Monday, March 14, 2011

Red Maple Swamp: HARBIN BUILDINGS & ART, Harbin's buildings and art are further architectural, aesthetic and, symbolic expressions of place

Harbin ethnography:

... That Harbin, as place, gives form to kinds of serendipity and synchronicity which I associate with soaring and freedom is significantly influenced by the clothing-optional warm pool and the pool areas effects on people's bodyminds. (Modernity is fortunate to have Harbin, and that Harbin has hippy-navigated the possibly many stormy countercultural seas it's faced, since 1972).


Harbin's buildings and art are further architectural, aesthetic and, significantly, symbolic expressions of place. The Harbin Conference Center – for workshops and dances – with warm pools, which are not geothermally heated, was built in the early 1980s. It has probably hosted a lot of 'Human Awareness Institute (HAI) - Love, Intimacy and Sexuality' workshops over the decades, as well as Tantric Yoga workshops, which Stan Dale also taught, and so many other workshops under the sun, - many intimacy-related. Dances happen there on Tuesday and Thursday evenings these days, as well as an occasional drumming circle, as well as the all Harbin community Thanksgiving meal, which Ish also attends, for example. On the other main door, at the back, which relatively few people enter through, there's a plaque saying that it's the 'Stan Dale Conference Center.' Stan Dale was the founder of HAI, as far as I know, and instrumental in developing it, as well as a visionary (Ishvara 2008, Personal Interview with MacLeod). The brown Harbin Conference Center, with its great amount of wood and clean Scandanavian-like lines, possibly built much from workshop monies, as a place for New Age Harbin workshops and dances, has one, main workshop space, as well as a large front porch, and a least one living space, and is tucked away across the Harbin creek from the Mainside area, and is fairly close to the Harbin Gate, at about the same elevation. I've never participated in a many-day workshop there. And I have rarely seen anyone in its pools, - partly because I've never attended a workshop there. The pools may also be expensive to heat, and so get used for certain workshops only. As an expression of Harbin place, the dances I've gone to there, over the years, find freedom in its nice design and inner spaciousness. As an ethnographer of this actual Harbin Conference Center, it's occurred to me recently to actually be at the Conference Center while I write about it, in the 'now,' so as to 'rif' with it and my experience of this building and its spaces and beauty (these blog entries also refer to the Conference Center:, some written while within the Conference Center), both with (perhaps at a dance and a workshop) and without other people present, as a new kind of anthropological, participant-observation method.

The bubble-shaped Harbin Domes are an ephemeral vision up on the hillside, across the valley, and a little paradise with two warm pools, which are also not geothermally heated. ...

( - March 14, 2011)

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