Thursday, March 3, 2011

Brittle stars: Harbin as a place of observing, Watching at Harbin is in relation to its being a retreat center and Heart Consciousness Church

Harbin ethnography:

... Harbin as place seems designed for hippy seeing and being seen, in the milieu of clean and relaxed Mainside, pool area, and waters.

Not only is Harbin Hot Springs a place of observing, but watching at Harbin is in relation to its being a retreat center, and Heart Consciousness Church, as well as the easing that occurs for everyone in the waters, and around the pools. This kind of looking is soft – for example, the many women who return again and again to Harbin experience both trust and find safety there – and the attraction naked bodyminds affects the softness of both female and male observing or others' nakedness, and even beauty. While a kind of participatory, hippy spectacle (e.g. a visually striking performance or display; or an event or scene regarded in terms of its visual impact – Apple dictionary) is an important aspect of the Harbin experience, in the beginning of the twenty first century, this isn't new. For example, the Rainbow Gathering is another hippy spectacle. Hippies tend to enjoy watching, as well as being, the circus or the parade itself, too. Harbin visitors, heading into and out of the waters, are another kind of Harbin hippy parade. And while nudity and hot springs aren't new for hippies either – with the seeing this involves - creating this Harbin-family milieu – an un-commune - where everybody is out on the sun deck during the many warm months, just relaxing, socializing and watching is a kind of natural development out of the 'counterculture' of the '60s. People come to Harbin because they enjoy the waters and watching. As an ethnographer, writing about this hippy-informed vision of warm-water-released watching of nudity - engaging anthropological method of participant observation - builds on the Harbin experience. Watsu (water shiatsu), too, as a healing body-movement technique, involves watching, but while in contact with one another, and during movement. As one kind of 'technique' of the Harbin observer, Watsu makes possible a kind of intimate, even more-erotic-than-simply-observing-in-the-warm-pool watching of the other, especially due to the contact and the navigation involved in the pool. The touch in Watsu informs a kind of seeing. A hippie vision of vision has found form here at Harbin in the pool area, as place, ethnographically, too.

While Harbin founder Ishvara's vision includes, and has long included (since 1972), clothing-optionalness, so nudity as a kind of practice, on all of the Harbin property, his vision includes nominally creating Harbins all over the U.S., although this has never panned out in actuality. ...

( - March 3, 2011)

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