>Beg, Borrow, Steal

>The assignment was to appropriate. The term appropriation refers to the use of borrowed elements in the creation of a new work[2] (as in ‘the artist uses appropriation’) or refers to the new work itself (as in ‘this is a piece of appropriation art’). Art practices involve the ‘appropriation’ of ideas, symbols, artefacts, image, sound, objects, forms or styles from other cultures, from art history, from popular culture or other aspects of man made visual or non visual culture.[3] Inherent in the process of appropriation is the fact that the new work recontextualizes whatever it borrows to create the new work. In most cases the original ‘thing’ remains accessible as the original, without change. Sometimes it’s re-contextualized by being copied and pasted onto a personal web page. (All the above text has been appropriated from Jonah Huangs website which appropriated wikipedia.)

For this assignment I was immediately reminded of doing Takahatsu(or alms receiving) with the monks in Japan. We were not technically begging but offering disaster preventing dharanis as well as other chants which speak of the receiver and giver being the same and then offering the opportunity for the people to donate. Although the people of Japan had to do back breaking labor for the little money they earned they still gave not because we needed the money more than them but because they genuinely thought we could do more with their money and furthermore they had faith in the dharanis and the transfer of merit.

I’d also put Takahatsu into practice one other time since my experience with the monks. I had ran out of money in Tokyo and having no funds to return to Kyoto let alone sleep or eat in Tokyo I had decided to make a sign which read “Parents Killed by Ninjas, Need Yen for Kung Fu Lessons.” Strolling around the urban jungle a man had seeing my decorated backpack and asked me if was a painter. After a very broken conversation and use of a laptop on the street I found he had wanted me to paint his salon! He paid for all of my food, lodging, train fair and double what I asked for!!!

“Do not stand on a high pedestal and take 5 cents in your hand and say, “here, my poor man”, but be grateful that the poor man is there, so by making a gift to him you are able to help yourself.It is not the reciever that is blessed, but it is the giver.Be thankful that you are allowed to exercise your power of benevolence and mercy in the world, and thus become pure and perfect.” Appropriated from Swami Vivekananda

Thus for this project I decided to “beg” for a charity or rather offer Dharanis or didi’s off my didgi(eridoo), “borrow” people patience and time and then “steal” their money (and donated it directly to the homeless instead). Furthermore while I was downtown performing I saw a number of people dancing in the streets with their ipods on. I decided it looked like so much fun that I to would put on my iPod and join the dancers. The trib came down and interviewed me, asking me what I was doing for which I replied the only sense to make out of change is to plunge with it and join the dance!


~ by Benjamin Wuest on September 17, 2010.

One Response to “>Beg, Borrow, Steal”

  1. […] What is Takahatsu? […]

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