“Enchanted” Chant-Boxes

Chant boxes 09 big

What a wonderful on-going project from Zach Poff.

“Enchanted” is a series of modified Buddhist “chant boxes”. Each one begins life as a digital sound player (variously called a “chanting player”, “buddha box”, or “buddhist jukebox”). They are usually given away in Chinese temples to assist in meditation. Short musical phrases are encoded on a microchip and played continuously when the player is turned on. Some have a track-switch button (like an old 8-track player) and some have only a volume knob.

I am interested in how the technology within these boxes guides the perception of their intent. At first blush, a digital device that “prays for you” seems a bit Orwellian but Buddhist chanting is not prayer (as in mortals communicating with their gods). It is a blend of oral tradition and meditation: a way of teaching religious texts where the repetition of the message encourages a spiritual state harmonious with the meaning of the text itself.

Read more.


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