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Cocoon of Prayers

Imagine living in a transparent dome for a month, with only one meal a day, in full view of gallery visitors.

It’s a task artist Levin A. Diatschenko will undertake, meditating and repeating prayers and mantras.

With each prayer and mantra, he will make a tally-mark on paper, which he will then stick facing outwards on the dome once each piece of paper is full.

“I went on a holiday to Serbia by myself and I did a similar thing where I made marks on a pad every time I repeated a mantra – it was my own personal version of prayer beads,” he says.

“I had these really mediative days of making marks, going for walks and eating one meal a day.”

A vegetarian meal will be prepared for Diatschenko each day, and each evening he will have a short break to use the toilet and shower.

Diatschenko says the concept behind the durational work is to bring two opposing forces together.

“The idea is that there are two forces,” he explains.

“One is a desire to leave the world and turn inwards and follow your mystic journey, and there’s the other force that makes you want to participate in the world and be in a community.

“This is my attempt at putting them both together, instead of being at odds with each other – I’m going to do an act that brings them both completely united.”

When he returned from Serbia, Diatschenko developed the idea of going into the dome with filmmaker Lukas Bendel, who will film the whole month with a 360-degree camera and live stream it.

In preparation, Diatschenko has been practicing chanting mantras and cutting down to one meal a day.

“Some of the prayers and mantras come from particular texts, but some of them will be improvised – I will say a sentence that will keep me in the most peaceful state of mind at the time," he says.

“It could be as simple as saying ‘I am a shared space’, which might help with me not having any privacy.”

At the end of the month Diatschenko will present an artist talk and debrief immediately on coming out of the dome.

Cocoon of Prayers | Opening Fri 25 Jan, 6pm – Sat 23 Feb | Artist talk Sat 23 Feb, 12pm | Northern Centre for Contemporary Art | See the event listing

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