Gómez: Central System

Werner Heisenberg once wrote that “The same organizing forces that have shaped nature in all her forms are also responsible for the structure of our minds.” This quote is one of the first things you see on Chilean artist Juana Gómez’s website, and it sets the mood for many of her works — particularly those in her Constructual series, where today’s particular work, Central System, is housed. As Pina Bausch said, “Everything belongs to everything else.”

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This includes everything within our own bodies. This includes our body and our mind. And what I love about Gómez’s works is how seamlessly (no pun intended) she incorporates the different layers of the human corpus, evident, subtle, imagined, and interior, while acknowledging the layered states.

Our bodies don’t exist independently of the world around us, and yet every sensation we feel — whether triggered by an internal factor or external factor — is experienced entirely within our own body. At the same time, those sensations are only part of our body; not the sum totality. Perhaps they’re simply an embroidered stitch on top of a photograph whose pixels are printed onto linen. Moreover, as Reggie Ray writes in his 2016 book The Awakening Body, “what you think about and what you experience in your body are often not the same thing…your thoughts, when they take over, often simply disconnect you from your own experiential ground, which is your body.”

Today’s Contemplation

As you find your posture, can you also find the subtle connections between each part of your body? Beyond the old song of toe bone connected to the foot bone (which, interestingly enough, derives from another spiritual tradition — the Book of Ezekiel), can you send your attention down to your toes, painting them with your awareness? Can you allow your attention to softly graze up from the soles of your feet to the tops, through the ankle bones, up the calves and the shins to the knees? Follow your attention all the way up, going up the back and down through the face, moving into your heart center at the end and connecting with your breathing. Feel what it means for you to breathe with the whole body, or — better still — feel how the body breathes itself.