Art as Technology
By Bill Witherspoon
The following pages chronicle a series of experiences and observations that have
emerged from several years of exploratory art projects. Necessarily, they are personal.
The experiences resulted from events that were intuitively directed or were the response
to some environmental stimulus. Because of this, things were often done without
preconceived intellectual rationale. Often I had questions and was seeking answers, but
at other times I did not know the questions and seemed to be engaged in activities that
were following some barely perceivable thread. It was often months or even years
before I understood the reasons, purpose and way the projects arranged themselves.
And, even with a feeling of understanding, it has often been difficult to verbally explain
or place actions in the context of a commonly acceptable model of how the world works.
In this chronicle, I have attempted to relate some of the facts and simple observations
that accompanied these projects without attempting to describe the delight of the
II 1989: Oregon Desert and the first Desert Design (Fig. 1-2)
In the summer of 1989 I took my studio, a large converted bus, to a remote part of the
high desert in southeast Oregon. I stayed there about four months in a familiar place
that I had painted from the previous year and made paintings. After being there a few
weeks I made a design in my notebook, which I had planned to integrate into a painting
of the sky. For some reason, instead I built the design with lines of cairns (small piles of
rocks), placing the bus in its center. The design was about sixty yards across, precise
and symmetrical. The center of the design was left open, in a sense unfinished, because
it lay under the bus, directly beneath the spot where I regularly practiced meditation.
After the design was completed, animals started to come into its boundaries. This was
in complete contrast to the previous year when only a few birds and kangaroo rats came
near this spot in a six-month period. As far as I could tell, nothing had changed except
that I had made the design. In the next three months, several hundred animals of all
kinds appeared inside the design. Many of them, such as the water ouzels, had to come
some distance from their normal habitat. Others, such as the golden foxes that slept by
the door in the late afternoon, were undoubtedly always in the area but because of their
shyness had never before come close.
The animals that came behaved in an unusual manner. They did not seem inhibited by
my presence and they did not seem to be territorial or aggressive with each other. For
example, one night I watched owls, rabbits and kangaroo rats all within a few feet of
each other without seeing any signs of fear or aggression. Several times I saw twenty or
more jack rabbits gathered together, walking upright on their hind legs and on more
than one occasion antelope walked into camp and stood looking at me attentively.
Later that fall in a gallery in the Midwest, I made the same design from desert rocks
mounted in columns of white concrete. The design was more elaborate because it
included a vertical dimension and used vertical and horizontal colored chalk lines to
enhance its articulation.
During the exhibition I remained in the gallery and observed the visitors to see how the
design might influence their behavior. Classes of school children who would visit the
exhibition in groups of twenty to thirty were the most interesting. They would
invariably remain within the boundaries of the design even though there was far more
space outside the design than inside. When their teachers asked them to sit down on the
floor for discussion, they would always collect in the center of the design and the
youngest ones would pile themselves two and sometimes three deep on each other’s
laps, filling the center completely. Adults who visited the exhibition also tended to stay
inside the design and many remarked that the place felt good and that they stayed much
longer than intended.
At this time, I began researching traditional designs from different parts of the world. I
found this particular design almost exactly described in an obscure Sanskrit text called
the Vastu Sutra Upanishad. According to this text the design was to be placed on stone
blocks before carving sacred images. Carving the parts of the image in harmony with
the design was said to insure that the image would be “attractive to consciousness” and
this in turn would result in the finished image being entered by the consciousness of the
deity. The phrase “attractive to consciousness” caught my attention.
About this time a friend asked if I could make a Sri Yantra. The Sri Yantra is a
traditional design from India that is thought of as an instance or occurrence (rather than
a symbol) of the deepest laws and forces of Mother Nature or Mother Divine. I spent a
few months doing extensive library research on the Sri Yantra and also spoke with
people who had experienced its use in India as part of the spiritual tradition of Sri
Vidya. Then I decided it would be consistent with its traditional use to make one from
gold leaf and transparent pigments.
The process of research, and especially construction of the Sri Yantra, produced a
powerful influence. It restructured my awareness and perception. I believed that my
sensory experience and understanding of deep laws and forces of Nature was rapidly
I had been in the habit of understanding reality as being hierarchically structured in
interpenetrating layers; with successively deeper layers being simpler, more
comprehensive and more powerful. The activity of these deep laws creates the surface
of life, which we experience as every day reality. (“Laws”, used in this sense, contains
the notion of ordering principle or intelligence combined with force or energy.) It may
1 The following was written in an attempt to capture that experience.
It must have been smoldering for a long time. Why it broke into flames when it did is uncertain.
Probably she had something to do with it. Why, though? She had been patient so long. Maybe
too long. Perhaps she saw an opening, an opportunity. I had been calling her for some time and
I’m sure she had answered, but I didn’t hear well.
It started in the center, in the heart of things, in the deepest part where I didn’t know how to look.
By the time the first flames appeared, there was no stopping, it spread like an echo.
As the interior burned, everything came down – all my comfortable habits were destroyed. I
thought that the shell would remain – that something would last and contain me. But somehow
the fire smoldered. Finally the shell burned out as well.
Now, everything is much better. Before, I would hear her only faintly, if at all. With all of my
little spaces and so many places to be, I was always in the wrong one, or too busy, or, I am
embarrassed to say, unwilling to hear what she said.
But now, with everything gone, her voice is everywhere, soft and quiet.
not be common to give our attention to the direct perception or experience of these deep
laws, due to our absorption in the surface events of the world. However, for those who
are drawn to exploration of reality’s deeper layers, the refinement of perception
resulting from a restructuring of awareness emerges as an extremely attractive and
useful tool. Therefore, this experience of more refined perception coming from my
encounter with the Sri Yantra led me to wonder what more I might do to amplify its
III 1990: Oregon Desert Sri Yantra (Fig. 3-6)
In the summer of 1990, a group of friends, one of my sons and I went to a remote alkali
lake bed in the high desert of southeast Oregon to inscribe a large Sri Yantra in the earth.
It was to contain a central point large enough to live in. The site was chosen because of
its beauty and remoteness. Almost no one, except a few ranchers, ever went there.
Inscribing lines in the alkali surface would not disturb any vegetation and it would be a
transitory event, eventually disappearing back into the surface through the natural
action of wind and the occasional water that floods the lake bed every few years.
The design was made without machines or modern tools except binoculars and a simple
hand plow. We used only ancient principles of geometry and long wires and sharpened
poles as tools. When completed it was 1/4 mile across, covered over forty acres and
contained over thirteen miles of lines. The lines, plowed with an old fashioned garden
cultivator pulled by three crew members and steered by the fourth, were about four
inches deep with the hard alkali crusted dirt cast to both sides of the furrow.
