In the time our class has been together we’ve become a community and a group mind comprised of many different ways of seeing. Losing Kris is a tremendous blow to us. His way of seeing and expressing itself broke boundaries in every direction.
In the community organism our class has become we need to stop and digest how the way Kris thought has influenced the way we think. As I write this I’m listening to a sound piece he made for me with binaural beats and nature sounds. He addressed my interest in meditation and the brain and combined it with his own sensitivity to nature. His ecological consciousness, including a compassion for all beings, turned up throughout his work. He pushed experimentation with media and the structure of drawings and ways to think about art that we can in some way metabolize, build into our own creative being. He broke down boundaries between different disciplines, combining imagery with sound and interactivity. We can build our own possibilities by the inclusion of his.
We can develop the neural circuits that were affected by his presence in the class, whether it was identifying with his ideas, his sensitivity, his use of media, or his willingness to structure drawings in entirely different ways. There was a boundlessness to his creativity that we can reflect on when we feel restricted.
Thinking about how he influenced us, remembering how our lives were touched, on some level makes him more present through the focus of our attention. Last Thursday night, looking at the hand stitched book he was making, I told him that some of what he’d written represented deep spiritual insight. He was very wise about the pitfalls of the human mind. This showed clearly in some of the papers he wrote for Amy Eisner’s class. He wrote, “We must not always look to etymology, history, or any other established approaches to find understanding, because the truth is that in one word, there is a bible of meaning and although an artist makes his own path, so will the reader. I say ditch the path and create your own.” This was his challenge to us.
When we reclaim the complete life of a person, we can feel all of the ways their way of being affected us and extended our understanding of how people look at the world. We may have shared an opinion and felt affirmed that someone as smart as Kris was thinking along those lines. He and I had conversations that I thought about long afterward and often changed the way I was looking at a subject. His ideas will have reverberations throughout the rest of my thinking. The length of a life has nothing to do with its value.
Recognizing how Kris has affected us enables us to deepen and grow and be grateful to him as the source of greater light.