Mafka Mari is an artist working in the condition of ‘bastard spirituality’, the space of simultaneous consumer product and theory of spirituality.
I would like to develop a project that puts into conversation 'good' posthumanism and 'bad' posthumanism, namely spiritual posthumanism and neoliberal posthumanism. This goal would be achieved through creating two artifacts: a digital publication depicting an explicitly post-human spirituality, and the design and production of a real candle. The publication would consist of diagrams, CGI-created realistic looking expressionistic paintings, and a text. The candle will be documented as it is taken from 3D model, to 3D print, to silicone mold, to casting wax (or another lipid) pierced by a cotton wick, and finally to its product photography. Between these two artifacts will lie the final discursive artwork, existing in neither of these two artifacts independently, for they are both strictly functional if fanciful creations.
Candle-making is as tied to spirituality as it is to small-business venture, especially overwhelmingly female-owned business. The candle may be the most common ritual object and symbol across all Western religions and spiritualities, no doubt overwhelmingly Christian or Christian-appropriated. The candle is the perennial and syncretic object par excellence. It is a small pedestal for a small fire: a self-identical soul, or the icon of human power and fascination. By virtue of being a consumer product, the candle is an object of neoliberal post-humanism and is especially so as the product of small-business made by a business-brained individual, who strives to further self-dehumanize and self-instrumentalize for profit-seeking motives, to succeed in an online marketplace of other posthuman individual market-actors.
The theoretical publication will depict an explicitly post-human spirituality. Though spirituality is difficult to define, I have developed a working definition of spirituality as an interior work-space composed of vocation and mystical experience, that can be summarized in secular terms as “self-transcendence toward the ultimate value one perceives.” This interior work-space is 'bastard' and 'super-syncretic', and goes through periods of enchantment and disenchantment, which can correspond in both ways to the loss and gain of self-centered and dualist consciousness. My hypothesis for this project and my overall creative-theoretical trajectory is that spiritualities can be satisfyingly 'captured' or 'simulated' through analytic 'templates' and expressionist 'vignettes'. Templates and vignettes would be used to simulate a potential posthumanism spirituality, in principle, point of ultimacy, practice and emotional experience, with an eye to potential biotechnological transformations.
Briefly stated, the template for a spirituality sets the analytical stage, while the vignettes perform the emotional and principle-laden scenes. The vignettes can be depicted as transitory expressionistic paintings, that prioritize subjective reality over objective reality. They belong to the concentric, tenebristic space of the candle, set against the institutional gaze of the sun. The series of vignettes I will create will correspond to post-human spiritual stages, which as not necessarily going to be linearly progressive. These vignettes will be generated entirely in Blender, to look entirely like they were painted by hand. The template will be a minimal schematic, also drawn in Blender in either 2, 3 or 4 dimensions.
To accomplish a 'conversation' between these two objects -- the candle and the theoretical spirituality publication -- they will be placed under the roof of a single project, while remaining independent, neither object subsuming the other one. In other words, the candle would not illustrate or represent the theoretical work in the publication; and the theory would not be the artist-statement for the candle. While the candle product and the digital publication will both be presented as standalone spiritual-posthuman artifacts, the final unifying artwork will be a disjunctive inadvertently performative academic-style and advertisement-like presentation on both of these two objects.