Catrine Val
The female wisdom

The Palace of the mind

Film
Photo

The Space Between Us
The series The Palace of the mind was inspired by the Chinese expression of Daoism and the belief that meditation and the pursuit of beauty play a vital role in human development. I found this solitude inside the only nun’s school of a Daoist monastery in the Nanyue Mountains, where I was the first person ever granted permission to film. Visualized their conception of intimacy that contrasts with standard western conceptions of the world.  The Daoist philosophy places the human condition in the context of a wider cosmic universe and asks one fundamental question: Where is the way?

For the Daoists the only way to defeat the fear of death is to forego one’s attachment to life based on natural law. Indeed according to this conception life becomes a poetic journey into a post natural world.  The encouragement to look inwards should not be viewed as a retreat from the world but as a grounding of self that allows the individual to find harmony with the wider universe.  This philosophy finds expression in Daoist practice with activities such as mediation, martial arts and calligraphy performed in harmony with the natural environment.

The growth of environmental concerns in modern times have spurned philosophies that encourage us to look at the world holistically as the despoliation of the planet is a universal problem.  My project uses the Daoists to explore the individual’s relationship with the natural world and how this can be the source of spiritual enlightenment. This artistic journey invites reflection as ecological damage presents an increasingly existential threat to humanity.