sunnuntai 23. marraskuuta 2008

I have never tried acupuncture before. I actually know very little about it. For all  I know, acupuncture deals with the nerve endings or energy nodes of the body, stimulating them in the right proportion in the right places to reach the desired effect. It's aim is to aid the energy flow between different parts of the body, stimulating flow in one place and limiting it in the others, where an excess flow threatens the balance of the body. It's all about balance, helping the body to reach a natural state where the flows of energy are constant, but on  a level that does not put an excess stress on our systems. This sounds great to me, but will it hurt? And how long does it take to reach the balance? How many needles need to be inserted? Does it actually make a difference? Wouldn't it be easier just to take the pill?

A city can and indeed has many times been refered to as an organism, with energy flows of it own. Looking at our surroundings, it is easy to see that these are seldom in perfect balance. The individual cells of the city organism see things from different perspective of course, but common concerns can be found, too, that are in a need of a treatment. Equally obvious is that our pills haven't worked too well. But what could the treatment be then? How could one give acupuncture to an organism the size of a city?

Perhaps one way of looking at this might be starting from the description of acupuncture given above. It is about stimulating nerve endings, springs for little streams out of which rivers may form. In a city these could be individuals, events, locations, activities - anything where energy is being voluntarily guided towards some sort of activity that could be seen leading to fix the balance, if only a little. Therefore, by aiding these activities in some way their flow could be enhanced and a change ignited.

Second, the idea of penetrating through the skin of the city could be used. If taken literally, skin could be the outer layer of the city's structures that block us from seeing what things are made of. Under the stone walls, tons and tons of different material lie hidden, possibly inhibiting natural flows and suffocating the buildings and the people occupying them. By seeing what we have enclosed ourselves with, we could perhaps start the process of questioning the solutions in use today and try to aim for a better balance between our needs and our choises.

If taken further, this could mean penetrating through the structures altogether, to see what kind of possibilities locations shielded from the public eye could hold. The city is never completely open to all, not even on the eye-level. Courtyards, construction sites, sewers, storages, all kinds of places could be within our reach just by drilling a hole in a wall. What kind of inventions and new uses could these little holes ignite, if drilled into some well-chosen locations within the city? Could they start processes that would lead into energy flows in places never thought of or forgotten? Would they eventually guide the energy flows of the city towards a balance, or just enhance the flows already too strong?

The role of the artist here to me is to help people to locate the nerve endings and to be stimulated by the new openings into issues. In the spririt of acupuncture I would never see the artist as a doctor solely trying to heal the patient, but as a helper in setting the energy already present in motion. By pointing out imbalances within the organism we are all part of and showing ways to counterbalance these te artist can only go so far in the healing process as the patient itself is willing to go, despite the passing pain and possible side-effects.

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