Submission form Kim Gurney
We suggest that you go to Mount Hiei overlooking Kyoto in Japan and see if you can meet with one of the Kaihigyo monks – spiritual athletes from the Tendai Buddhist Sect. These monks wear course straw sandals, an all white outfit and a special long rolled straw hat and they undergo an intensive physical and mental training to run the equivalent of a 1000 day marathon over seven years. These extraordinary running monks and the long Buddhist tradition that they are part of is as far away from the competitive and commercial spirit of the Olympic games as we can imagine. We visited Mount Hiei a few years ago and caught glimpses of the terrain that they run. A 1000 day marathon stretches our comprehension but it is for the most part done with a high degree of privacy as well as privation.
You should probably travel to Kyoto by the most energy efficient means available to you –a merchant ship from the UK to Osaka and then hitch hike to Mount Hiei?
You should endeavour to find out as much as you can about the monks and to record or document your experience in such a way that you or a specialist in the subject can give a lecture/presentation in the UK following your return – to which we would obviously like to be invited to satisfy our own curiosity and fascination with these monks.
You will find more information on the internet or by reading The Marathon Monks of Mount Hiei by John Stevens.
This gives an idea of their training regime:
1st year: 100 consecutive days of 26.2-mile marathons, beginning at 1:30 a.m., each day after an hour of prayer
2nd year: 100 consecutive days of 26.2 mile marathons
3rd year: 100 consecutive days of 26.2 mile marathons
4th year: 100 consecutive days of 26.2 mile marathons – performed twice
5th year: 100 consecutive days of 26.2 mile marathons – performed twice
On the 700th day, the monks undergo a 9 day fast without food, water, rest or sleep – a mind-boggling feat which would result in certain death for most human beings, before having a short rest of a few weeks and increasing their gruelling schedule
6th year: 100 consecutive days of 37.5 mile marathons
7th year: 100 days of 52.2 mile marathons and 100 days of 26.2 mile marathons.
All the best Mark and Tamiko
The furthest distance for me is in the polar ideas that guide what we as humans believe are worthy.. For me it’s in my magic spot at PP(real name not disclosed as we want to keep it pristine!!) leaning against my rock which has stood sentinel for eons and contemplating the true rings of existence..
Cycles soil water air
Connectedness everything is connected to everything else
Energy Flow from the Sun to all living things
Relationships food chains animals plants
Interdependence everything depends on everything else
It’s having the freedom to WONDER at the awesomeness on the eagle soaring from its lofty towers, the migrating whale following ancient migrating routes to its mating grounds, the tenaciousness of the kangaroo resisting human intrusion, the clarion call of the currawong reminding us just how tenuous the threads that bind us to the greater whole can be so easily broken.. And I count my blessing that I have the luxury of this time t reflect that I’m not in a war zone, searching for food to feed my family and that I have shelter at close of day .Stewardship, tolerance, ,inclusiveness adn harmony ( the antithesis of competition, corporate greed and all the pomp that accompanies it) ..The urgency to reconnect with the true rings of existence is lost in a fractured world of corporate greed. Musings from a special place in the southern hemisphere.!!!!!
this has been a subject occupying my mind since the
announcement of the games in 2008.
My proposal or brief for you is
the: Budget Olympic Movement
It won’t place you in a geographic
location rather a moral position. Take the 1000 materials fee and spend it
trying to complete as many Olympic
disciplines as possible before the opening event 2012. Perhaps finishing
the 100m as the ceremony opens.
1000 equates to Using just 0.00009999999999999999% of the
government estimated cost of staging the Olympics .
Geography as metaphor -“claim the
moral high ground”
Our mutual friend Bevis Bowden suggested I write to you. I have been working on an Olympic themed installation for some months, and had wondered about submitting its location for you for The Greatest Possible Distance. However due to unfortunate delays in putting it together I think it’s not suitable for submission within your understandable time frame, mainly as what I’m doing can’t really be made public until I’ve completed it (I’ll explain below). Notwithstanding this, and as I have enjoyed your work on the Olympics so much and particularly like idea behind The Greatest Possible Distance, I thought I’d drop you a line with what I’ve been up to in case you were interested. I now realise I should have done this well before your deadline – I bet you’re very busy right now, so apologies.
Since the beginning of this year I have been transporting various items into a disused mill building in Docklands, in order to set up a multi-stage installation inside. The building is abandoned, fenced and patrolled by security guards, so I have done this surreptitiously, without the knowledge of the owners or the security guards who are not allowed inside the building itself. I am calling the installation Legacy.
Legacy Part One:
I have carried many bags of compost inside, and set up a small allotment in a room on the 7th floor. I have planted this up with vegetable seeds, and fed by water constantly dripping through the damaged ceiling above and light from the large windows in the room, the seeds have recently started to grow. The seeds that are now growing there were originally intended for a friend’s plot in Manor Gardens Allotments, the century old allotments that were destroyed in the creation of the Olympic Park.
Legacy Part Two:
I have acquired 200 solar powered toy rowing boats from a factory in China. A blocked drain on the roof of the building has created a pool area, open to the sky. I have been transporting the toy boats into the building, and will shortly be releasing them all on this pool. When the sun shines the boats, one for each of the countries competing at the Olympics, will race each other around this area – rather chaotically if my recent tests are anything to go by. From this wonderful vantage point you can see the Thames Barrier, the Dome, the lights of the City of London and indeed the Olympic Stadium.
Legacy Part Three:
I will shortly be carrying in a portable battery powered TV / DVD set, an invalid carriage battery and a solar charging panel. I will set the TV up in a small office room inside the building and play a DVD of the opening ceremony of the Athens Olympics on loop. Of the 22 buildings built for the Athens 2004 Olympics, 21 are now abandoned and patrolled by security guards, much like the mill building inside which I have been working.
I would hope that the pieces I have installed inside this rather beautiful abandoned building offer a contrast with what is being presented as the legacy of the London 2012 Olympics.
If I had completed this all weeks ago and was therefore able to submit a location to The Greatest Possible Distance, it would be the pool on the roof. You can to see the Olympic Stadium where the ceremony is taking place quite clearly – certainly any fireworks would be impressive from this point – but the isolation up there is intense due to the extreme journey you have just made. You have to pass through several (often razor wired) fences, hundred of yards of scrubland while keeping an eye out for the patrolling security guards, work your way into the basement of a very rotten building and from there up to the roof, paying careful attention to the rotten floors. Once there it is peaceful and picturesque – the building has a majesty and a history, but is as far from what I believe the Olympic Experience has turned into as it is possible to be.
I wish you every success with The Greatest Possible Distance, and look forward to finding out where you end up!