To be so intimately involved in your children’s lives is to know what they acquire, bit by bit, day by day, but also what they will lose. I started watching Victoria Singh’s performance-based video somewhere near the end of its 22-minute loop. There is a close-up of her son’s mouth. Two wet black holes in the gums where he’s lost two milk teeth. The loss of baby teeth – a quote crosses the screen. “Steiner calls this ‘dentice’: the birth of conscious intellect.” The bloody holes where her son’s baby teeth used to be, and the blunt saw-edge of a new big tooth pushing through the gums, brings to my awareness a new kind of brutality, the price that is extracted in our acquisition of “conscious intellect”. Every step of progress also signifies a loss, often more brutal in nature than we recognize, signified by the teeth, like little tombstones, outliving the body as they do.
(Photo by Henry Chan)
Watching this video, I am affected by a sense of the passing of my own son’s childhood. All the magic that has already taken place, never to be repeated. What lessons in ephemera our children teach us.
Victoria Singh has created a 22-minute loop entitled “SON/ART: Kurtis the 7 Chakra Boy”, with her son Kurtis, filming and photographing him over a 7 year period, from the ages of 7 months, to his 7th birthday. Every year is devoted to one of the 7 chakras, and the actions of the year inspired by what each chakra represents. The images are accompanied by Derek Champion’s wonderful soundtrack.
It starts with red paint, pushed with his bare hands across a high-chair table, then in the bathtub, a red rose, a tropical flower.
There is another close-up of her son’s mouth, eating a segment of orange, his clean, square teeth, the glistening fruit. A shiny thread of juice runs down his throat. His small pudgy hands. “I ate dem ole up, Mommy!”
For yellow, there are feathers tickling his belly, his giggle like sunlight. Yellow is for courage and personal power. That year Kurtis learns that Dumbo had a feather to give him courage.
The next chakra is green. It stands for compassion. Victoria shows her son in nature. She has placed him in environments where he will acquire her values. Without this intentionality, what do children learn? And how?
(Photo by Henry Chan)
Blue is for thyroid, and throat, and communication. His face is painted cobalt blue.
For purple, Kurtis has learned to knit and weave. The knitting is to focus his third eye. He grows lavender plants, and his third eye is anointed every night with lavender oil.
For the last chakra, white peacock feathers make an appearance, and we are back at his teeth, the birth of conscious intellect. We have seen his gorgeous face mature, his body grow.
At the end of the loop he receives his certificate from Linda Montano, a certificate for Performance Art Saint. As a graduate of her on-going “Another 21 Years Of Living Art”, Linda tells Kurtis – live-streaming from another location – that, because of his involvement in this project, he gets to share his creativity with other people. “Creation is love, and creation is healing,” she says. “And creation promotes inner health, outer health, and world health. Amen.” I couldn’t agree more. “I’m so happy,” Linda says, “this is a great day in my life.” And Kurtis, now 7, sounds unimpressed.
He’s already busy with something else, his curiosity snagged on something new. Once you set a person on the trail of creation, it’s often hard to stop.