Series of photographs, 60 x 90 cm each, taken in 2008.
Hideharu Onuma, a master of Kyudo, the Japanese art of archery, once said “Sometimes we will hit the target...but will miss the self”. What is it about the process of ritual activity that causes or requires one to “lose” oneself? What is the relationship between the action, the loss of the self, and the successful arrival at the goal. What role does meditation, a ritualized and repetitive mental action, play in the immolation of the physical self? According to Onuma’s observation the goal, the place wherein lies success, is set opposite the self. We, the seekers of the target, are set in constant and ever shifting tension with that which we seek. This is the very essence of meditation. Preparing one’s mind and subsequently one’s body to enact the release that tension from within. The question then becomes a critical one of the very way we are taught to define terms such as “goal” and “self”. Very basic terms that, particularly in democratic capitalist societies, underlie the very fabric of the social construct. It is under this circumstance that a deeply mineable metaphor has developed around the athletic performance art of Kyudo.