Turning into the Night, Fowler Dune Shack, 002018

Koans for the Anthropocene: Tea in the Dark is an ongoing project by smudge studio. 

We prepare, share, and drink tea through forms and gestures that co-arise and then pass away with the elemental conditions of each occasion. 

We do this as acts of hospitality and as koans for living daily life the Anthropocene. 

Koans for the Anthropocene: Tea in the Dark humbly acknowledges our encounters with traditional Zen koans. Koans are an ancient and yet still evolving instrument for living responsively on Earth. As artists, we experiment with expanded forms of koans. We take this to be a skillful means for practicing daily life within ever-changing planetary conditions. Koans deepen our capacities to respond to the context at hand. Much of what unfolds within daily life, especially within the Anthropocene, is grounded in uncertainty. Cultivating capacities to co-exist creatively within the enigmatic nature of existence is central to our project.  

We also see the preparation and consumption of tea as a mutually responsive practice of hospitality. Making, sharing, and drinking tea within varied conditions and forms exposes us to sensory experiences of change. It also inserts pause and reflection in habits of mind, gesture, and pace. Tea practice can transmute vast scales and cosmological forces of elemental change into a humble, liveable human experience. 

In this way, Tea in the Dark serves as an ecological act that assists in re-weaving modern consciousness into cosmological rhythms of continuous change, thereby easing life in the Anthropocene. 

From November 002019 through December 002020, we will co-create inventive forms of tea practice across widely varied geographies, times, spaces and forms of conduct. We will experiment with tea’s potential to enable skillful improvisation, poetic transposition, empirical observation, ritual conduct, and hospitality as a medium for intentional co-existence. 

Over the coming months, please visit this page for information about micro-productions open to the public, private tea encounters, and related printed materials and ephemera. We will post documentation of the tea events as they occur. 

In the spirit of ancient wandering tea monks who inspire us, we welcome friends, colleagues and strangers to ask us to make tea for them in collaborative exchanges, and in response to specific contexts and occurrences. 


Digital Chakaiki/茶会記 for Tea in the Dark


Tea #1/Nov. 002019: Drinking Tea, Foot Before, Foot Behind (cleaving dusk/dawn)

Tea #2/Dec. 00219, Tilting towards Change: Winter Solstice

Tea #3/ Jan. 002020, Earth at Perihelion, Sharing Tea with the Sun

Tea #4/ Jan. 002020, Permutating Mid-Winter, Just Because We Can't See It, Doesn't Mean It's Not Happening

Tea #5/ Feb. 002020, Leap Tea: Navigate Change Using Delight

Tea #6/ March 19, 002020, Moving Balance: Practices for the Inconceivable (Spring Equinox)



Examples of previous teas staged by smudge studio include: 

Cosmos Night Flood of Light (002019)

Tea at the Tilt of the Earth (002018)

East is a Circle (002018)

What's Here: Ephemeral, Unreaptable Acts (002017)

Practice for Living Time in and as the Anthropocene (002016)

The Last Eight Minutes: Everything We Take to be a Constant is Changing (002016)

Higashi for the Anthropocene (002014)

Turning at the Limits of the World (002014)

Tea Shack (002007)

28 Days (002007)

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