During construction, we were careful to minimize the disturbances to the land. We
chose to walk several miles daily from camp to the site rather than use vehicles, and
refrained from using other motorized devices such as a tiller. We did not want to leave
tracks or other marks, not to preserve anonymity but out of respect for the purity of the
Construction of the Sri Yantra took ten days to complete. As soon as the last line of the
design was plowed, heavy clouds began to collect in the south. Within an hour, our
valley was filled with high winds, intense lightning strikes and about 1/2 inch of rain.
The result of this storm was that all traces and tracks from our working were dissolved.
Like a finished painting, it was as if the surface had been varnished. Remarkably, the
lightning and the rain were limited only to the small valley where we were working, a
fact that was the source of much speculation by a nearby rancher who wanted the rain
on his land.
In the three weeks that followed, I lived in the nine-foot central circle of the Sri Yantra.
During that period and on several occasions during the following years, other people
and I observed remarkable changes in the workings of Nature within the design and in
the valley where it was situated.
One of the more interesting subjective changes was a modification of the “feeling”
within the valley. While a difficult parameter to describe or measure, this change in
feeling was noted by ranchers and other people who have known the area for a long
time. People reported experiencing qualities of energetic peacefulness, harmony with
nature and enhanced intuition when they were in the design and valley. Another
influence was a radical change in the quality of meditation that would repeatedly occur
if individuals moved a few feet out of the central circle into the innermost triangle of the
design or vice versa.
Changes in the environment were also observed. Within the design, which had been
inscribed in highly alkaline silt, incapable of supporting any kind of vegetation, there
were remarkable changes in the direction of increased fertility.
Two years after construction, even though the lines were disappearing, the structure of
the soil had changed from a highly compacted mixture of silt and salts to a loose,
crumbly soil that smelled and tasted more like normal soil. The surface of the soil was
also significantly changed. Instead of the flat, layered and often cracked surface that had
characterized the lake bed before inscribing the Sri Yantra, the surface became
“rumpled;” formed into a three dimensional configuration of regular ridges and valleys
that arranged themselves in the pattern of hexagonal close packing, much like an egg
carton. The pattern was caused by modification of the surface soil into a physically
expanded, more adhesive and resilient material.
Both of the soil changes were due to an extraordinary proliferation of soil
microorganisms and the resulting increase in soil organic matter. The soil changes were
limited to the forty or so acres of the design and were most pronounced in its center.
In other respects, the entire fifty square mile valley was different. The ranchers noticed
a continued increase in the valley’s rainfall. This was accompanied by increased
vegetative growth, as well as increased populations of several plants and three animals
species that were not previously common in the valley.
Because of these observations, I began to speculate about possible mechanisms by which
the geometric structures might bring about change. The most interesting observation
was that there appeared to be an inverse correlation between the gradual disappearance
of the design as it melted back into the lakebed and the increase in the presence or
influence of the enlivened laws of Nature. Other analogous situations seem to exist as in
Homeopathy, where increasing levels of dilution are said to represent or impart
increasing levels of strength. An even more striking parallel may exist with the
principal of Sangyama. Sangyama, as described by the Indian Rishi, Patanjali, is a
process in which the mind generates an impulse at the deepest level of consciousness
and then allows that impulse to settle back into the field of pure undifferentiated
consciousness from which it had been drawn. The result of this process is the
appearance of a new impulse that has enormous power and direct support of
fundamental forces of Nature.
The construction of the Sri Yantra was also accompanied by other events that gave rise
to new understandings about how Nature might operate. Going into the valley for the
first time, I was driving the converted bus and towing a pickup truck. We stopped and I
got out to open a barbed wire gate. Sitting on the gatepost was an adult golden eagle.
The eagle looked at me squarely, swished its tail back and forth several times, dropped a
tail feather and flew off. In the next several weeks, I had occasion to go through the
same gate many times and there was no eagle. Then, on my homeward trip, as I passed
through the gate for the last time, a golden eagle was sitting on the same gatepost. It
waited for me to get out of the bus, looked at me squarely, swished its tail, dropped
another feather and flew off.
Back home, several weeks later, the National Guard discovered the Sri Yantra and the
media, not knowing its origins or implications, created a greatly exaggerated hoopla. I
was in a position of deciding to speak publicly about the project or remain anonymous.
In order to clarify the rapidly growing misunderstandings, I decided to speak publicly.
Immediately upon making that decision, I walked outside my rural Iowa home and
looked up into the sky. Directly above the house were fourteen circling bald eagles.
A year later, I had occasion to tell this story to a Vedic scholar. He told me of a
traditional yagya, or ceremony, infrequently performed in India to honor the Divine
Mother, which is considered to have been successful only if it results in the appearance
of an eagle. Finally, these events, related to several Native American elders and
medicine people, elicited in-depth explanations of the ways Nature communicates.
IV 1990: Hidden Design (Fig. 7-8)
Later that fall, I continued by making a series of paintings that incorporated geometric
elements. Up until that point I had thought of my paintings as “windows” for seeing
into Nature. The process of making paintings was a way to gain familiarity with the
deep laws and forces of Nature. It seemed that a painting was essentially the record of
an experience, not only of the surface experiences of the artist, what is seen by the eyes
or the mind’s eye, but also, and more importantly, a record of the consciousness present
in the artist at the time of creation.
Consciousness in this context has two distinct meanings. First is the “conscious of”
aspect, i.e. all the elements both inner and outer that might be lively in the artist’s mind
or awareness. The second aspect is that of “pure consciousness,” the pure
undifferentiated awareness or “Being” that is the foundation for “being conscious of” all
things. This pure consciousness is the basic fabric from which are woven all the events
of life. It seems that both the specific limited and the universal unbounded values of
consciousness present in the artist, as well as their respective intensities, are stored or
embedded in the forms and materials of a painting.
It also seems that observing a painting is the reciprocal of the creative process. That is,
when we give attention to a painting, not only the information but also the
consciousness embedded in that painting is recreated in the observers, awareness. This
occurs through resonance or entrainment. Therefore, the more that Being is lively in the
experience of the artist, the greater the experience of Being will be in the observer, and
because of the universal character of Being, the more It is present, the greater the
likelihood that a wide range of observers will find that the painting provides a
meaningful and beautiful experience.
From the point of view of the artist (and the observer), a painting can be used as a device
to structure consciousness, modify physiology and transmit information.
My idea now was to see if a painting might be something more than a “window.”
Could a painting encourage some specific influence of Nature to be amplified in the
To this end, I made two paintings that were literally window-like, similar in that a gold
leaf design draws the attention to a blue sky. Behind one of the two paintings I placed a
traditional geometric design (the Sri Yantra) and a handwritten transliteration and
translation of an ancient Sanskrit text (Lalita Sahasranama) that describes the most
fundamental laws or principles through which Mother Nature is said to express herself.
These two paintings were placed on opposite gallery walls along with about twenty
I then invited a group of sightless people to visit the exhibition. They spent a day in the
gallery and concluded that the feeling inside the exhibition space was very different
from the feeling outside, and that the peacefulness and happiness that they identified
seemed to come from one painting – the one that had the design and text hidden behind
it. In addition, during the exhibition, forty-two people spontaneously remarked to me
that one painting in the show seemed to attract them most strongly. Thirty-nine of the
forty-two referred to that same painting. In another case, about twenty-five grammar
school children who were milling about in the exhibition were asked by their teacher to
select their favorite painting. They spread their choices among the twenty-two
paintings. They were then informed about the experience of the sightless people
without revealing which of the twenty two paintings had been selected, and asked to sit
on the floor quietly and close their eyes for a few minutes. Afterwards, they again
selected their favorite based on what they felt rather than what they saw. The group
unanimously rearranged their choices to the painting that was hiding the geometry and
text. On three different occasions I noticed people standing in front of the same
painting, apparently crying. When I asked about their experience, they indicated that
they were overwhelmed with feelings of happiness that did not seem to have any
From these events, I realized that it was possible to make paintings that need not be seen
in order to produce an influence, paintings whose purpose is simply to Be.
V I991: Southeast Oregon Desert Design (Fig. 9-18)
In the following summer of 1991, a group of friends and I built another large-scale desert
design. It was 1/2 mile across, covered about 80 acres and was again made in a dry
lakebed; this time on a portion of the Alvord Desert owned by rancher, Ed Davis. We
used machinery for the construction. In this design the shallow furrows were filled with
a red volcanic cinder dust from the nearby mountains. The design was inspired by the
Vasu Purusha Mandala of Vedic origin and certain Native American design elements. It
was intended to resonate with the fundamental and universal laws of Nature that are
beyond any particular culture or, perhaps, fundamental to all cultures. Believing that
Nature is not separate from human life and that Nature is not a mechanical system but
rather is alive and responsive, I also hoped that the design would function as a device or
space where we would not only experience Nature more deeply but also where Nature
would speak out, where we might come to better understand the language of Nature.
One evening, after the sun had dropped below the western ridge of mountains, we were
all in the design working. I was on top of the converted fertilizer spreader monitoring
the flow of cinders down into the conveyor belts. Another crewmember was on the
ground keeping the spreader’s aperture clean as the cinders flowed into the plowed
furrow. Other members were elsewhere, making furrows or cleaning up. With the sun
suddenly gone, the wind stopped, the air temperature dropped quickly and the sky
became empty of clouds. The driver of the tractor that was pulling the fertilizer
spreader stopped at the end of a line. I looked out over the scene. The design was
almost completely plowed and the first of the red-cindered lines were beginning to
appear. From on top of this big machine it was like looking out into a strange and
ancient city. Nothing was happening. Everything was silent and still as only the
desert’s evening expanse can be.
Suddenly, a large dragonfly appeared, hovered about two feet directly in front of my
face and looked at me. It then circled me slowly, dropped down, and hovered in front of
the crewmember on the ground. From there it went to the open window of the tractor
and hovered in front of the driver. As I watched, the dragonfly flew off to visit two
other crewmembers that were about 50 yards away. A few minutes later the dragonfly
returned, circled tightly around my head and then flew straight up until it was out of
Later, sitting at camp after work, everyone spoke of his or her visit from the dragonfly.
We had all felt something remarkable in its visit and were all in unusually elevated
spirits. In the last bit of twilight we walked together to the very center of the design and
lay watching shooting stars. Everyone felt in some way that we had been individually
and collectively “blessed” by the visit of the dragonfly; that the dragonfly had “spoken”
for Nature. That night we all sensed the project had taken a new turn, gained a new
After the design was completed, we held a celebration to dedicate and consecrate the
design. Local ranchers, Nakai Breen, a Cherokee Medicine Woman from Texas and an
East Indian, N.W. Haran and his family from the East Coast joined us. We stayed
together for two days and nights in the design and both Nakai and Haran and his family
performed traditional rituals and ceremonies appropriate to their understanding of what
we were doing. Like the previous summer, the intense desert heat changed and rain
came as we were completing the first evening’s activities.
After everyone left, I again remained in the design for a few weeks. Later after I left, I
heard that it had rained one inch in fifteen minutes, just on Ed’s land, and I returned for
another visit. My experience during these periods of living in the design was that it
simultaneously enlivened silence, stimulated creativity, and produced an experience of
greater harmony with Nature. Because of publicity, other people came too. Being in the
design allowed us all to ”hear” or feel Nature more clearly and deeply. Many had
strong intuitive experiences of “knowing” and other unusual experiences involving
animals, insects, and other elements of the desert environment. Nakai’s “prediction”
was among the more interesting.
A few days before construction on this design was to begin, I had called Nakai and she
told me that she had had a vision the previous night. She said that the design would
“cleanse the guts of Mother Earth so that She could burst forth.” I did not understand
her expression at the time nor even after her visit for the dedication celebration. About
six months after completion of the design and a year and a half after completion of the
Sri Yantra (which was about twelve miles away), a geyser sprung up midway between
the two. This was the only natural geyser in Oregon. For about three or four months it
spouted 210 degree water about 12 feet into the air, every 1 and 1/2 minutes. On a visit
to the geyser, I met a group of geologists and hydrologists. Their explanation was that
“dislocations and rearrangements of the geology deep within the earth” had caused the
VI Media Criticism and Response
Publicity about the 1991 design brought some criticism from Oregon environmentalists.
The principle question from media critics was “How do you know you are doing
something that has universal value and are not just defacing Nature with egoism?” This
is not an unreasonable question to pose to artists who work in public art. To begin with,
there is no authority to which one can appeal for approval of such actions. We have no
current tradition for such art forms. However, if Nature is not simply an unresponsive
mechanical system but rather a sympathetic, living ecology, one should be able to look
directly to Nature for an answer.
Generally speaking, there are three possibilities for how one’s actions might interact
with Nature. First, if one is opposed to Nature, in conflict with natural laws, one could
expect to perform action only with great difficulty, Nature would hinder progress. To
move ahead would require great pressure from one’s individuality and ego. Second, if
one were in harmony with Nature and natural law, action could be expected to progress
smoothly. Third, if one’s actions were positively pleasing to Nature, in support of
evolution on all levels and scales, then one could expect Nature to marshal Her
resources in support of that action. Such support from Nature would provide
unexpected resources and change the quality and outcome of the action in ways that
might not have been originally expected, generating the feeling that the action does not
even belong to oneself but is being carried out and propelled by the agencies of Nature.
By being alert to Nature’s participation and monitoring the progress of the project, the
appropriateness of an action can be evaluated.
In the desert design projects, many potential problems were solved by unexpected
solutions, long before they ever became difficulties. Furthermore, solutions came
without any asking on our part. In short, those of us who were involved in the planning
and construction of the desert design felt a strong and continuous wave of support from
Nature, a tremendous sense of freedom and joy underlying every stage of the project.
One such example came out of our interaction with the local ranchers.
Locating a proper site for the 1991 design had become a major project. I drove through
Utah, New Mexico, Arizona and parts of Nevada before returning to Harney County in
Oregon. Because of the previous publicity from the large Sri Yantra project (it had first
been hailed as evidence of extra terrestrial activity and then later I had been fined by the
United States Bureau of Land Management for defacing the land without a permit) local
ranchers were curious about this next project. When I approached Ed Davis of the
Alvord Ranch, it took him about three minutes to warm up to the idea of doing the
project on his land out in the Alvord Desert. We climbed in a pickup and located a
square mile of deeded land without so much as a blade of grass on it. To Ed it was a
wasted resource, land he had never been able to use. An hour after that meeting, I was
on my way back to Iowa to get things organized.
About two months later I returned. The evening I returned, about seventy thousand
pounds of red volcanic cinders were dumped in a long pile near where we had set up
camp at the edge of the design site. I had not had time even to stop at the ranch to let Ed
and his family know I was back and going ahead with the project. When I saw the pile
of cinders, for the first time I had a sense of the magnitude of work required to put these
cinders into nine and a half miles of plowed lines. Were we going to do it with
wheelbarrows or what? What was I dreaming of? I really had no plan.
The next morning I went to the shop at Ed’s ranch to see if they remembered who I was
and what I was doing. Ed was not there but Paul, one of his sons, was. Fortunately, he
remembered me and I felt relieved that everything was still on track, that we were still
welcome to do the project. While in the shop, I noticed a huge machine that was up on
blocks with all its wheels off and under some kind of construction. I asked what it was
and Paul replied “It’s a fertilizer spreader we’re converting to spread the cinders. Dad
got to thinking you’d need something like this.” I was speechless. When I had visited
with Ed two months ago, the use of cinders had only been a faint idea whose possibility
I wanted to pass by Ed for possible objections. It was after I got home that the cinders
became a certain part of the design. Now that aspect of the project was taken care of, not
only by the right piece of equipment but also by the loan of the new Ford tractor and
Mike, the middle son, who was freed up from his usual work to operate it for whatever
time was necessary.
To respond to the media and environmentalists I gave a series of public lectures in
Portland to air the issues and allow critics to interact with me directly rather than let the
media act as filter for my ideas and communications.
Response of the public to these lectures and discussion was positive and the dialog
established between the public, press and myself became an added incentive and
encouragement to carry out a fourth design.
VII 1992 Desert Design (Fig. 19-24)
This desert design project was intended to enliven a specific field of natural law. It used
the six-pointed star at its core. The six-pointed star appears in many cultures
throughout the world and is often said to embody or symbolize the quality of
abundance, affluence or wealth.
The design project is sixteen hundred feet across and was constructed on a sixty-acre dry
desert lakebed. It was constructed from 1,111 lodgepole pine poles ranging from about
eight to forty-five feet in height. The poles were harvested in the mountains from a pest
infested Forest Service plantation and then hauled by logging trucks to the desert. All
the poles were set in holes augured four feet into the ground. Each pole was cut to
height after being placed in the ground. The heights are calculated to produce precise
curves in the vertical dimension of space.
The design has twelve radial rays or channels made from pairs of poles. Each channel is
about 700 feet long. These channels, made by the poles, are one meter wide and the
distance between each pair of poles is determined by precise mathematical progressions.
The center of the design contains a core of 138 poles that generate a specific geometry of
channels that connect with the twelve radial rays.
At the outer edge of the design, between each of the twelve rays, are twelve single, fortyfoot
poles. These poles are connected by thin stainless steel wires to corresponding
shorter poles near the center of the design. The wires have tuning devices on the center
poles to change their tension. The seven hundred foot wires vibrate in the turbulent
desert winds and produce shifting musical sounds much like a mixture of Gregorian
chant and whale “songs.”
VIII Little Leaf
The stated intention of this design was to enliven the fundamental force or law of
abundance – the life impelling force of Mother Nature. We expected that we should see
evidence of increased abundance and affluence as a result of its presence – but what
forms would such expressions take? Through his actions, one person in particular
would help to answer this question, a Native American named Little Leaf.
During the planning stages of this project I had discussed various aspects of the project
with Little Leaf. He had attended one of the public meetings held in Portland the
previous winter and had not only been highly supportive of the earlier projects but had
offered explanations for the natural events that had occurred in their context. When we
were talking about the implications of cutting so many trees, even (or especially)
diseased ones, he suggested that we should make some simple offering to the land and
the trees. Therefore, as soon as we arrived at the forest the five of us followed his
instructions. One person went to a large tamarack, which would not be cut, and the
other four went out into the lodgepole pines in the four cardinal directions. Each of us
took a handful of rice, which we silently offered. The result was immediate. The birds
that had been silenced by our arrival suddenly flew about and sang and each of us felt a
strong wave of inner happiness and harmony with Nature and the world.
After the design was completed, Little Leaf arrived for the celebration. He made a
camp, and set up an eighteen-foot ceremonial teepee he had beautifully hand painted.
That night he invited everyone to participate in a pipe ceremony early the next morning.
For this ceremony, which was unfamiliar to most of us, Little Leaf had carved a special
pipe out of pipestone and a stem from white ash. He explained the symbolic elements in
the pipe and stem, which had uncanny correspondences to elements that we had just
built into the design. After the ceremony was completed, Little Leaf gave us the pipe
and instructions for its use as a gift honoring the purpose and completion of the design.
That evening Little Leaf performed traditional dance and flute music. Both, he
explained, were expressions of the language of Nature – ways to speak with and listen to
Mother Nature. In the days that followed, more and more people spent time with Little
Leaf. Construction crew, ranchers and visitors, all were given some wonderful gift. On
the day that he left, he gave the teepee to my twelve-year-old son.
The actions, in fact the very presence of Little Leaf, were one of the first clear expressions
of abundance. But other concrete expressions followed thereafter. The Davis family
entered into a period of exceptional affluence, expanding their home and even, through
a series of unexpected and highly unlikely events, added tens of thousands of acres of
exceptional grassland and an adjacent ranch to their holdings. In the following year,
triplets expanded the eldest son’s family. Snow and rain were plentiful and timely and,
according to local ranchers, the desert was never more productive or beautiful to look at.
New springs even appeared. A television station from Portland, 450 miles away, came
and made a news spot on the unprecedented blossoming of the Alvord Desert.
Another of my interests in this project was to objectify some of the experiences that
people had reported in the previous designs. I arranged for a graduate student who was
researching brain wave coherence during different states of consciousness to join us
towards the end of construction. We borrowed state of the art portable EEG equipment
and eight subjects were monitored for two, 18-hour periods each. During these times
they worked, ate, slept, and meditated both inside and outside the design. Similar
recordings were made for some of the subjects once they returned home. These data
were computer processed with special attention to periods of brain wave coherence.
Preliminary review of some of the tapes revealed unusually high levels of coherence.
However the analysis was not completed due to shortage of funds for mainframe
Since its completion, several hundred people have visited this design. Their visits range
from a few minutes to a few days. Their subjective reports have a striking similarity
from one person to the next. All who feel some influence notice silence and
peacefulness, not as something passive but rather as a powerful force. Many remark on
an unusual sense of well-being or a sense of being in harmony with Nature and the
As in the past, I lived in this design for some time afterwards. An interesting
observation was that in spite of the constantly changing winds, the shifting sounds
generated by the twelve, seven hundred foot wires appeared to produce melodic and
rhythmic patterns that repeated from one day to the next.
IX 1993: Yantras and Diatoms (Fig. 25-28)
In 1993, I spent much of the year exploring the relationship between fifteen Vedic
yantras derived from the fifteen principal verses of the Sri Sukta which in turn come
from the fifth Mandala of the Rig Veda, and the underlying principles of form and
symmetry exhibited by single celled microscopic organisms called diatoms. Diatoms, at
a certain stage of their life cycle, create internal geometries of silica that correlate highly
with the mathematical principles and symmetries of these fifteen yantras. Keeping in
mind that the yantras of the Sri Sukta are expressions of the principle of abundance and
its subsets, it is interesting that diatoms are among the most abundant and all-pervading
life forms on the planet. 2 They have been here, many of them virtually unchanged, for
hundreds of millions of years and are found wherever water is present. They are at the
base of the oceans food chain and are also important contributors to the planet’s oxygen
Plant physiologists who study diatoms remain puzzled as to why these single celled
organisms should produce their geometric structures. Certainly they are not necessary
from a structural or probably even functional point of view. Furthermore, the two most
common theories for locating the source of information that leads to generation of these
structures – the interface between the distinct phases of cell membrane and cytoplasm or
the interface between different phases of the matter that makes up the cytoplasm -
sound much like descriptions of the junction between consciousness and matter, the
layer where the geometry of yantra is said to have its first expression. One is led to
wonder: could the presence of these geometries be a mechanism Nature has built into
the life cycle of diatoms to insure their abundance and proliferation?
There is a striking parallel between the appearance of these geometries and the uses of
yantra as described in the Vedic and Tantric traditions. Traditionally, yantras are,
among other things, used as tools to modify or structure awareness or consciousness.
The directed attention of an individual is the link between the intelligence embedded in
the form (geometry) of the yantra and the experience of that intelligence as an active and
lively element in the individual’s awareness and life. While we do not commonly
consider the consciousness or attention of single celled organisms, there is no reason not
to think that there is similarity and that when the diatom goes through the
preprogrammed process of creating its internal geometry, it is a process in which the
diatom’s consciousness automatically resonates with and enlivens the intelligence that
resides within the geometry. There is very little difference between such a process and
the mechanisms that underlie the process of worship – the only real difference being one
of automatic versus intentional or willful. Finally, if one leaves the domain of
microscopic life and goes to both smaller and larger realms, one continues to encounter
these and other geometric structures embedded in the forms of life, linking, perhaps, all
the forms of matter with the fundamental intelligence of Nature.
X Eagle Mounds (Fig. 29)
2 The word ‘abundance,’ as used here, is intended to encompass a fundamental law or intelligence of
In the early spring of 1994, I visited a complex of Native American mounds in
Wisconsin. This particular group of mounds is referred to as Eagle Burial Mounds
because they contain human ashes. There are sixty-four mounds along the Wisconsin
River. The plowing of the ground for agricultural purposes has destroyed most but a
few remain intact in what are now wooded areas. I found them interesting because I
sensed similarities to my own work and because they are an example of the use of largescale
geometry in ancient cultures.
The images of the birds are clearly not intended to be realistic representations of an
eagle or any other bird for that matter. The largest is about 1600 feet from wing tip to
wing tip with the vertical dimension of the body being only a few hundred feet. A
similar geometric bird, identical except for the extreme elongation of the wings, appears
in Vedic texts on the use of geometric structures as well as in other parts of the Americas
as the “Thunderbird”.
If the birds are not intended as realistic representations of birds that fly in the sky, I
could not help but wonder what their reference might be. Is it possible that these
geometric forms correspond, as do the Vedic shapes, to fundamental laws or forces of
Apart from the pure geometry of the bird design one has to wonder how the materials
might relate to its purpose. Assume for a moment, that a geometry, which is the object
of regular human attention, is livelier or resonates more strongly than one that does not
involve the element of human attention. If that is true, could some materials or
combinations of materials resonate more strongly under the impact of attention? Could
certain materials or combinations transform, amplify, store and radiate consciousness
more readily than others? It seems likely that the distribution of human ashes combined
with layers of other dissimilar materials may not reflect requirements for the burial of an
individual or group as much as be a way of including even remnant products of human
consciousness as a permanent “activating” feature of the design. The presence of ashes
may also have functioned as a way of “tuning” each design to the blood or family line
that was responsible for its construction and for it’s ritual maintenance.
It also seems significant that the mounds are not randomly oriented. As is the case with
many such artifacts throughout the world, they have a clear orientation to non-magnetic
cardinal directions or directions determined by solar or celestial events. These
orientations have led to speculation that such structures function as calendar devices. I
would suggest that another reason for such orientation is to accurately align the
resonant structure of the geometry to the largest or deepest possible framework, the
physical web of the cosmos. This would insure that the structure’s effect in the local
environment would be of maximum effect. 3
3 At the beginning of the last three desert projects, at the Iowa Forest Preserve project and at the farm’s
home place the geometry was oriented by using an ancient Vedic technique for establishing true (i.e.
celestial rather than magnetic) cardinal directions. This procedure was traditionally used whenever a temple
or other significant structure was built. For this a pole, approximately fifteen feet high, is placed vertically in
the ground near the anticipated center of the architectural or design site. Next a circle of approximately the
same radius as the pole’s height is inscribed on the ground with the pole at its center. Then the position of
the tip of the pole’s shadow as cast by the rising sun is marked when it just touches the circle. Again in the
When I spent time in these mounds I began to realize that these and many other ancient
geometric constructions might be part of a practical technology whose purpose was to
establish and maintain balance between human life and Nature. How would it work?
By constructing specific geometric structures that correspond to specific forces or
intelligences of Nature and by giving them focused attention through honoring or
“worship,” these forces or laws of Nature, a field was created and strengthened. Then
by means of entrainment with the amplified field, these same forces became more
strongly expressed in the lives of the individuals and in all local expressions of Nature.
The entire process is a kind of amplifying feedback loop in which an individual
deliberately gives energy and attention to the intelligence that resides deep within
Nature and in return receives strength and reinforcement from the resulting
enlivenment of those forces. This process also protects environmental purity by creating
and/or strengthening a field that acts like a blueprint that is periodically reread by the
object it describes to insure correct interpretation and creation of that object. The result
is increase of power and harmony at all levels.
XI 1994 Iowa Capitol Design
Early in 1994, I began the Iowa Capitol Design Project with a $5000 grant from the Iowa
Arts Council. The principal notion of this project was to bring the quality of thinking,
decision making and legislation of the Iowa State Government more into harmony with
Nature by building a design of about 150 miles in diameter that would situate the Iowa
State Capitol building in its center. A secondary issue was exploration of the
practicalities of building a large geometric structure without physically articulating all of
The project used a design or yantra that corresponds to the Sanskrit word “Durga.” In
the Vedic tradition, Durga is said to be the life impelling force of Nature that
simultaneously drives forth and nourishes all of creation. Durga is the unseen,
unchanging support of life, as well as the complete range of all expressions that flow
from creation. Durga is the Mother, the divine creative layer of life at the root of
The core of the Durga yantra is made with two circles, an outer in which the design is
contained and an inner or “bindu” which is at the very center. Within the large circle
are nine chord lines that intersect at eighteen points to create a balanced bilaterally
symmetrical network of triangles. To construct the design without actually inscribing all
the lines, the nine points where the chords intersect the outer circle were to be used. A
simple example may serve to illustrate the concept.
afternoon, as the sun is setting, a new spot is marked where the tip of the pole’s shadow re-touches the
circle. Connecting these two points generates a perfect east-west line. From this line a north-south line can
be constructed using simple geometric procedures. This system works at any latitude and at any time of
year. On every occasion where this technique has been used the procedure has concluded with some
unusual or unexpected natural event, usually involving birds.
If one were to construct an equilateral triangle with one hundred mile sides, one might
locate the three apexes and place a marker on the ground at each apex. This would
establish the presence of a triangle. To make its presence somewhat stronger, one might
place more information at each point. For example, instead of a single marker one could
position several markers to form two lines, sixty degrees apart, each of which pointed to
an adjacent apex. Now directional lines from two other points would also locate the
position of all three apexes of the triangle. To still further increase the strength and
presence of the triangle one might add to each directional line, additional information
about its length. This could be done if the line were made of a series of markers whose
precise placements predict an end point one hundred miles away. Finally, one might
choose to replace markers with more relevant and energetic sculptural objects, perhaps
specially made equilateral triangles. This would insure that the parts used to generate
the whole, are not different from the whole and, in themselves tend to generate the
The principles involved in the construction of “energetically linked objects” are
consistent with the function of certain Buddhist and Vedic temples built as residing
places for specific deities, impulses of cosmic intelligence or laws of Nature. Even twodimensional
renderings of the ground plans of these temples reveal a resonant,
waveform structure. Such structures were made as physical expressions of precise
fields, translated by means of ratio, proportion and rhythm. They are three-dimensional
forms that correspond to the sound frequency of the impulse of cosmic intelligence. In
fact, the esthetic of these structures is deeply bound to the requirements of translating
”name” or sound into form. When the resultant form is that of an oscillating, resonant
structure, then the appropriate impulse of intelligence is enlivened or generated by that
space. The component of human consciousness, directed through appropriate worship
and ritual within that space, further amplifies the field. The stronger the field, the more
it fulfills its role, creating balance in the local environment and in the cosmic ecology.
The Capitol Design covers roughly eighteen thousand square miles. By using USGS
1:2400 topographic maps and Global Positioning System devices, we expanded and
contracted the scale of the design, keeping the State Capitol Building in the exact center
and maintaining the precise east/west orientation, until all key nine points were located
on agricultural land.
I still had to design and make the “energetically linked objects” that would be located at
the key points and determine a way to integrate those objects into the landscape without
their being considered an interference by farmers or others who use the land. These
design challenges were taken up in several subsequent projects.4
XII 1994 Forest Preserve Planting (Fig. 30)
In the early spring of 1994, a series of projects arose that provided opportunities to begin
research for the Iowa Capitol Design Project. The first was a commission for the design
4 The Iowa Capitol project has not been completed due to lack of funds but much of what was learned is
being applied to similar projects in California and India.
of a forest preserve planting. The design of the Durga Yantra was used. It was precisely
laid out with conventional surveying techniques. Planting about 5000 tree seedlings of
eight different varieties created the image. As these trees grow, they will fill out the
pattern. Being a mix of conifers and deciduous trees chosen for their colorful leaves, the
whole pattern will continually change, especially in the autumn. Twelve-foot wide
paths further articulate the design so that even when the trees are mature it will always
be possible to walk the geometry of the yantra in its entirety. It seemed that being able
to move one’s body through the exact pattern and along the precise lines of the
geometry might be an interesting way of honoring or enlivening the qualities of
intelligence embedded in its geometry.
The owner of the property who has planted tens of thousands of trees in the area noted a
remarkable survival rate for the seedlings in the design, as well as changes in the
behavior of the deer and other wild animals. The preserve is thirteen acres, a relatively
small part of a rural development project. The development has been unexpectedly
successful and has attracted an eclectic group of people who represent widely divergent
interests. People who know the owner also see a marked growth of softness and
prosperity in his life. The use of this design was very satisfying and the feeling that it
generated confirmed my intention to use this form on a larger scale.
XIII Iowa Farm Project (Fig. 31-39)
In April of 1994, an Iowa farmer, his wife and I embarked on an agriculturally oriented
project. The farmer’s concern was that the vitality or energy seemed to have gone out of
his land. He felt that his production was no longer what it should be and that, in
contrast to his neighbors, he had not had a decent harvest in four years. We began our
discussions by addressing these issues but were soon led to other considerations.
As the project progressed, we abandoned all concern with our individual goals, be they
agricultural production or artistic experimentation. We knew that we wanted to do
something that would be useful on a different scale. Our intention became to simply
make an offering to Mother Nature. It was an offering intended to generate waves of
gratitude flowing from our hearts to Mother Earth, Mother Nature and Mother Divine.
If other things came out of the offering fine, but our priority was simple and clear.
After our first all day meeting we went out into their fields. Their farm consists of four
separate parcels that total 280 acres. It is a regular Iowa farm: soybeans, corn, alfalfa,
small grains and cattle and most of the land has been in the family since 1906.
When we arrived at the parcels, I walked out into the middle and offered some rice. By
the time I arrived home I knew exactly what to do for each of the parcels.
Back in the studio, I began art works for each parcel. They were made from paper, ink,
watercolor and gold leaf. These fragile materials were used deliberately because we
wanted them to quickly dissolve in the soil. Quick dissolution was desired because of
the observations at the site of the large desert Sri Yantra – namely that there seemed to be
a correlation between the geometry’s disappearance and the increase of its influence in
the environment. Furthermore, for practical reasons we wanted whatever we did to be
well below the surface of the ground so it would not interfere with farming.
The size of the artwork ranges from 30 inches square to 15 inches square. One of the
four pieces consists of seven separate sheets of handmade paper layered with gold leaf
and pigment that, when bound together, progressively articulate the final image from
the center outwards to both surfaces. All of the pieces use traditional geometric designs
from the Vedic tradition and three of them include thousands of words of Vedic text
inscribed in Sanskrit with minute pens. In addition to these four pieces, sixteen, seven
inch square designs were prepared. They were small versions of the principal geometry.
In this case, the structural lines of the geometry were actually fine lines of hand-written
text. The small designs, the “home-place” design, and the multi-layered design all used
the Durga yantra as their prototype. Much of the text that was integrated into their
construction came from the Devi Mahatmyam, an ancient Vedic text that describes
Having made the four objects the next consideration was the way in which they would
be placed in the land. At the center of each parcel of land we dug a large hole with
backhoe and shovels, carefully orienting and building each according to its own
geometric principles. Each was different according to what was being placed in it.
On the morning of May twenty fourth, we held a dedication ceremony to honor Mother
Nature and to consecrate the art works and their sites. Directly after, the art was buried
in the center of each field. The sixteen small pieces were sent home with participants to
other farms in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri and South Dakota. They were buried
about two feet under the surface in the Northeast corner of each of these farms.
To see delicate work covered with earth instead of being carefully framed and hung on a
wall was an unusual experience. But for those of us involved with the construction and
production, it was exhilarating to part with it in this fashion. Where does the “art” go?
Where does the energy, time and attention go; where is the consciousness that has
permeated these forms and materials, where is the life of the piece? The life of the art
will, in time, return to the field of unstructured potential from which it came. As the
materials and the forms of the art dissolve, their content, especially their Being, their life,
will resonate with, enliven and amplify, the deep laws of Nature that are embedded in
and correspond to their content. In this way, dissolution actually brings forth fullness.
It is like the planting of a seed. The form of the seed, in which information and
intelligence is encoded, disintegrates and from that disintegration a new form emerges.
There were some objective indications of change in the productivity of the land. The
1994 harvest was a good one and subsequent harvests have improved as well. The
farmer believes that there has been a positive change in the land and in the microclimate
even though there still exist the issues of fertility, pest control and weather that face all
Several of the farmers who became involved in this and subsequent projects use
interesting if unconventional methods for monitoring such factors as soil fertility,
availability of plant nutrients, and land “energy” levels. They use a system called
radionics. Radionics was developed in England as a general diagnostic tool early in the
20th Century. They used this system to measure energy levels of the land before and
after the project’s completion. After installation of the designs they recorded a fifty fold
increase in energy in the land. This increased to a two hundred-fold increase in the next
few months. According to their measurements, the influence also extended radially
outward to a distance of about 120 miles.
Exactly what form of subtle energy is being measured here is unknown to me. The
farmers who use these measurements seem to interpret them in practical ways that
support their farming practices with both crops and animals. Because of my association
with these farmers, I have continued to track the results of their radionic reports even
though I do not fully understand their significance.
In this project as in others, people reported many subjective experiences, which continue
to be connected by a clear common thread.
One farmer who helped with the project and buried one of the sixteen yantras on his
Just a few thoughts and observations concerning our offering to Mother Earth.
First some comments about our farm and the planting of the small painting. I feel an
even stronger connectedness with Mother Earth.
I have always enjoyed working and walking in our fields. This year I have a
yearning to be out in the fields, walking, weeding, observing, enjoying, relaxing.
Sounds a bit much doesn’t it, but it’s true.
Our crops have a healthy look to them. The leaves have such a perfect color,
a deep sheen to them. I have never had crops like this. Perhaps Mother Earth is
The whole project gave me a very good feeling.
Thanks, Allen R. Schnoor
In this letter, Allen suggests that there has been a real, measurable change in the quality
of his crops that is linked in a causal way to the “planting” of the small design.
He also says that because of the presence of the design and his experience with the
project he sees more beauty in the same things that he has always been experiencing.
And because of his refinement of perception and the joy that it generates, he feels more
deeply connected to the world. With the vision described in his letter it is difficult to
imagine him knowingly doing anything that would be damaging to the earth, the crops
or the ultimate end users of the crops. In fact, one year after this event Allen took the
difficult step of converting his entire farm to organic, sustainable agricultural practices.
Allen’s letter is a beautiful illustration of the practical value of Art that refines
perception. When we see beauty, we are automatically drawn into feelings of
appreciation and love, and ultimately, as the intensity or fullness of beauty increases,
into the experience of intimacy or unity with that which we see as beautiful. It is true
that we take care of our own interests and ourselves. But we also take care of that which
we perceive to be intimate or close to ourselves.
One of the more common subjective reports of people who have spent time within the
large designs is richer or more refined perception of beauty. If by refining the senses of
perception we can experience the deeper beauty of the world, why shouldn’t we strive
to experience every aspect of reality at it’s deepest, most beautiful layer? If we could see
beauty everywhere, we would spontaneously expand our day-to-day working definition
of what is intimate and would find ourselves to be less separate and consequently more
careful of all the aspects of life that surround us. Carry this process to its fullest extent
and we would find ourselves to be completely intimate, even unified with all
expressions of Nature and caring for the whole world as we care for ourselves.
The farmer who sponsored the project found it difficult to find words for his inner
experience and feelings, but he continues to state emphatically that it is one of the most
significant things he has done in his life, for himself, for the land and for the world.
Even living in a remote and isolated farm in Iowa he no longer sees the world and its
people as something separate from himself.
His wife summed things up very simply.
“The biggest thing this has done is draw the love out of the people. Everyone
who has come in contact with the project has more love now.”
XIV Nebraska Park project (Fig. 40)
In the spring of 1995, I worked with several people in a small Nebraska town. For this
project, I made artwork similar to that which had been used in the farm project and a
large copper version of the Durga yantra. These were buried with additional
I kept the Iowa farmers informed about our intentions and the project’s progress. We
had been discussing the Iowa Capitol Design Project together. Knowing that I needed
the approval from nine farmers to install design elements on their land and that I would
have to convince farmers that their land should be used in the project, my farmer friends
were helping by reviewing my installation and presentation ideas for acceptability and
relevance to the farming community. Unknown to me, they decided to monitor the
energy levels of the land at the Nebraska site to see if it changed and if there was any
simultaneous change at the Iowa farm site. They did this with the radionics techniques
they had used previously. They found that after the weekend’s events, the energy level
of the Iowa farm site went up about five fold from its base level of the last nine months,
the Nebraska site increased about one hundred fold to match it and the area of influence
created an oval shape with the sites, which are 450 miles apart, at the two centers of the
ellipse. Further observations of this nature continued with later projects.
These radionic observations supported my intuitive perception that elements or points
can be connected without physically articulated lines and that size need not be
considered a limiting factor when constructing an extremely large geometric design.
XV 1995 Iowa Farm Project
On Sunday, May 21, 1995 the Iowa farm was again the site of an artistic experiment.
Three days of Vedic recitation, puja and yagya conducted by D. N. Sharma, followed by
a Sunday celebration marked the consecration of 108 Sri Yantras specially prepared for
the occasion. These yantras were about fifteen inches square, individually made on
paper with watercolor and pen. They were made by hand according to a traditional
procedure. After their consecration they were sent to people to bury in the ground of
their farm or garden. Each Sri Yantra was accompanied by specific installation
instructions and questionnaires that attempt to assess if subjective changes in perception
or objective changes were noted in the immediate environment after burying the yantra.
About sixty of these Sri Yantras were buried in various parts of North America.
XVI 1995: Oceanside, California (Fig. 41-44)
In November 1995, another project was completed in Oceanside, California for Victor
Villasenor’s fourth annual Snow Goose Celebration, a gathering to promote World
The project began with a trip to the north side of Mt. Palomar. We found a tall Digger
Pine that had been killed in a forest fire nine years ago but had remained standing and
over the years had become well cured. We climbed the tree, cut out the top twenty-five
feet and used the horses to drag the ‘pole’ out to the road. It was taken to a studio
where we worked for several months to transform it with gold leaf spirals and Sanskrit
We also made a six-foot diameter Durga Yantra. This was formed from pieces of round
copper stock brazed at all intersections and junction points. It was complete except that
it did not have a bindu or central point.
The installation celebration began on Saturday, November eighteenth. Again we invited
D.N. Sharma to perform traditional Vedic pujas and homas to ‘install’ the soul of the
yantra and bring about an upsurge of silence and peace in the environment.
On Sunday, November nineteenth, the yagya was completed and the pole was lowered
into a specially prepared vertical hole in the earth. A well drilling rig drilled the hole. It
was deep enough so that the tip of the pole remained about two feet below the surface of
the ground. Additionally, the pole rests on and is packed in flake mica, a natural
insulating mineral. At the precise level of the tip of the pole, the hole was widened from
twelve inches in diameter to twelve feet. This flat, circular earthen platform
accommodates the copper Durga Yantra. The tip of the pole and its faceted ruby form
the bindu of the yantra. While the pole is completely encased in its “nest” of mica, the
balance of the Durga Yantra rests on bare earth. The entire assembly was covered with
mica and finally with earth and new grass.
Before the pole was installed in the ground several people remarked that it seemed to
generate a directional, standing wave that was quite perceptible, even, for some, on the
level of hearing. Those who claimed to “hear” frequencies emitted by the pole described
changes in pitch that were surprisingly consistent with the mathematical relationships
contained in the pole’s segmentation and the changing pitch of the spirals.
About fifteen minutes after its installation, two people drove up to the installation site
and asked what was happening. They had been driving North on I-5, the freeway that
passes through Oceanside and for several miles had noticed a peculiar high cloud that
reached down to the ground. They described it as funnel shaped, being made up of
spirals going in opposite directions. It had gotten more difficult to see as they had
gotten closer and they had found us by guessing where its base would have been
Looking back at the project, the assemblage of sculptural elements, pole, hole in the
earth and yantra have the character of a transducer-like object that might cause
modulation of subtle energy, perhaps producing an influence that goes deep into the
earth and even deeper into space.
What can be concluded from these artistic experiments?
Certain geometric structures enliven and amplify specific laws or forces of Nature.
When these laws or forces of Nature become stronger, they consistently influence the
total environment, including human physiology and consciousness.
Art of this kind has the power and role of a technology; it can bring the beauty, balance
and wholeness of Nature into our day-to-day lives; it can help to create a venue from
which Nature can speak; it is art that can assist in transforming our world into a fitting
expression of the real possibilities inherent in life.
Where should this technology be applied? The range of man-made geometric structures
where Nature could be made livelier is almost unlimited.
Certainly our cities are filled with flowing streams of energy, be they roads or water or
electrical distribution system that are, even if by default, geometrically arranged. What
are the influences that we unwittingly create? What could we accomplish by deliberate
What about the architecture of our working and living spaces? Could we reduce the
stress and increase the creativity of our environments? How could we better arrange
our hospitals and medical facilities? Can we enhance the body’s natural healing
processes by strengthening its fundamental intelligences? What about the way that we
provide and house social services? Could we reduce the stress levels in prisons?
Could our parks be filled with deeper and more powerful silence by virtue of properly
designed plantings, gardens, walkways and sculptural elements?
Could we reclaim damaged land? What if Chernoble were to be placed within an
appropriate geometry? What if water reclamation facilities, where enhanced microbial
activity is the key to efficiency, were to be designed according to these principles?
Could we develop an agriculture that not only produces food and fiber but also honors
the forces of Nature that support and enhance such production by including art and
ceremony into the process of farming?
Could we use communication systems such as telephone and Internet to create
geometric structures that exist electronically? How would they affect the systems from
which they are made? Could we develop new kinds of “artificial” intelligence from
And the Planet? Why not create meaningful designs that encompass the whole, that
extend inward and outward into the space of our cosmic environment? Why not honor
the cosmic intelligence of Nature on a cosmic scale?
There is no shortage of possibilities. Neither is there a shortage of human or financial
resources. Perhaps those with a shared vision will, in time, join together.
Ó 1995-2003 BILL WITHERSPOON ALL RIGHTS RESERVED