Art born out of a 999 day meditation

On my bicycle, I traveled 38,000 miles over 999 days, crossing six continents and circling the earth twice. I smiled and waved at thousands of people along my route, anyone that noticed me, yet almost all of my time out there I was alone. Without people to talk to I had no mirror for my thoughts. The world outside of me expanded immeasurably while internally I was living in an echo chamber. After years of this, I lost my ability to perceive the world, or myself, through anyone else’s eyes but my own.


This is the state I was in when I returned home. I felt inspired and had a strong desire to create something. I could not conceive of what anyone else might want so I made something just for me. Like when I started bicycling, I had no idea how far I would go. 

My attention settled on my ant farm, one of the few things I saved from before my journey. I built it using scrap sheets of plastic for the habitat and a dim light set behind to shine through the tunnels. While I traveled it was the only thing I missed from the life I had left behind. Late one night I was watching my ants tunnel when I made a decision; I had left on my journey to find my limit, I was going to do it again with an ant farm.


Soon after, I had designed and built the first Ant Space. I stared at it incessantly. Bicycling around the world taught me great patience. Watching ants tunnel became my new meditation. 

 

While I traveled, I was always arriving somewhere new. The world around me was unfamiliar which in turn kept me engaged and curious. I constantly had something new to see, and the Ant Space had that same characteristic. Tunnels grew, seeds sprouted, soil settled. Every time I looked, it was different, and I was mesmerized.

After the first Ant Space I had a vision for more. One Ant Space became two then a third was added. My vision grew and culminated in an eight piece installation of illuminated, ever-changing art. The largest Ant Space was 4 feet tall and 8 feet wide. On my bicycle journey, I went further than necessary by any measure but my own. Standing before my  masterpiece, I knew I had done it again. 

 

Creating the Ant Space is how I integrated the experience of pedaling around the world. It is the elixir I returned home with, the physical manifestation of a thousand day journey. 

Thank you for supporting my vision,

Jacob Lemanski