The Ephemeral Cyborg

Szpilman-award-logo[1]

The Szpilman Award is awarded to works that exist only for a moment or a short period of time.
The purpose of the award is to promote such works whose forms consist of ephemeral situations.  Szpilman Award

I first became aware of the Szpilman Award a couple of years ago. I found the concept interesting but up until now haven’t been able to organize myself to execute a project for it, and to then submit an application.  First prize includes a 10 day trip to Cimochowizna, Poland, a village in a Polish national park.

Saturday, I sent in my application based on my recent Post #74.

The selection of past winners of the Award have shown the jury to be every bit the quirky bunch one might expect in such a project.  So any application constitutes an improbability at the outset.

Adding to this for me and my poor damaged brain, making such a trip would entail managing a sensory assault and overload I can barely imagine. It could only result from the realization of a set of cascading improbabilities that in itself would result in an example of the ephemeral sublime.

This element of sublimity is missing from the Szpliman description, yet it is implicit as the defining feature of art that is eligible for the award.

After all, to the extent that anything exists, it exists ephemerally.  In past posts, I’ve discussed the Buddhist presentation of Emptiness.  The causes and conditions supporting an object or process are all always changing, are ephemeral, as is their result – the object or process.

The view-point and the time scale one uses in considering something determines whether it seems to exist for a long or short time.  Seen from the perspective of cosmic time, all of human existence is ephemeral.

The implicit presence of this kind of time scale as backdrop is what makes the “short time” of the ordinary sense of ephemeral mean something worth mentioning at all.

I wonder, for example how much of the experience of the users of ephemeral social media includes some sense of the sublime.  Does a cyborg using Snapchat experience a glimpse of cosmic time hitting Send?

Szpilman Award 2012

Last February I ran across the Szpliman Award,  and wrote a post talking about the  resonance  found with my meditations on Dukkah and impermanence.  To review the Award’s description is:

The Szpilman Award is awarded to works that exist only for a moment or a short period of time. The purpose of the award is to promote such works whose forms consist of ephemeral situations.

The contest awards a prize as well:

The Szpilman Award is awarded annually.

The prize winner receives the Jackpot Stipendium. The scholarship consists of three parts: A challenge cup, 10 days of accommodation in Cimochowizna (Poland), and a sum of money in cash.

The amount of money is dynamic. Szpilman is raising money parallel to the competition. The prize winner receives the money that is raised until September 30, 2012. The current score may be checked.

Among the applicants, one award winner will be identified. The challenge cup will be handed over to the next prize winner in the subsequent year.

In February’s post I hoped to enter the next contest.  Life got pretty complicated in the Atomic Geography household, and  I wasn’t able to follow through.  But as the date approached for the announcement I found  Iwas experiencing that very ephemeral emotion of anticipation.  The Award people obliged me in extending that by postponing the announcement at least twice.

I checked the site this morning a found a winner!

Let’s just say I was disappointed.

The winner offered the jury the bribe of the prize in exchange for being able to list the award on her CV.  Well, fine so far.  But then this:

If you don’t like my proposal, please don’t mention me as a participant, I don’t really like to get nothing but the award.

The letter goes on to mention the subversiveness of modern art, and something about the convention of mentioning the artist’s nationality.

When  was a sophomore in college  took a course on Kierkregaard.  Throughout the course,  I read the readings,  wrote my papers and participated in class – rather fully.   In fact many classes amounted to a discussion between me and the professor (yes,  I was that annoying guy).

So when it was time to write the final paper, I went to the professor and said something like, :”I know this stuff.  You know I know this stuff.  I know you know I  know this stuff.   I shouldn’t have to write the paper to demonstrate what we already know.”  And he said something like, “Well that’s up to you.  I will grade you accordingly to whatever you do.”

I didn’t try to protect myself from my subversive impulse by asking what that meant, I didn’t try to impose conditions on my proposal.  I  did have  choice.

I didn’t write the paper and got an A.  In my opinion, Mina Minov wanted to have it both ways, and didn’t deserve the A.

Szpilman Award

Another of Buddhism’s three marks of existence is Impermanence.  Everything comes into existence, stays around for some length of time, and then, when causes and conditions no longer support it, it ceases.

This constant change is one of the sources of Dukkha I mentioned in a previous post.  Meditating on this is an important part of the Buddhist path.

So running across the Szpliman Award, I found a resonance with this.  The Award’s description is:

The Szpilman Award is awarded to works that exist only for a moment or a short period of time. The purpose of the award is to promote such works whose forms consist of ephemeral situations.

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