As part of Samora Pinderhughes’s The Healing Project, YBCA is thrilled to present both in-person and digital screenings of this body is so impermanent… (2021) by Peter Sellars. From Friday, August 12–Sunday, August 14, 2022, visitors can experience this groundbreaking film both online at and in person inside of YBCA’s screening room, with an introductory conversation between Sellars and Pinderhughes.

this body is so impermanent… is a multi-disciplinary film performance project based on a passage from the Vimalakirti Sutra, a foundational Buddhist text from the 1st century CE.

Made in isolation by artists on three continents, the project is a creative response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The group of virtuosic and singular artists—South Indian devotional singer Ganavya in Tygh Valley, OR; improvisatory dancer Michael Schumacher in Amsterdam, Netherlands; visual artist and calligrapher Wang Dongling and cinematographer Yu Luk-wai in Hangzhou, China; sound designer Shahrokh Yadegari in La Jolla, CA; film editor Tim Squyres in Maplewood, NJ; and director Peter Sellars in Los Angeles, CA—came together to create an hour-long meditation on a transformative and startlingly honest text.

The passage used from the Vimalakirti Sutra is one of the most profound and penetrating descriptions of the human body in early literature, one that understands illness as more than affliction—that it is also a messenger. The text contrasts the body that is impermanent, that is fated to be broken and destroyed, with the body of reality, the body that is formed by all our good actions, wisdom, generosity, love, patience, morality, transcendence, and shared kindness and courage. this body is so impermanent… becomes a memorial of shared suffering, and a message of beauty and hope.

Screening Room