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Sacred Spaces

Himalayan Wind and the Tibetan Buddhist Shrine Room

November 11, 2016–June 5, 2017

Sacred Spaces invites visitors to reflect on devotional activities in awe-inspiring places. For the second iteration of the exhibition, the Museum commissioned an installation by Soundwalk Collective in collaboration with sound artist Francisco López called Khandroma: Himalayan Wind, which transports visitors to the high Himalayas through sound.

In the spring and summer of 2016 Soundwalk Collective and Francisco López traveled to Upper Mustang, Nepal, to record the sounds in and surrounding the world’s highest monasteries—the flapping of prayer flags, the chanting of blessings, the echoes of wind from the valley below, and the interplay of sound and silence. These sound environments will be presented as a multi-channel audio installation through state-of-the-art speakers, creating an immersive and meditative experience. Visitors can also interact directly with Khandroma by playing individual tracks from the soundscapes at dedicated listening stations. A video installation filmed by Soundwalk Collective’s founder Stephan Crasneanscki complements the audio experience by showing cyclic, kaleidoscopic imagery of prayer wheels and prayer flags evoking the notion of repetition and permanent change.

Visitors can also enter the Tibetan Buddhist Shrine Room, an immersive installation inspired by a traditional shrine that would be used for offering, devotion, prayer, and contemplation. Art and ritual objects are presented as they would be in an elaborate household shrine.

Sacred Spaces and Himalayan Wind are made possible through the generous support of Audio-Technica. Additional support has been provided by Christopher J. Fussner, The Hoch 2009 Charitable Lead Trust, and Rasika and Girish Reddy, as well as Bob and Lois Baylis, Ashwini and Anita Gupta, Preethi Krishna and Ram Sundaram, William and Pamela Michaelcheck, Tulku Tsultrim Pelgyi, Manoj and Rita Singh, Venkat and Pratima Srinivasan, the Zakaria Family Foundation, and contributors to the 2015/2016 Exhibitions Funds.

Image Credit
Nifuk Gumba in Choser; Ghar Gumba, just above Tsarang; and Lo Gekar in Lo Manthang
Photographs by Stephan Crasneanscki

Go Inside the Tibetan Buddhist Shrine Room

As the featured installation of Sacred Spaces, the Tibetan Buddhist Shrine Room evokes the aesthetics and atmosphere of a traditional Tibetan sacred space and offers visitors the opportunity to experience Tibetan religious art in its cultural context. There are many kinds of Tibetan Buddhist shrines, from humble home altars to lavish temples, but the Rubin Museum's Shrine Room installation is modeled on an affluent household shrine. It includes more than one hundred objects, largely from the Museum's collection, including sculptures, paintings, offering bowls, musical instruments, and ritual objects. Take a virtual tour of the Shrine Room to learn more about the objects, which reflect particular teachings, practices, and lineage transmissions, and are used in daily worship and rituals. Curated by Elena Pakhoutova

Himalayan Wind

Soundwalk created these kaleidoscopic images of prayer wheels and frescoes at the monasteries they visited in Upper Mustang, Nepal. The effect is created by handmade kaleidoscopes that are mounted on the camera lens and built with glass and crystals from the region. By allowing natural light to filter in, the resulting images evoke an inverted triangle, a symbol in Tibetan Buddhism that represents the search for equilibrium and equanimity.