Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Egret among swamp trees: The Harbin pool area, vision and nudity, or more accurately clothing-optionalness, are linked at Harbin

Harbin ethnography:

... In this interpretation, Harbin is partly about seeing/being our naked, attractive, natural selves, as well as seeing our own stuff, as human primates (an idea which not many people have at the fore of their minds) in the New Age, at ease in the pools, which the 1960s significantly opened the way for, counterculturally.

The ways in which the Harbin pool area, vision and nudity, or more accurately clothing-optionalness, are linked at Harbin, emerging out of a resistance to mostly Western, but also including many or most spiritual, cultural and religious traditions, hang ups and concerns about a covered body – of the 1960s, counterculture and the New Age. I would suggest that such weirdness or discomfort about seeing naked bodies in certain sociocultural ways is still widespread, tied-to-modernity and particularly cultural taboos have given form to a kind of Harbin 'seeing,' or Harbin gaze, if only because of the relatively high number of naked people, in the context pool area architecture (even given, for example, the widespread acceptance of the bikini, as well as ways ways in which advertising, in particular, has generated nakedness, and sex, as remarkably successful ways to sell things in countless images that have all been normalized despite such taboos about the body). Harbin's founder, Ishvara, for example, is particularly averse to clothing hangups, and much of Harbin could be read as an expression of Ish's resistant, or even radical stance, against the uptightness of folks about clothes, (as well as his own?). As a hippie out of the 1960s, the naked body is natural. Ish once came into the front office when I was working there in 2005 in his (green?) underwear, loafers and white socks, a T-shirt and a towel over his shoulder, as a kind of statement about what Harbin is about. The word 'clothing-optionalness,' itself, is important and fascinating in the context of Harbin, because it suggests both a tolerance to clothes being worn, where the practice of nudity is and has been mainstream for decades, since the 1960s, I suspect. So, seeing nudity in the pools and pool area is central to Harbin as place.

Vision and pool areas' architecture and design, as place, have emerged together since the mid-1970s and Harbin's Heart Consciousness Church, in a kind of organic, natural, hippy way around nudity. ...

(http://scott-macleod.blogspot.com/2011/03/egret-among-swamp-trees-harbin-pool.html - March 2, 2011)

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