You ask about the sub-title of MONK – an IMAGINARIUM. How did that arise? In a dream strangely – I woke up, had to look it up – it just offered itself, perhaps the subconscious – I took it gratefully – it’s a good word, describes mystery, quasi mystical, from and of the imagination – and MONK is an exploration of the imagination. How does that relate to consciousness, our spiritual practice, our creative process… our imagined world, our inner world… it is capturing an active process. IMAGINARIUM is elastic as a word. It suited MONK.
I suppose you could say Mysticism tends to arise in the world when organised religion becomes frozen… when spiritual experience freezes, an attempt to reconnect. So to IMAGINARIUM can seek to reconnect art to the spirit and the spiritual, or rather – and I need to be careful how I say, they are just words after all – but it can throw light on art in its active reconnecting to spirit which I see as part of what is generally called the paradigm-shift going round this precious planet of ours. MONK can give the process a narrative. MONK is a narrative like that. There’s no dogma attached to it. It is not programmatic. MONK merely seeks to reflect the stages of spiritual narrative, the many narratives.
You ask me what is the common factor in the narratives – the common factor is god of course, though that’s a dangerous word these days. People prefer to talk about consciousness or phenomenology or the numinous, the universe: a name for an experience and a relationship. But oddly enough, MONK is all about God or god, the manifested god through beauty, about souls-in-bodies making art. The theology of creativity. You can rebrand god in a dozen different ways but he’s still GOD. Acting, being, loving, forgiving. Creating.
In future MONKS we hope to give the issues more form, to have themes – an India issue, an Australia issue, an Orthodox issue – a tree issue – I might even do a cat issue* – at least an animal issue. Now that would be interesting.”
*Reference to the Editor’s beloved pussycat, chief whip at MONK and a reincarnation of her childhood cat Tabitha. Probably.
As told to Corinna Ferros
May 2019 MONK