Ash, 2019

Video, 8 min

The tradition of burning the incense has been formed since a very early stage when Buddhism first introduced to China in the Han Dynasty. It’s considered as a sincere ritual of expressing one’s respect to the protecting Buddha. The incense we often use is made of burned wood and powder of the plants that we easily find in nature. 

 In the video, Ash (Suffering of Sickness), ashes are piled up as a little hill on the ground. I knelt on the floor and had my body bent to approach to the pile of ashes as if a pilgrim who is so humbly crawling to his god. As I blew the dust, a burst of smoke arose. Not soon after, space is filled with the rising mist; small particles and dust were floating in the air. I didn’t stop blowing to the ashes, even though the mist made me so difficult to breathe and caused me coughing so badly. As the process continues, the hill of piled ashes was slowly being dissipated and decomposed. Gradually, it becomes like a thin and flat layer of dust covering the floor, upon which my trace of movements and prints of hands and knees were everywhere. 

The suffering of sickness is the third of the eight sufferings tin Buddhism and it is a universal fact that this suffering is experienced by every human being. This suffering involves both physical pain and mental illness that an individual cannot be denied that in most of the cases, it is quite evident.