In the early 1990s, Mr. Italozazen’s artistic and spiritual journey was deeply intertwined with the zeitgeist of that era, marked by a burgeoning global consciousness and an eclectic fusion of cultural and spiritual practices. This period, just on the cusp of the digital revolution heralded by the World Wide Web, was a fertile ground for grass-roots international relations and cultural exchanges, where young Australians, like Italozazen, were exploring and incorporating Eastern yogic practices and traditional spiritual modalities into their self-expression.
The experimental instruments used by Italozazen, particularly the hollow wood drone in Brisbane, epitomize this era of exploration and integration. The drone, with its deep, resonant tones, served as more than just a musical foundation; it was a conduit for a meditative experience, a tool for attuning to the subtler frequencies of consciousness. The incorporation of circular breathing, a technique borrowed from yogic practices, transformed this musical experience into a spiritual exercise, building prana (the vital life force in yogic philosophy) and creating a loop of energy that both emanated from and fed back into the drone.
This practice was emblematic of the expressive libertarian spirit prevalent in the Australian youth culture of the 1990s. There was a sense of boundless exploration, a desire to break free from traditional constraints and meld diverse elements into something new and meaningful. By integrating yogic breathing into his musical performances, Italozazen was not just experimenting with sound; he was crafting a unique form of meditation, one that allowed for deep concentration not only on the drone but on any topic of interest. It was a reflection of a globalizing world where boundaries were becoming porous, and where young, inquisitive minds like Italozazen’s were finding novel ways to express their burgeoning understanding of a complex, interconnected world.
In the 1990s, Italozazen’s artistic journey underwent a significant transformation from his experiences in the 1980s. As a Raja Yogi, he initially embraced a conservative Hindu ethos, deeply engaging in spiritual practices. However, the 90s marked a shift towards secular libertarianism, indicating a more inclusive worldview.
During this period, Italozazen integrated diverse cultural elements into his art. He experimented with Indian Sitar, African talking drums, and modern instruments like the electric guitar and keyboard synthesizer. This eclectic mix was a departure from his earlier spiritual focus, reflecting the cultural relativism of the 90s.
Group dynamics through sonic harmonics
A pivotal setting for this experimentation was a farm outside Brisbane where he resided for four years. This abode called Tathra was where Italozazen, his then partner Andrea, and peers explored the nexus of comparative religion and art. These gatherings were syncretic explorations of diverse philosophical and cultural strands.
This phase signified a blending of spiritual and secular, traditional and modern elements. It represented the 90s’ spirit of cultural pluralism and openness to various voices and experiences.
Italozazen’s post-Raja Yogic phase was immersed in a vibrant arts scene, marked by techno trance parties, performance art, poetry, and house music events. He drew inspiration from iconic figures of counterculture who emmersed themselves in the Hinduism such as the interpreter of the Western experience of Hinduism Richard Alpert (Ram Dass), a Harvard professor turned mystic, embodying the era’s quest for spiritual awakening through syncretic art forms.
Sound played a crucial role in this period, with gong workshops in tipis creating a resonant environment believed to activate the chakra system. These gatherings were transformative experiences, blending art, music, and spirituality.
This era sparked Italozazen’s eclectic interests, forming the foundation for his artistic and spiritual growth and philosophical studies that began in 1998. Drawing inspiration from Alpert, Italozazen’s journey mirrored a similar path, transitioning from mysticism to formal philosophy, adding depth to his spiritual insights.
The interplay of Italozazen’s mystic background and philosophical studies provided a unique perspective, where philosophical concepts were extensions of his mystical understanding. This mirrored the cultural synthesis of the time, where academic inquiry and spiritual search increasingly overlapped.
Figures like Alpert and Italozazen embodied the spirit of cultural confluence seen in the 60s and 90s counterculture movements. They embraced Hindu mystical traditions as lived experience, bridging intellectual understanding and spiritual experience, and highlighting the interconnectedness of these realms.
This period in Italozazen’s life thus represents a microcosm of a larger narrative: the search for new modes of expression and understanding in a rapidly changing world. His work from this era stands as a testament to the creative potential that emerges when diverse cultural and spiritual streams converge, heralding the emergence of a truly global artistic and spiritual sensibility.
In weaving a narrative around the artistic journey of Mr. Italozazen, it is essential to acknowledge the profound influence of M.C. Escher, a Dutch artist renowned for his intricate and mathematically inspired woodcuts, lithographs, and mezzotints. Escher’s work, characterized by its explorations of infinity, architecture, and tessellations, resonates deeply within the artistic tapestry of Italozazen’s creations.
In the realm of visual arts, Italozazen’s engagement with creativity manifested through the incorporation of mandalas, symbolic of the universe in Hindu and Buddhist iconography, and avatars, representing the incarnation of deities or revered entities. This syncretic approach, blending elements from various spiritual and artistic traditions, exemplifies Italozazen’s quest for a comprehensive understanding of consciousness and reality. It reflects a philosophical inclination reminiscent of the Upanishads’ exploration of the macrocosm and microcosm.
The geometric forms and tessellations of Escher, in particular, found a unique expression in Italozazen’s work. These forms, akin to the intricate patterns of the Rig Veda, symbolize the interconnectedness of all things and the underlying structure of the cosmos. The hollow wood timber instruments, imbued with these tessellated designs, served not only as a medium for sonic resonance but also as a conduit for philosophical reflection and transcendental experience.
Italozazen’s journey with these instruments further extends to the cultural and spiritual landscapes of India, where he introduced them to travelers. This act of sharing reflects the ethos of the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University, emphasizing the dissemination of spiritual knowledge and practices. The instruments, thus, became vehicles for the spread of a unique artistic and philosophical vision, melding the aesthetics of the West with the spiritual traditions of the East.
Moreover, Italozazen’s expeditions to the Netherlands, where he conducted workshops, signify a return to the roots of his inspiration – the Dutch lineage of Escher. This journey symbolizes a full circle, a syncretic fusion of artistic and cultural influences that have shaped his artistic odyssey.
In summary, Italozazen’s artistic journey, inspired by the geometric forms of M.C. Escher, has evolved into a unique synthesis of visual and sonic art forms. These creations, transcending mere aesthetic appeal, have become instruments of philosophical inquiry and spiritual exploration, much like the caves and temples that serve as their backdrop. This journey is not merely about artistic creation but a quest for a deeper understanding of consciousness and the universe, akin to the philosophical musings of the great thinkers from both Western and Eastern traditions.