Back in 2019, I worked on the Spheric Multitudes series inspired by the five elements of Buddhist Theravada tradition which I understood to be matter, sensation, perception, formation and consciousness.
As chance would have it, Consciousness, with its yellow core and bright red protrusions gained a premonitory character as Covid 19 spread across the globe. So, isolated at home, often trapped inside my own quarantined head, Consciousness gained a new meaning, far deeper and more complex than the initial concept.
The Destruction of Consciousness, uses Ai Weiwei’s, Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn, 1995 as the starting point for the presentation of the act. Ai Weiwei, artist, exiled, arrested for 81 days in 2011 without charges, inspired this act in a very intimate way. Additionally, in this strange time of social distancing, the photographic series should allow the performance to be seen by those who cannot be near while – unlike a video recording – allowing time for interpretation and imagination.
Working with clay, the destruction of a project is always just a minute away. Too soft. Too brittle. Dropped. Air bubble. Explosion in the kiln. Cracked. Chipped. Crazing or crawling glaze. All these problems become challenges to overcome, through practice, precision and patience.
This time, however, the act of destruction was deliberate. For weeks, the action did not seem comparable to the joy that the five spheres together brought. However, the idea grew stronger, the destruction becoming almost inevitable. Still, even after I decided on the Destruction of Consciousness, it took 12 days to actually commit the crime. I could argue logistic issues (where to do it, who to be there, weather, etc.) but ultimately, I presume I just needed to get myself ready for The Destruction of Consciousness – Homage to Ai Weiwei in a time of pandemic.
The Destruction of Consciousness2020, Pedro Loza
Homage to Ai Weiwei in a Time of Pandemic
Photos by João Almeida