January 17, 2012

Student Reflection

Guest post from SPU student, Amanda Hough, reflecting on her participation in a recent art installation on campus entitled, "Paradigm Shift," based on the gospel of Mark. Check out photos of the installation HERE!

In our weekly discussions approaching the construction of “Paradigm Shift,” the seven of us had many decisions to make about what sort of experience we wanted our audience to have, and importantly, what implications that experience would have about the book of Mark. One of the most significant decisions we discussed and made as a team centered on this question: “Do we want it to be a journey or a destination?” Did we want this reflective piece to have a destination, an obvious point of completion after which the viewer would turn around and leave? Or did we want a sense of journey, an ambiguity of whether the end had been reached and whether there even was one at all? We opted, unanimously and rather quickly, for the latter. In my reflections since the completion of the project, this aspect stands out to me and speaks to my life and faith loudly.

In the construction process, as I attempted to line up each block just right and get each screw in precisely the right spot, my perfectionist tendencies were quickly exposed. I love having an end in sight, a clear distinction of where I stand, a to-do list to check off. The past year I have been learning that what is sometimes most frustrating about life is also what makes it most beautiful– it is a journey. Maybe this is not something that everyone has to make him or herself consciously aware of, but I did. We enter in with our individual context and baggage, we walk through slowly, we speed up, we get lost in the crowd, we encounter, we grow, we heal, we move on, we look back, we learn. Sometimes we are unsure of where we are in the process or whether we are doing anything right at all. Christ is not someone we encounter only to check off our to-do list. In Mark we watch Jesus himself constantly moving from one place to the next, inspiring awe, faith and sometimes fear, but the people who encountered him weren’t content with that. They entered into the journey.

“Paradigm Shift” provides me, personally, with a space that allows comfort and beauty in ambiguity. As I stood within the installation’s enclosed semicircle, I heard two girls as they exited the piece and smiled:

“I think we went in the wrong way.”

“Did we?”

“I don’t know.”

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