Info: Caroline Woolard, Eye Amulet, porcelain and water, 8" x 2" x 2", 2017. photograph by Levi Mandel
System: Study Center


Now (Working Title), an installation of clepsydrae (water clocks) and sculptural time-keeping devices. Rather than understanding time as neatly divisible, linear, and disciplinary -- the project of modernization -- this artwork begins with the premise that contemplative visual art practices can offer an experience of time which is specifically marked by our social engagement with one another.

What if the memento for sanctuary is an amulet and a water clock, a timekeeper and a keepsake? This is a shape that aims to protect. Industrial clocks (the numbered ones with hours, minutes, and seconds) are of no use. Time moves according to collective and individual healing cycles. What marks the end of one interval and the start of another? Moments are notated with each eye-blinking. Days lengthen and contract as glances are given and received. When eyes close in prayer, in song, in meditation, or in loving kindness, the day extends. When sanctuary is seen, time strengthens.


This eye watches over. To energize the shape, rest the eye on a flat surface. Fill the eye with water. Float the pupil. As the pupil fills with water and begins to sink, ever so slowly, guide your mind toward thoughts of loving-kindness. For example, sit in a comfortable position, breathe deeply, and say or think some version of the following statements, ever so slowly:     May I be free from inner and outer harm and danger.     May I be safe and protected.     May I be free of mental suffering or distress.     May I be happy.     May I be free of physical pain and suffering.    May I be healthy and strong.     May I be able to live in this world happily, peacefully, joyfully, with ease.     May all beings in the air, on land, and in the water be safe, happy, healthy, and free from suffering.     May all living beings everywhere, on all planes of existence, known and unknown, be happy, be peaceful, be free from suffering.*     When done, with closed eyes, make a commitment toward an action that supports collective peace and justice.


*The language it italics comes from a loving-kindness practice that is based on a teaching from Steven Smith, as recorded by The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society.