Unedited conversations between artist in a productive critique  discovering  thesis and processes behind the work.








Conversation between Adler Guerrier and Olivia Ramos.


Olivia Ramos

Siza Shrine, Columbia University 2007

Photo-montage Collage

Dimensions Variable

RAMOS: hi there




how spiritual are you this morning?


afternoon, no more than usual.


good humor


open to the universe


that's powerful


clear your agenda


allow yourself to be guided


i wouldn't use that phrasing. but yes, that sentiment


i am in my studio


and today, i am working without the pressure of any deadline


so yes, clear agenda


no tension, no friction, sounds like serenity


well, there is the works and its demands


not serenity, but a great place


happy to hear that


and you?


what is your disposition?


today I make my own deadlines and knowing that makes the tension superficial, self inflicted, and i can have peace for a while if I choose


it depends on the demands i have for myself


but i rather be guided


its hard sometimes to tell the difference between my will and the will of the universe


what if we all surrendered to the will of the universe?


i am not sure


i am in the universe


so i would be surrendering partly to me


we can't be out of the universe


so we will always be subservient to the universe




there is also a universe within me


and i can tap into it


within you


a metaphor for the vastness of humanity


of individual humans




philosophy and theology talks of reflecting divinity or perfect forms or love




we can


or it is within us to reflect


we are divinity incarnate - no?


we have flesh only as a challenge


as limitations


in some views


sure... if you go with the Anunnaki views.. we are drones


slaves to the alien race


the carnal can't just be a lesser


i didn't say it was a lesser


on the contrary


i know you didn't


i think our incarnate self are complete and able to be fulfilled


to be seen as a limitation or limited in contrast to the omni






tell me a bit about the Anunnaki view


well... let me answer the previous comment... challenges and limitations does not mean we as carnal beings are less than


in the spirit world, there are no limitations and therefore there are certain forms of growth (from pain and pleasure) that are no available


as spirits we choose to take a body to learn


we dive into the karmic cycle to see if we can reach enlightenment


spirits can't possibly have that challenge


as spirits anyway


so it is a privilege to take a body and face the challenges and grow above the limitations


do you still want to hear more about the Anunnaki?




the way i understand it is... back in the day, i'm talking 200,000 years ago1


people lived 900 years


and were much taller


this is way before the Anunnakis who are said to have been around during the Mesopotamian era which his only around 3,000 years ago.


so were the Anunnakis decedents of the Lemurians?


or did the Anunnakis flee from earth when Lemuria fell


this sounds like sci-fi


in a wonderful way


you can say the same about Jesus Christ


so everything we can't do today is sci-fi


everything can't see is sci-fi


poor sci-fi


myth and sci-fi are different


sci-fi tends to be a bit anachronistic


"in the spirit world, there are no limitations"


why not?


no physical limitations


pain is a very interesting catalyst for growth


for example...


i am not sure i understand no physical limitations


spirit has no physical anything


which is why mythic tales tell of spirits taking form human or animal or object -river, tree


to do something or affect the world




the point of "limitations" is growth


the world of the incarnate is an important theatre/stage for the spirits


as in transcendence


limits are defined and to be overcome


like college courses


every life is a different course


and if you fail, you repeat and it gets harder the second time around


what we think is "success" is part of the challenge


the truth is within that piece of universe or "source" we all carry within


does everyone carry the same-ish truth


or 7 billions truths to guide 7 billions humans


it's all the same truth and i believe we all carry it


one truth is right back to perfect ideal forms


the source cannot be in us.


but a means to connect to the source may


why can't the source be within us?


why can't we be the source?


because it seems that we all have the same thruth


one truth to 7 billion people


it must be external to us


yet we connect to it


and 7 billions is just now


one truth for all humans and aliens in the universe




it must be external


i don't see that at all


and you don't really give me any argument for that


other than a number


i don't see the source having any limitations


the source can be everything at once


and be learning over 7 billion lessons at once


i see


you are offering a reverse image to my thinking


so, everyone as source contribute to the truth


we don't reflect


we are the source




but in our (human) case


our challenges, and there are many, is partly to figure this out


to escape the traps of the physical and the traps of the Ego


which is obsessed with the physical


this, i don't like


i see perception to be connected to the physical


and that is wonderful


i am not sure what are the possible traps


you don't think spirits can perceive?


i see living as being wonderful


i do not think spirits can percieve


i dont think they have poetry, art, music




have sex


touch, flirt,


there is no way the spirit can do any of that.


we do


you seem to have a limiting scope of perception


i think spirits can perceive beyond anything we can imagine


but again, those are the limitations of being human


our perception is limited


how? i am not a spirit. I cant perceive them. i know what it is to be human and carnal.


