biophiia • culture • technologie


The saṃsāra boutique is a labour of love and a work of art in constant transition.  Geographically situated at 26 Strong Avenue in downtown Northampton Massachusetts, most everything in residence sleuthing on shelves or dangling from walls or riveted to rusticated tables are one-of-a-kind, and the custom made shelves and benches and tables and carts and other purposed commodities are one-of-a-kind too.

At saṃsāra we revere the obvious truth of Biophilia, and the instinctive bond between humanity and other living systems.  Our soulful botanicals include fleshy succulents and erotic air plants (that daily seek to defy gravity) and the odd prickly Cactacea and a bounty of perspicacious perennials, both rare and common, some bottled up in exquisite terrariums and others set free to sprawl climb or tangle.  The living breathing plants mingle and dance and punctuate the unusual cultural artifacts and furnishings of the industrial or household or workshop or farm variety, both rare and common, simple and exotic, that themselves have undergone the metamorphosis from being discarded relics of a bygone era to coveted commodities sporting the most outrageous and sometimes bland components.

At saṃsāra, we cherish our plants, knowing that they have a soul, and our relics of technologie born of our romance with rust do too, and we share the absolute certainty of a holistic way of seeing and being, and so we have a (equally great) disdain for the reductionism of the Newtonian paradigm, and we harbor the greatest truth of all, that the whole is more than the sum of its parts.

Who would study and describe the living, starts

By driving the spirit out of the parts;

In the palm of his hand he holds all the sections,

Lacks nothing, except the spirit’s connections.

Faust, 1790, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

We have vivacious textiles, and fine art; old apothecary bottles and whiskey flasks; unusual books for the insatiable bibliophile and even those for the most provincial reader.  There is a select display of photographs; some African statuary and masks; Indian tapestries; rough bolts and bent flywheels; and everything caters to our philosophical desire to manifest a spaciotemporal ascetic that allows for the arising of nothingness in coexistence with matter.  White space.  A soulful culture.  Coulture.  And a hostile perspective on clutter.

At saṃsāra we nurture a very simple Feng Shui (this being one of the five arts of Chinese metaphysics), that appreciates the philosophy that an uncluttered mindfulness quite naturally evolves from an uncluttered space.  We also sport a few dilapidated skeletal remains and some pleasing wood stuffs, their decomposition suspended in time and place, and while we are uncertain whether the trolls and nymphs and fairies have vacated these natural forms, we can say with surety that all things tend toward entropy and we have the deepest respect for the natural processes of transformation.  There is no light without darkness, no death without birth, no growth without decay.  We love mosses and lichens and mushrooms as wildly as we love the (image of) cheetah sprinting over the Serengeti.

There is no telling what precious finds might be found at saṃsāra, and we know not what you might be drawn to on any day, be it a featherlight Mongol stew ladle cast in faux gold and transported under the great Blue Sky, or an artistic assemblage like “The Heart” or another like the interactive “Gears on Blue Board with 40’s Cruise Ship Sun Bathers”, or a precision aeronautical altimeter painted flat black with it’s chalk white dial numbering that must have been cannibalized from some long gone World War II flying machine.  How did we end up with such a thing?  Well, if every photograph is worth a thousand words then every precision instrument tells the story of a war.  All things come from the Tao, and all things go back to the Tao.

At saṃsāra we seek to facilitate for every select item that falls under our gaze the progression of its unique journey along its own special cycle of birth, death, transformation and rebirth, and these things all having undergone a metamorphosis in our keeping, we wish to deliver our creations unto you such that you too may share with joy and delight in all their especial beingness.  All things pass, and we hope it will be our good karma to be visited by you, and from the moment we pass something on to you we will always be there to honor its integrity and support you in its maintenance.

The primal thing from no-thing sprang,

The power of light through darkness rang,

In beings’ depth igniting fire;

Creation’s joy born of desire;

The elements poured into the world,

Rapaciously one into the other whirled,

All permeating, all permeated.

Satyros (further citation not found).