Meditation : it is deep thought without the act of thinking; it is being aware of the present self while being free from the past, and the slightest preoccupation of the future; it is a constant flow of obtaining and losing attention; it is to be completely aware of the surrounding physical world, but discard it and abstract oneself in the mind and in the conscious; and it is to become immersed into another dimension of space and time.
Although there are infinite methods of meditation, the idea of isolation of either the individual practitioner or the collective body begins the inquiry of this thesis. Spiritual architecture such as monasteries, ashrams, temples, and hermitages provide space for contemplation and prayer typically within sites disconnected from society. It is an attempt to escape worldly interactions that may deter practitioners from their ultimate goal of enlightenment.
This investigation began as a reinterpretion; to view the idea of meditation not as an isolated program but as a new typology of spectacle or performance. It would be an attempt to expose the individual’s spiritual intent for other individuals’ entertainment. Situating within a site that has a long history surrounding performance arts and constantly populated with heavy traffic, Times Square creates a complex dichotomy in which an intervention can be introduced.
The site has been a place where individuals congregate to see and be seen, whether it is to perform on Broadway shows, or to act as an audience to the site itself. Every individual reflects upon Times Square in their own way but the site itself also reflects the spirit, mood and priorities of the time. This constant flow of awareness and reflection within the site suggests it also is in meditation.
The project is a public performance space for meditators that would operate within the privately owned office building of 1500 Broadway. The architecture would be a series of thresholds within the site that spectators would navigate through different levels of spatial conditions; bringing attention to specific moments of view, light and sound, as well as specific moments of interaction between the meditators and spectators.
Status: School Project
Location: New York, NY, US