and while being humans, we can be fulfilled in a spiritual manner


yes... but you said prior that spirits can't do things in the physical world... and i agree, that is why we are spirits having a human experience


but that has nothing to do with the scope of perception


or rather you are assuming the physical is all that there is to perceive


for me, spirituality as practiced as formal religion or not


leads to fulfillment


while being a humans


afterlife is the next chapter


in this one, we live fully


i dont think we are spirits


i assume there is a spiritual realm


i disagree... and definitely feel we are spirits


and that spirit is connected to the source, it is part of the source


and spirituality is a practice of connecting or allowing that spirit, or being aware of that spirit within


spirituality requires/dispenses knowledge


but also more


spirituality offers guides on how to live


living is a physical thing


in the spiritual realm, i don't know what it is called


that is why it leads to the ideals








and perception is there for us to gather knowledge


of us, the world and its connections


the non-incarnate probably takes human form, or animal form or a tree form


every once in a while


in order to perceive


and gather knowledge


i like this view because it still allows for transcendence while alive


what are some traps of the physical?





one week later...





i sent you an image last week‬‬


about spirituality and housing


how do you feel about that?




about the image?


what if all buildings had some sort of a shrine?‬‬


what if all housing projects had a spiritual component?


housing projects probably do


as spaces open to be used as shrines, temples, meeting halls


atheist would feel oppressed‬‬


you don't think atheist can be spiritual?‬‬


atheism is really outside of my grasp.‬‬


for some, it sounds like an object to god or gods and/or the spiritual realm

not sure, if atheist can be spiritual


but i would argue humans have some spiritual component to their being

atheist or not


‪i agree‬‬


and i don't imagine buildings having anything specific or towards any denomination


nor anything organized


just spiritual as a space and experience


‪every building having something denotes organization, program‬‬


sure but more like game rooms, libraries, movie rooms...etc ‪


like you said... that spiritual component in us all


i think if pubic or semi-public spaces had mirrors of such, then it would remind or revive that power


it sounds a bit too suggestive as to what one should think about‬‬




are cities or megalopolis compatible with such program‬‬


‪it's a larger scale‬‬


let me ask you something


is it wrong to suggest or embed hope?




optimism plays its in inspiring us all




i interrupted you thoughts... what about cities?


we have churches everywhere


cities seem to be a place of convergence‬‬


and at some point, a city must speak for multiple groups


how does it not?‬‬


not everyone recognizes the value of the spiritual‬‬


or even actively wants it


cities prioritize to serve broadly; and so politics enters‬‬


i am thinking of east Jerusalem


not being able to serve multiple groups right now




‪i think spirituality, faith and religion must be practiced on personal/communal terms‬‬




probably not on urban terms‬‬


‪it is just me and God sort of deal‬‬


i agree


but i'm not talking about religion and i think religion and spirituality are two different things


and so, no shrine in every building‬‬


‪why not?‬‬


what if the shrine was composed of trees and flowers?


and strategic lighting


‪gov't are terrible in helping people in spiritual matters‬‬


mandating ramps and restroom easy


mandating spiritual spaces is a big ask


and mandating Eco-friendly structure is even bigger‬‬


but i don't want to count on the gov


on the scale of the architect or developer, is it wrong to put a shrine in a lobby ?


not wrong


Eco-friendly structure is easy‬‬


‪is it?‬‬


‪stepping on FPL‬‬


mandating may be‬‬


and water management‬‬


and contractors


not easy


‪easier than you think‬‬


it's all politics


‪you think politics is easy?‬‬




and you don't think religion is by large politics?‬‬




‪not spirituality... religion‬‬


‪i understand‬‬


‪look at the Spanish inquisition‬‬


wasn't that religion playing politics?


i can think of contemporary inquisitions.. but don't know enough to comment directly


‪that wasn't playing politics. they were in charge‬‬


politics is game of interest and influence


like i said earlier, faith, spirituality and religion is personal


a person and a way of being


no outside interest, no outside influence


money doesn't matter


other people doesn't matter


one does what is right and good


as understood at that time


‪that sounds like anarchy‬‬


‪it may be changed with more knowledge‬‬


benign anarchy‬‬




not at all


one's faith may ask one to be kind and good to all


so, one would live kindly with others


others do not get to shape the requirement to be good and kind


they can be your family, your clan, or your enemy


one must be kind


not anarchy


that is why Spanish inquisition is weird for Catholics to do


it betrayed their faith


so we are suspicious of them


or scared


‪the Spanish inquisition only killed about 5,000 people‬‬


but intimidated millions‬‬


‪over 150,000 people killed in Iraq‬‬


at least officially‬‬


‪i think it's tricky‬‬


there are laws to have human order


and there is spirituality


and there are overlaps


there is also insanity


and insanity on a social level


where there is an overlap of law and spirituality, the law must be careful‬‬


to be neutral


which can be hard for lawmakers who have biases‬‬


so yes tricky


if only all lawmakers had to study every religion


and would be free to apply principles that overlapped in all


well, that is what Plato required, philosopher-king‬‬