The Mandala Cycle

1991, seven sections
40 minutes in total

Within traditional eastern philosophies, mandalas are circular images used for a form of meditation and they symbolise the unity of creation. This video evokes something of the same spirit through a modern medium.

The Mandala Cycle was a new departure after a break of several years, and used a more accessible sound track than earlier pieces.

Unlike earlier videos, all the imagery was initially digitally generated and then transformed through a wide variety of analogue and digital techniques. Despite these complex technical interventions, the overall quality retains considerable fluidity and sometimes striking relationships to the natural world. The boundaries between art and science, technology and nature, dissolve, revealing their true interconnection.

The analogue and digital feedback techniques used in its creation relate closely to the discovery of and interest in chaos theory and fractals developing at that time in other contexts. The inter-dependency of states of order and chaos are explored and revealed throughout the work

The Mandala Cycle pieces were created by alternating sessions of live image processing with a mixture of conventional video editing and live video processing. The music was developed and intermixed throughout this process so that neither the sound nor the image led the other too directly. This sympathetically extended the “live performance” elements of earlier pieces, where the two aspects had taken place completely simultaneously, and allowed this longer and more complex series of works to be created. The video was realised over a period of a few months using the Videokalos synthesiser in conjunction with Diverse Production’s post-production facility.

It is constructed in seven individual pieces with the last mirroring the first if watched as a complete cycle – a structural device that is intended to suggest the cyclic nature of universal processes. The overall work is very “centred” visually, and is intended to stimulate a “centering” of consciousness in a similar spirit to traditional mandalas. The tape has meditative qualities, but not in the often-used passive sense of the word – meditations can be very dynamic processes.

The music was composed and performed by Mike Ray (with Lorraine Anderson, soprano)