The rock garden outside the Ho Science is the perfect location for Garden of Buddhahood by Dajuin Yao. The installation is one of 35 in Revolutions Per Minute, the first exhibition of Chinese sound art in the world. (Photo: Dajuin Yao)

When the Zen-style rock garden was created outside the Ho Science Center, as subtle homage to the heritage and beliefs of Robert H.N. Ho ’56, no one anticipated that it would one day be part of the first exhibition of Chinese sound art in the world.

Garden of Buddhahood, by Dajuin Yao, features 45 Buddhist chanting lamps with recordings of chanting and continuously changing hues. Yao, a pioneer in the sound art genre, co-curated the exhibition with Wenhua Shi, assistant professor of art and art history at Colgate.

Garden of Buddhahood is one of 35 installations that comprise Revolutions Per Minute (RPM), which is on display at Colgate from March 26 through April  26. The RPM map and brochure lists events and locations. More information and exhibition materials are on the RPM website.

According to Yao’s label for the piece, “the work not only attempts to build a sense of Buddhahood out of an ordinary space, but also makes creative fun of the mass-produced mass-religion, or, more precisely, mass-superstition.” It also transforms the space “one step further to its original allusion to the Japanese Zen garden.”

The synergy is perfect. In addition to providing generous support to Colgate, just last month Ho’s family foundation announced a major initiative to support contemporary Chinese artists.

Revolutions per Minute is funded in part by the Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation Artist-in-Residence endowment at Colgate, with additional support from the Colgate Arts Council, the Department of Art and Art History, and the Film and Media Studies program.