Isnin, 17 Mei 2010

Reflecting Upon The Spirit of SusCos

SusCos through U.Smart MGTF is a pioneering effort to initiate transformative, explorative and trans-disciplinary ventures in the use of immersive and interactive new media technology as an engaging and sustainable means of creative expression. It will hopefully spark and encourage further research, experiment, exploration, fusion, production and engaging presentation of exciting creative projects by innovative individuals or groups in both the arts and sciences. It is an extension of USM’s transformative shift of mind-set from the “current ‘industry-factory’ metaphor to that of a ‘sustainability’ perspective or a ‘garden’ metaphor”. SusCos echoes USM’s commitment in operating as “the ‘garden’ to nurture the ‘flowering of the mind’, metaphorically speaking”(Dzulkifli Abdul Razak 2010).

SusCos will hopefully assist creative and innovative individuals to design collaborative media projects that will engage various Malaysian and international communities in a much more organic and meaningful way. Since MGTF USM is a public institution, everyone who engages with it is taken as a V.I.P. It is therefore imperative that MGTF USM serves as an interdependent converging site for its dearest stakeholders – creative individuals in various creative fields with the general public at large, especially schoolchildren. MGTF USM believes in focusing, imagining and creating the future now!

For the past few years, MGTF USM has been a melting pot of dedicated individuals and experts from various fields, all working together in engaging the general public with the various dimensions of the arts and sciences. For example, creative team at MGTF USM has worked with USM’s physicist, Dr. Chong Hon Yew in engaging with Malaysians from all walks of life and backgrounds with the fascinating world of astronomy. SusCos will hopefully extend such an art & science collaboration.
SusCos’s epitomizes USM’s continuous rejuvenation and transformative mode, especially in charting new territories, advocating sustainability and shifting from defunct paradigm. SusCos employs principles such as portability, audience-centered, people-defined, choice, modularity, inter-dependence, contextual, non-linear, interactivity, simultaneity, multiplicity, connectivity, flexibility, convergence, trans-disciplinary and many more. These principles are not only complimentary to and intrinsically inherent in Malaysia and Southeast Asia’s very own trans-disciplinary and multi-cultural heritage, they are also fundamental in providing an elemental shift of consciousness for contemporary creative art practices in the region. It also “calls for the redefining of the mismatch in our current higher education ideals as we take a leaf from Eastern wisdom which declares that ‘learning is about being and not about having’ as articulated by Confucius, or that of Islam that regards knowledge as a source to not only create material wealth, but also to create spiritual well-being”(Dzulkifli Abdul Razak 2010).

MGTF USM believes that sustainability starts from the very essence of our own consciousness, our mind, always in a state of awareness, always in presence, always in the ‘now’, always in the state of ‘being’, thus our tag “BEyond seeINg”
“The ‘garden’metaphor reinforces the fact that knowledge is diversity in unity and transcends what meets the eye. The term ‘tree of knowledge’ in fact is an ancient one that mirrors on the ‘oneness’of knowledge in a very interconnected way, at least at the philosophical level. It is all-encompassing and marks the convergence of meaning both in the tangible sense as well as in the intangible sense – the later is often being marginalised”(Dzulkifli Abdul Razak 2010).

Several preliminary steps have been initiated to further facilitate the series, including reviews of many studies on the human brain and mind as well as consciousness. In reviewing, MGTF also returns to its own diverse collections of traditional arts. MGTF has been engaging in a process re-discovering USM’s very own trans-disciplinary and multi-cultural heritage by reframing its diverse collections through its own converging lenses, rather than the typical reductionist lenses of the ‘machine-age’ and ‘industry-factory’ paradigm. In reframing the collections through Malaysia’s own socio-cultural, philosophical and cosmological perspectives, we may rejuvenate her rich heritage and reinforce the garden metaphor.

In addition to reframing, MGTF USM has also been engaged in audience research and surveys of various exhibition technologies, including new projection systems such as holography, 3D video mapping, motion tracking and many more. SusCos through U.SMart MGTF is also working on the up and coming MJVAX II (Malaysia-Japan Video Art Exchange Project) to be held at the National Art Gallery of Malaysia this coming July 2010. Several visual artists, known for their explorative tendency and use of video and media technology, have been invited to screen their work through SusCos system. The invitation will eventually extend to creative individuals from other fields, including from the sciences. MGTF USM is also planning to bring SusCos and Malaysian creative individuals to international platforms in the near future.
We at MGTF USM believe that everything is connected and nothing can stand proudly alone on its own. We see ‘success’ beyond mere tangible achievements that can only be quantified on a graph or chart. Instead, we cherish intangible values that include friendship, tolerance, interdependency, care, respect and most importantly love.

In ensuring a sustainable ‘tomorrow’, we also feel that the world ‘today’ is in dire needs for abundance of love and friendship more than anything else.
Through SusCos, we look forward to sustaining such abundance with you in 2010 and beyond.

Synopsis of Video Art
“Aku Naik Saksi (I Bear Witness)”
2010, DVD, 15 min.

This piece is based on syahadah or the proclamation and affirmation of faith in Islam. In such affirmation, one bears witness that “there is no god, but Allah.” The utterance of syahadah is fundamental in Islamic Tauhid. Tauhid essentially implies ‘making one” as embodied by Surahtul Al-Ikhlas. It also signifies the ‘oneness’ of knowledge.

Through Tauhid, one becomes aware of one’s state of mind (quantum energy) and able to return to the abode of peace or spiritual well-being. Such energy is sustained through the principles of interdependency, synchronicity and connectivity instead of fragmentation and chaos. Through zikr (repeated invocation of selected Quranic verses) one can learn to stabilize and silent one’s mind to reach a purer and higher state of consciousness (energy).

The video is presented through a series of ‘dissolve-in’ natural images of atoms, molecules, water, human fetus, domes, sun rays, satellite images, planets, stars, and galaxies in a rotational manner. The visuals are accompanied by recitation of certain verses from the Quran with heartbeats and breathing to provide rhythmic constant.

The mood is meditative and contemplative. It is meant to heal, dissipating toxic mind, fragmented thoughts and stained emotion, whilst synchronizing the mind, body and soul. It is also meant to heighten one’s state of awareness (to bear witness of one’s own mind and emotion). In a laying down position, with one’s backbone flat on the floor, one is invited to submit her/his ego (the small ‘i’) and bear witness of a greater intangible and universal force that is inherently vibrating within one’s higher form of consciousness.

Syahadah is pertinent in the light of current polemics surrounding the use of the word ‘Allah’. Perhaps such polemics may provide ample opportunity for better appreciation, deeper understanding, internalizing, living and manifestation of syahadah for everyone. Instead of poisoning, one should look at everything as a blessing and healing

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