Mark-David Hosale

computational artist and composer

On The Bardo Plane Of Existence

After-Life On The Bardo Plane Of Existence was first conceived in November 1996 when I first came-up with the idea to treat The Tibetan Book of the Dead as if it were an epic poem. As part of the project, I was very interested in trying to place the audience in the experience as much as possible. I accomplished this task by utilizing several elements: sound placement, video, and performance and dance. The sound provides the ambiance and mood of the piece, the video provides the more esoteric symbolic interpretation, while the performance and dance provides a more literal interpretation of the events in the Tibetan Book of the Dead. As a website I hope to provide this experience by allowing the audience to navigate freely through The Tibetan Book of the Dead while learning something about the details of the project and listening to the music that corresponds with it as well. How I have done this, is by seperating the piece into four basic pieces, each with thier own sound bytes, films and graphics. As you enter each section you will find a text area that will give background on where you are and how it fits into the story. Here is the basic outline of the piece:

  • I. Chakai BardoThe Bardo of the moments of death.
    • A. Meditation and Prayer.
  • II. Chonyid BardoThe Bardo of the experiencing of reality.
    • A. The dawning of the Peaceful Dieties.
    • B. The dawning of the Wrathful Dieties.
  • III. Sidpa Bardo The intermediate state when seeking rebirth.
    • A. The After Death World: Judgement.
    • B. The process of rebirth.


In this website each Bardo is represented with an icon in the first screen. When that icon is selected you enter that Bardo. As well as the background text that I was describing earlier, each Bardo has two film clips. One is taken directly from the video screen that was playing behind the performers, and the other is a clip of the performance. Also there will be sound bytes playing from the music that was used in the show.

The experience of exploring the website is meant to simulate that of the Bardo. Because of that there is no real set order in which the site is to be explored, and likewise the user may become confused as they explore each path finding that some paths take them to new pages while others return them to old. Regardless of which path a user has taken, by the end of the experience they should have a very clear concept of the linear progression of the work even though it was experienced non-linearly.

As a final note, I want to mention that the piece is by no means intended to be a culturally accurate interpretation of The Tibetan Book of the Dead, but rather, more an expression of how this document has affected me as an artist. May you enjoy your virtual tour of After-Life On The Bardo Plane Of Existence.
-Mark-David Hosale

Okay, now we are ready to begin the tour. But first, in order to explore the site, you must have Java Script enabled in your browser and the latest QuickTime plug-in installed in your browser. If you need Quicktime download it at: