A 1-minute movement experiment.

by Cara Hagan

Vichara is a technique in Tantra and Jnana Yoga that reflects a similar process in western psychoanalysis. But instead of studying dreamscapes and their symbolism based on universal human archetypes, the process of Vichara takes a closer look at one’s desires. From this point, the practitioner retraces their most superficial personal desires to discover a web of mental impressions and fundamental world beliefs.

There is no question that Vichara is designed to be an excavation process, a quality that is vividly portrayed in Hagan’s performance. She covers her body with dirt and reemerges from the piles, appearing to turn the wild forest floors into her own playground. But she remains contained within a circular stage of fresh mulch, clearly defining the boundaries between the untouched natural world and the unearthed environment that Hagan has made for herself.

Because an excavation process, psychological or otherwise, will inherently present challenges and unforeseen risks, Vichara is most often aided by the guide of an experienced practitioner. Hagan’s solemnness and steady motions display the gravity of introspective and transformative pursuits.

The physical act of digging is also mirrored in the film’s composition. With the second half seamlessly looped as a playback version of the first half, this 1-minute experiment describes the cyclical quality of the human mind. It reminds the viewer of the things that have no beginning and no end, a realization that can be both exhilarating and terrifying. Hagan merges the opposing forces of the natural world by retracing her movements from start to finish, simultaneously hiding our true nature while also revealing pieces of wisdom beyond comprehension.

Commentary by Maria Borghoff


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