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“Reflection” art installation at WCSU celebrates impending Dalai Lama visit

By Western Connecticut State University

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DANBURY, CT - Western Connecticut State University, in cooperation with DNKL (Do Ngak Kunphen Ling) Buddhist Center, will present “Reflection: Indra’s Net,” an exhibit of sculpture, sound and music, to mark the beginning of a series of arts and music events that will culminate with talks by His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the university on Oct. 18 and 19.

The exhibit will be presented from Wednesday, Sept. 5, through Wednesday, Sept. 19, in Warner Hall on the WCSU Midtown campus, 181 White St. in Danbury. Viewing hours will be 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends. The exhibit will be free and the public is invited. An opening reception will be from 3 to 5 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 6, in Warner Hall.

“Reflection” is the result of a unique collaboration between London artist Susan Haire and New York composer Stephen Dydo. They said the exhibit examines interconnectedness as represented by Indra’s Net, an infinite lattice encrusted with glittering jewels, each reflecting all the others in its facets and each containing the whole.

In the exhibition, 600 mirrored sunglass lenses reflect the viewer simultaneously and shimmering pennants are suspended around the space. At the same time, each installation projects its own sonic environment through special headphones supplied at the exhibition. Looking up at a sculpture of glimmering shattered DVDs, one hears a continuously rising, crystalline melody, while turning towards a mirror maze in the center of the exhibition, the listener hears a dance piece for rock ensemble.

Offering an invitation to a journey of self-reflection, the exhibition draws on the medieval tradition of speculum by using the mirror as an aid to reflection and contemplation. Visitors will not only see images of themselves but multiple reflections of the space and different reflective materials, creating myriad distortions. Reflection is both the subject and the medium; the installations consider Buddhist principles but also embrace broader contemplative images and ideas drawn from different philosophies.

Major portions of this installation were shown in May and June this year at Peterborough Cathedral, England. This ambitious exhibition ranged across the Cathedral with works a hundred feet high.

Dydo and Haire have been working together since 2006 to create collaborative installations. Using the combined art forms of Haire’s 3-D work, sculpture and painting and Dydo’s music and sound, they develop ideas together to build a themed body of work creating multi-dimensional environments for specific spaces. They have collaborated on six previous exhibitions including “La vita nuova” at The Cello Factory in London in 2007 and “Watermusic” at outLINE in Amsterdam in 2010.

DNKL Tibetan Buddhist Center, located in Redding, Conn., under the guidance of spiritual director Gyumed Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Jampa and the spiritual tradition of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, promotes Universal Peace through Tibetan Buddhist teachings to create enlightened individuals who work to end the suffering of others. DNKL offers classes (both online and at the center) and training in Buddhist moral discipline, meditative concentration, and transformative wisdom.

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