependent co-arising relationships is the immortal emptiness of consciousness, the undying selflessness, the cessation of suffering as a state independent of all other states. It is the face of each of us in and of each other.

I am not my pain. I am not my achievements. I am not... not what I think.

For more on these ideas, I recommend adventuring into the Buddhist concept of the 5 skandas and the paticcasamuppada, dependent co-arising.

Details of this piece were presented one at a time for a week on Facebook. Some people created their own relationships to the fragments, extending the art into a mini-collaborative experience. You can see that in the event discussion here:
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