Mantra is an interactive sculpture by Leicester-based artist Mateus Domingos created for Phoenix and currently displayed at the Arts Tower staircase at De Montfort University.
Mantra is designed to explore repetition, randomness, belief and narrative. The work creates a resistance towards quick reading as the text is rendered using a fictional alphabet, Codex.
The Mantra sculpture follows the principles of a Buddhist prayer wheel. These are traditionally made with a single mantra on the outer layer. Around the core of the cylinder other mantra written on paper are wound. The outer mantra is displayed across five 3D-printed segments and reads, “TAKE EACH STEP WITH CARE”.
The sculpture is interactive – when it is turned a button is triggered that sends a signal that will randomly generate a new mantra. This mantra is only visible on the Mantra website. Each time the wheel is turned the page will be changed and the previous mantra not seen again. This further provokes the need to translate or interpret the writing. Opposed to the prayer wheel mantra, these random ones are not created with specific intent and could therefore say anything.
The act of spinning the prayer wheel can be a meditative, contemplative act. It is about fostering this moment of interaction with an art object that is consciously performative and imaginative.
Also online is a Cipher that visitors can turn to translate the texts or write their own.