Last year, over the course of our work, we have been able to arrange a series of encounters with Basque Benedictine monks and their surroundings. From these encounters, working material was produced in the form of voice recordings, which are included in our archive. The monk project arose out of intuition and reflection, and translates into introspective research.
Now, in addition to studying monkhood, we are interested in understanding which way the monastic impulse is pointed today. By this, we mean positioning monastic attitudes within the 21st century context. The need to escape from the world remains present in all societies. Yet, where can we achieve this escape from the world? If we can no longer run off to the desert or the mountains, and we can no longer be hermits or tucked away in a monastery, what is the place for this behaviour? All of this delves into the placelessness of this attitude, which we address in our own artistic practice. Monastic rules were built on running away from the world. How did they do that? Also, how could we find a way to escape ourselves (in this time)? Our search is organised and takes meaning from artistic practice.
In its first phase, this project proposes a residency at the State’s monasteries. This would be a foray into daily monastic routines to experience them first hand. We usually read, see videos, or are told about what this kind of life is like. What characterises this project is its way of approaching the real-life figure of a monk so that he himself can open the doors to our understanding of his mysterious vocation. This is about a ritualisation of our lives that helps us understand concepts that cannot be intellectualised nor rationalised, through experience, intuition, and mystery.