When you first step into Temple, you’re to remove your shoes before heading down a narrow hallway that opens to an airy, sunlit loft. The ceilings are high, with bamboo mats rolled against the edges of the room. Boxes of tea are stacked near the sink. In the back corner, a wooden ladder is propped against the space where two walls meet. While it all initially reads as minimal, one can’t help but be struck with an immediate sense of intentionality behind each detail. Everything is clean, bright, still.
William, – an artist, metal worker and the founder of Temple – modeled the space after the concept of the zen bowl. “The idea is that someone can come into Temple, create something new, and then empty it out,” he explained. “The concept of the zen bowl illustrates that a structure is not just the vessel itself, but both what fills it and the empty space within.”
Originally, the room that now harbors Temple was William’s metal shop. “My first studio as an independent business was housed in that space. I’ve had it for nine years. Three years ago, I realized I wanted to convert it into something more.”
William’s former studio has since been transformed into a multi-purpose space with the help of several trusted practitioners and artists within William’s circle. Their collective mission statement explains that Temple “is a safe space to explore the intersection of mind, body, spirit and artistic practice” and can be used “for artists to practice a variety of work, including but not limited to flesh hook suspension, shibari, conscious body movement, kink, BDSM, ritual, curated experiences, installation art, performance, photography, video, guided meditation and sonic immersion.” Temple is also newly renovated with anchors installed in the ceiling, which can be used for various aforementioned aerial arts, such as shibari (Japanese rope bondage).
William explained that he wanted to create a space that he had been searching for in his early days of exploring kink. “A lot of spaces for this sort of work are often kind of dark and cavernous, with lots of red, black and velvet,” said William. “We’re re-envisioning what a kink space can look like.”
Dia Dynasty, one of the practitioners involved with the creation of Temple, emphasized the fluid nature of what Temple can embody. “The space isn’t dedicated to one specific practice,” she explained. “It allows for many things to happen so that when people come in with an intention, it transforms the space. I was brought in as a practitioner because I’m a professional dominatrix, and Temple is a place for bodywork and sacred energy exchange. I think that was part of the intention of Temple that I also wanted to help shape. I love that Temple can be both light and dark.”
In addition to providing space for artists to practice, Temple also offers “education through workshops, demonstrations, immersive experiences and directed training sessions,” according to its mission statement.
Temple’s upcoming offerings include rope-tying sessions under the supervision of Temple’s resident rope practitioner Oz and Kink and Draw events (a play on the ever-popular Drink and Draw format), wherein attendees gather to drink and socialize, while sketching a live rope-tying session.
“Classes here are really mellow,” said Margherita Tisato, a butoh, movement and trauma-informed educator who is also a core practitioner at Temple. “There doesn’t have to be nudity, there doesn’t have to be a scene. You can learn all of these new skills and meet new people in a simplified manner surrounded by a supportive community.”
A core value that Dynasty highlighted is the idea that learning at Temple is symbiotic. “There is no hierarchy here,” said Dynasty. “There is no one role that is better than the other. We’re all equal parts of this ecosystem. Temple, in a way, is a living thing. It’s a reciprocal relationship. It’s got a life of its own that we tend to, and it gives back to us as we feed it.”
While Temple offers room for people to explore kink in its many forms, Tisato wants people to know that Temple is “not just a kink space,” she explained. “It is a space where we make art. It is a space where we explore new things. I think there’s a risk of pigeonholing what Temple is. The larger mission of Temple is to de-stigmatize our work, which means sharing and showing the range of possibilities of kink. I think kink and rope and all of these things are about sex to a large degree, but they’re not only about sex.”
“There are so many different expressions of how people identify themselves,” elaborated William. “It’s important for me to say that Temple is a space for all people. Beyond that, I think there are people who want to find their way into kink who don’t feel like they’ve been given permission to explore it.”
Financial accessibility is a core value that William intends to uphold for people interested in exploring what Temple has to offer. “Doing it at a price point that does not leave kink as a luxury item is really important to me. We want to help grow a conscientious, informed, consent-based community for all.”
You can keep up with the work Temple is doing, along with its primary circle of practitioners, on a variety of platforms. You can find Temple’s address when you RSVP to an event or book with a practitioner who works within the space.
All images provided by Temple.
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