“A Place I’d Rather Be”: The Quest

If there is one place you could be right now, will you wish you were someplace else? As you are reading this, in front of your computer or on your phone screen wherever you are; are you secretly wishing that you were laying on the seaside looking at the sky or reading a good story instead from a real book under the tree surrounded by mountain fresh air and the chirping sound of the birds? Some are lucky enough to be contented wherever they are, be exactly where they’d rather be. Others, held this grunge, a wish, and a quest to find a place where they will finally be happy. Or will they?

Happiness, Alain de Botton said, is an uncomfortable word too full of associations of cheerfulness and mindlessness. To imagine a decade of happiness seems insane—happiness is a rich food that we can’t stomach for very long. We’re creatures built on anxiety and apprehension. That’s how we survived.1 Sarita Ibnoe’s work were mostly about her feeling of discomfort in being at a certain place, wishing she was someplace else. Few months ago, she went on a quest to find a way to make peace with herself and finally be contented with where she is. This was done through ten-days long vipassana meditation class that reminds her to accept things as it is, without cravings and aversion. Nothing is permanence, and this too, shall pass.

For ten days, Sarita was living in a space of noble silence with some lessons: about the impermanence of things, equanimity—a balance state, without craving, and without aversions, and there is solitude. To avoid the feeling of loneliness in this space of noble silence, people exchange notes as indirect dialogue and a way to connect. Food was also used as a meditative tool; carefully crafted and measured to act as a therapy. Consciousness in all the smallest detail in every aspect of life.
In this exhibition, Sarita invites the audience to enter a room of noble silence where talking is forbidden. In a room with no spoken words, we are guided to contemplate on our own stream of thought when time is irrelevant and yet, everything is transient. In one of her interactive work, she invites the audience to take a thought and give another thought back randomly to show that sometime, we can actually connect with a random person. Some people actually responded to questions and notes left inside the give-and-take box, creating an organic discussion with certain depth that is only possible through anonymity. 

The subtleties of Sarita's drawing is just as ephemeral. Shown through her paper-based multi-media installation and muted choice of colors. In one of her work, she take notes of what she ate and use it as natural dye for her visual diary. Of course, the essential property of food is present in this work: change. The color and the texture of the work will eventually change, showing the elusiveness of the flow of time; highlighting the impermanence of things, emotions, and thoughts. The process of enjoying this work is like enjoying the presence of your food—during a brief moment when it shows its full potential. One can see the work as an organism—it’s alive. It will keep on changing before eventually consume itself.

In this concept of impermanence, we must be fully present in the moment and yet embrace the imperfection— the simple crack where the light gets in.  Sarita is often create an art work based on her personal experience, wishes, dreams, problems, and as a mirror of her inner self. This is expressed with calmness; with an attempt to relate to society, while handling the feeling of loneliness and keeping solitude amongst chaotic situation.

This exhibition is her way to share her meditative life changing experience and take the audience out of the noise for a while just to be in a room of a noble silence. But, when we think of it. That space, a place where one would rather be. A place where things are in a balanced order, peacefully. This spiritual space. Is it a space that does not exist? A utopia? The quest in searching for the right place where one belongs, won’t it leave a weight in one’s mind? Will you even find it? What if you found it, then? What if, after a long endless journey, that place is within you all along? What is this path that you are taking, is actually a mindful path of self-understanding?

(Mira Asriningtyas)

(1)Ten Things I Believe, Alain de Botton, p.32-33, Smith Journal Issue 01 – Summer 2011/2012.