Journey in Turiya is an homage to Alice Coltrane, the late musician and swamini of the Sai Anantam Ashram in California. Though widely known as the wife of jazz giant John Coltrane — and a crucial member of his late quintet — Alice Coltrane continued long after her husband’s passing to explore the frontiers of sound they’d begun to chart together. A genre-busting harpist, pianist, organist and composer who became a spiritual seeker, Alice Coltrane’s work and persona represent a relevant and timely model of hybrid artistic and spiritual practice.
This installation — which incorporates light, color, a levitating harp case, and continuous sound — functions as a meditation on art, music and spirituality, proposing the figure of Coltrane as a kind of aesthetic guru. Its title refers to Coltrane’s fourth solo album Journey in Satchidananda (1970), inspired by her association with Swami Satchidananda in the late ‘60s. Alice Coltrane became known as Turiya (transcendence, nirvana)— then Turiyasangitananda (the highest song of bliss) — as she deepened spiritually and worked to send “illuminating worlds of sound into the ethers of this universe” (as she describes in the liner notes to her 1971 album Universal Consciousness). This piece is inspired by Alice/Turiya, and represents the outcome of the artist’s effort to create a space in which one might consider the possibility of transcendence through an immersive aesthetic experience.
Dedicated to Alice Coltrane and Franya J. Berkman.
Journey in Turiya was originally created with a 2013 Regional Artist Project Grant. The Regional Artist Project Grant is funded and administered by the United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County. This project is supported by the N.C. Arts Council, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources.The program is operated in partnership with the Franklin County Arts Council, Johnston County Arts Council, Vance County Arts Council and Warren County Arts Council.
Thanks also to Travis Donovan, Drew Robertson, Matt McConnell, Neill Prewitt, Nick Hammer, Lauren Pegram and Chuck Johnson for your psychic and material assistance.