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Unlock The Gates
curated by Dena Yago

June 22 - July 25, 2014

Ellie de Verdier
Oto Gillen
Kayla Guthrie
Behrang Karimi
Ben Morgan-Cleveland

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Keep your mind in hell, and despair not.
Staretz Silouan, 1866-1938

Silouan’s hell is the known and experienced hell of the physical and social world, the communicable hell that tells of suffer- ing. Speaking of hell is imbibing one’s vocabulary with the terms of the widest cast net – extrapolating from one’s personal hell, a word, extruding a shared experience. Silouan’s despair is the unhappiness of those that refuse this hell, thus refus- ing to face the root of one’s suffering, and who live, therefore, in the most static despair.

We must prefer real hell to an imaginary paradise.
Simone Weil, Gravity & Grace

Heaven on earth is a solitary experience, in that when relating your moment of heaven, you are relating an experience in which only you can be included, like stating “I am in total heaven right now.” This implies that you are in heaven, and while the actors and landscapes are serving to construct this heaven, is it not a heaven (your heaven) that they will experience. While heaven (the word) may be used to describe an exterior heaven – a social reality, a lived communal experience, a reflection in a storefront window, a robin’s nest, a dance floor – more often it is used to describe an interior heaven, one of social disengagement, a spiritual world (the world where words speak inside of you). But the gates to hell are always open. Hell and the exterior heaven are a collective experience, and as hyperbolic terms used to address suffering, sentiment, love, etc. it allows for us to discuss our subjective, local, lived experiences under the torn cloak of language handed to us by religion.

Dena Yago, 22 June 2014

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