Embracing Imperfection: Wabi-sabi on the Hudson


Sunday, July 23, 2023

1–4pm Where

Courtyard, Greene Education Center



Admission Purchase general admission

Please note, due to inclement weather on Sunday, July 16, this event is postponed and will take place on Sunday, July 23, 1–4pm.

Spend the afternoon with cone9colab, a collective of artists who embrace the philosophy of wabi-sabi, a traditional Japanese aesthetic that is sometimes described as the beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete.” Its characteristics include asymmetry, roughness, simple beauty, economy, austerity, modesty, intimacy, and the appreciation of natural objects and the forces of nature. Immerse yourself in activities that will help you to develop a wabi-sabi mindset, including a tea ceremony, workshops in sumi-e ink drawing and assemblage sculpture, a clay dance, and a walking meditation.

1–1:30pm — Wabi-sabi Introduction: What is wabi-sabi? (Courtyard)
Wabi-sabi (詫寂), the aesthetic of the inevitable, is essentially a transcendent expression of change. Like the flow of the Hudson River, its motif is our own mortality and the cycle of life. In and of itself timeless matter and spirit, it cannot be forced, intentionally produced or intellectually captured, for it simply IS. We can experience it only when we are in a state of clear awareness in the present moment when we abandon the “us.” This is Mono No Aware モノの哀れ, the empathy of things.

1:30–2:15pm — Tea Ceremony with Simon Keller (Courtyard)
Yuu Zen Raku 悠然楽 (effortless, with ease of mind, spirit and body) is a contemporary tea ritual inspired by the Japanese tea ceremony, Cha No Yu, 茶の湯: the way to prepare and share a bowl of superb green tea together.

2:15–3pm — Sumi-e Ink Drawing and Workshop with John Marron (Greene Education Center)
Sumi-e, “black ink” in Japanese, is made of burned vegetable oil, soot and animal gelatin, molded into sticks, blended with water to produce an ink paste. When applied with a horsehair brush or other tool, it results in ideograms, open circles, geometries, whooshes, organic splatters, spots, and other gestural slashes. Spontaneity is key as traditional notions of “art,” such as beauty, virtuosity, intention, and originality, go away.

2:15–3pm — Assemblage Sculpture with Robert Diken (Courtyard)
In this assemblage art demonstration, or “Hudson River Accumulations,” humble found objects are combined in new and surprising ways, and elevated into a “live” sculptural creation, encouraging you to question your relationship to the environment. Make your own assemblage about the ebb and flow of the Hudson River. All materials, sourced from the nearby riverbanks, will be provided.

3–3:45pm — Clay Dance with Simon Keller (Courtyard)
Clay Dance 泥の舞 (Doro No Mai) is improvisational by nature, a freestyle experimental performance by participants with the material, in motion and stillness. Every dance is an alternate, unique take on a dream: When matter and motion are completely in sync, the clay merges with us, and we experience deep time in the moment.

3:45–4pm — Kin Hin Walking Meditation with John Marron (Courtyard)
Walking meditation (kin hin) is a universally simple practice of breathing rhythmically, putting one foot in front of another, the whole body focused on one point of total silence and stillness in motion. Aware of ambient sound and those who have come before us, we are profoundly in the present moment, with no past, no future. To allow space and time and breath to expand and to articulate. To enjoy each step and fully feel one’s gravity and weight shift into grounded-ness, gratitude, balance, compassion and surrender to our own healing.

4pm — Bell Ringing, Gassho Bow, End of Program
A short ending ceremony with a simple bell ringing and bow of thanks and namaste to all who participated in the walk and events of the day.


Thanks to Japanese Tea Kimikura.