Monday, 23 March 2015

Let it Burn: The Temple Art Installation

If you had the power to let go of one thing that's been holding you back, what would it be? Would it be a physical object that's cluttered your physical space as well as your mind? Or would it be an emotion that has an uncomfortable hold on your psyche? My mum and I asked ourselves these questions as we searched the house for something to bring to David Best's 'Temple' exhibition, which visited Derry recently.

David Best is an artist who creates intricate, awe-inspiring sculptures, only to burn them to the ground days later. His work features at the Burning Man festival each year, and somehow, a sculpture of his ended up in little ol' Derry. Visitors were encouraged to bring a meaningful object to 'The Temple'. They could then place it in the structure, strangely comforted by the fact that the structure would soon be burnt to the ground.

My mum brought along a diary she wrote when she was 13. She tells me was full of self-pity and teenage angst. I, on the other hand, am far too sentimental to willingly destroy one of my old diaries, no matter how embarrassing they may be. Instead, I simply wrote down 'self-doubt' on a piece of paper, to symbolically say goodbye to the part of my consciousness that's hell-bent on holding me back.

Walking inside the Temple, which was eerily peaceful despite being packed with people, I looked at what others had left behind. Many left pictures of lost loved-ones. It's not that they want to forget their past loves, just like my mum doesn't want to forget her 13 year old self that made her into the person she is today. It's just a touching way to say 'we are thinking of you', while letting go of grief.

The most surprising item that I came across was a journal with a note attached. The note declared that the diary documented a 8 year relationship of domestic abuse that had finally ended. The victim left it there as a symbolic end, a goodbye, to a tortured past.

The whole experience got me thinking about the things we hold on to, even though it would be better if we let go. I'll be the first to admit, I'm a hoarder. I never want to let go of any of my physical possessions. But what if I'm hoarding the intangible too? Holding on to negative emotions and thoughts? Scared to let go because at least it's something to cling to? I don't need a burning temple to let go of what's dragging me down. Perhaps, simply by pinpointing the negative emotions at play, I can take steps in replacing them with more constructive thoughts.

So, what have you been holding onto for too long?


  1. This is amazing! What a fabulous structure and I actually love the idea of it being burnt and only for a set period of time. It is very symbolic for moving forward! x

    Jasmin Charlotte | UK Lifestyle Blog

  2. The Temple is a great idea! I wish I could have visited it although it's not really necessary to leave something there just to let go of something. From now on I am going to try and let go of negative thoughts and feelings from past events and also try and relax by letting go of my anxiety. After all, life is too short.

  3. Wow that's an interesting idea- making amazing beautiful art just to burn it down. My art philosophy class would have a field day with this idea. Actually, thank you for sharing because I'm bringing it up the next time I have class. Anyway, I love the symbolic idea of burning things that are holding you back and to just let go! Beautiful pictures, shame it got burned down.
    Olivia | Her Name Was Celebration

  4. This is a beautiful post! - what a topic!

    I think I'd like to let go of that side of me that cares about irrelevant, unimportant things. Shed it like the clouds shed rain.

    Sarah xxo |

  5. The temple is absolutely stunning, and I love the topic of this post! I really want to work towards letting go of past mistakes, and the past all together. I'm one to hold onto and analyze things for much too long which sometimes stops me from seeing what's right in front of me. Life is too precious to spend on what could have beens.

    My Lovelier Days