Report on Bowl No. 91
Emptiness is not nothing. Without the bowl there is nothing – not emptiness, just nothing. The bowl creates a context within which emptiness exists. Nothing can exist without the bowl, but emptiness cannot.
An empty bowl waits to be filled and a full bowl wants to be emptied. A bowl is thus never static, its empty space or occupied space never at rest. The space within the bowl creates both an emptiness and an expectation, and the dynamic patience of an empty bowl gives the space a supplementary dimension larger than the space it actually contains, larger and more significant if only for its potential.
I put Bowl No. 91 to work. I filled it with money ¬- 20 one-dollar bills – and placed it before a sign that read: “Give Or Take.” No please, no thank-you, just the command to contribute or accept. I placed the bowl, sign and money on the counter of the Tacoma soup bar Infinite Soups. With the permission of the owners, I left it for two days.
“I’m glad it’s over,” one of the owners said when I came to retrieve the bowl. “People went nuts.”
The implied generosity aroused their suspicion. They asked: “What is this?” “What’s this about?” “What do I do?”
They seemed confused, he said. Unsure. Wary. The full bowl created a community of confusion.
The owner recalled one woman who said she could really use the money but didn’t know what to do. She asked, “Can I just take it?”
He pointed to the sign.
“I couldn’t,” she said. “Hey, I’ll split it with you.”
She left without taking anything, leaving the bowl full.
After two days, the $20 had grown by:
• 12 one-dollar bills
• 22 quarters, 9 dimes, 5 nickels, 13 pennies
• One medallion, undated, from the “Marysville Strawberry Classic” soccer tournament
What we call the beginning is often the end
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
From “Little Gidding”
I passed Patra Passage Bowl No. 91 to North Bend artist Arlo Emerson.
To mark the occasion, we went bowling.
WEBSITE NOTE: An interview with C.R. Roberts about his experiment can be viewed on the “Interviews” page of this website http://patrapassage.com/video-interviews/
For further experience with this experience see a great video interview with C.R. Roberts: link on the main menu
FANTASTIC!!! What a great way to share the bowl, I loved the story…and to go BOWLing after passing it on. FUN!
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