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Muni:Muni Mother

Museum Link:

Source Link:

Date Minted: December 18, 2019

Artist Description: Embodiment token of everlasting love & support of the mother. Warming glow emanates through center. Details: 45.3MiB, width: 800px, height: 450px, frames: 250, type: gif, name: munimuni_mothertoken.gif

CohentheWriter’s Commentary:

You can feel a radiance leaking from the screen. A tranquility, it oozes out from the soft light and warm glow and pink leaves, and all the personal associations they conjure. As per artist Gisel Florez, Muni:Muni Mother is an “Embodiment token of everlasting love & support of the mother. Warming glow emanates through center.” That placidity is purposeful. That it is communicated so well is a testament to the artist. Ditto the piece’s ability to foment a sense of calm, and then tie that idea of calm to certain ingrained ideas about mothers, about nature, and about love. Hard not to feel warmth. Hard not to feel lulled. And it’s all designed that way.

In Tagalog, “Munimuni” roughly means to meditate or meditation, while in Japanese, Muni is a title bestowed upon the Gautama Buddha; in both cases, this idea of spiritual enlightenment —meaning some kind of pervasive, universal calm— is crucial to the word’s meaning. There’s a clear flow gleaned from just interrogating the piece’s title, between spiritual truth and Motherhood, or at least the ideal of Motherhood as laid out in the Artist Description, of her “everlasting love and support.” These romantic motifs of motherhood, femininity, and peace reverberate through all aspects of Muni:muni: Pink as the central color, floral imagery —are those Cherry Blossoms?— and the hovering orb at the center of the piece, radiating its light, its warmth, its soft influence. 

Let’s talk further about that orb, because in both design and placement, it seems a link to other great feminist artists who engage in what I suppose we can call vaginal art; think Georgia O’Keefe’s flowers, in which you’ll almost universally find a central, vaginal cavity. O’Keefe’s reputation precedes her, I imagine. And it does seem like O’Keefe’s flowers were a central inspiration here, especially when taking the floral imagery and vaginal connotations together. Thus, the Vagina as integral to life; the wellspring of it. The Vagina as warm and comforting, as the womb is warm and comforting too. The Vagina as the ultimate in feminine imagery. I’d point you, also, to Judy Chicago’s Dinner Party; therein, 39 women with some historical or mythological significance are given a “spot at a table,” of which each is denoted by a dinner plate decorated congruently to their mythos or accomplishments; but all of which are directly vaginal in imagery. 

There’s a sense in Muni:Muni Mother that the power emanating from that focal light/orb/warmth is able to warp the world around it. Small ripples gently surge from out of it, creating waves over the rest of the image, providing a sense of movement —read: life— to otherwise stagnant flowers and tree branches. This is what the Mother provides, outright life to a world which may otherwise be lifeless, if beautiful. Everything in this piece is an emanation of that motherly idea, that the Mother is the literal, physical, and metaphorical fountain of life. And, of course, often enough only female plants flower…

The artistic technique itself is interesting too, this melding photographic imagery with the kind of looping, VFX overlay common to other Crypto Art. If nothing else, it warps our sense of reality; because what seems more real, the static image of the flowers, or the affecting orb that impresses upon it? It certainly seems as if Florez wants the interplay between the two, background and foreground, to be central; as we watch the orb vacillate outward and inward, taking up more and more of the image, it is impossible not to notice how its brightness and form affect our ability to see anything past it.

Because, at the orb’s largest and most potent form (it wavers in intensity), it is all-encompassing. The Love of the Mother, the Feminine Power, the Warmth and Support inherent in motherhood —however you want to define the Orb, Florez suggests that it has the capacity to blot out everything else around it, so powerful is its influence, so far-reaching its effects. With such inescapable feminine imagery in both background and foreground, Florez also seems to be suggesting the omnipresence of female influence. All are born of women, after all. All have mothers. And that chain of mother-birth-mother-birth-mother-birth is the backbone on which all our various worlds —societal, spiritual, economic, artistic— spring from. There is an appropriately suggestive power in Florez’ decision to make that orb formless and without physical definition: just light, just pulsation. This is decidedly not the concavity in the center of a flower. It is not a central circle in the middle of a dinner plate. It is not darkness, nor a hole, nor the center of a whirlpool, where things flow into it. It is a propellant force, from which things flow out; from which things are pushed. The orb itself pushes outward. It pulses outward. When it sucks back in again, it is merely preparing to unleash its power once more, and again become blinding, become everything. Light and form; what could be more basic?

That Vaginal imagery is light, and it is expansion. Unlike the common perception of Male reproductive organs as penetrative and female reproductive organs as receptive, the Vaginal Orb seems to occupy both worlds. It recedes inward; it explodes outward. All things flow from it. All things flow back into it. Its dreamy power is calming, contemplative, and constant. It is easy to get lost in. And like an ocean tide, it always deposits you —the observer, the interrogator, the interpreter, the mind, the gaz—- back atop something solid. Until, of course, it swallows you once more. 

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