The Battle of Karbala (680) resulted in the death of Hussein, the grandson of prophet Muhammad and all his supporters. This battle is central to Shi'a Muslim belief in which the martyrdom of Hussein is mourned by an annual commemoration, Ashura. Artist Köken Ergun has worked with Istanbul's Shiite minority, documenting their preparations for the Ashura day.
“Trypps #7 (Badlands) charts, through an intimate long-take, a young woman's LSD trip in the Badlands National Park, before descending into a psychedelic, formal abstraction of the expansive desert landscape. Concerned with notions of the romantic sublime, phenomenological experience, and secular spiritualism, the work continues Russell's unique investigation into the possibilities of cinema as a site for transcendence.”
-- Michael Green, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago
The work of Dani Leventhal explores the complicated space that exists between decay and renewal, intimacy and disconnection and the sacred and mundane. The six pieces that comprise Dani Leventhal Videoworks: Volume 1 each examine these ambiguous emotional and psychic spaces through a use of montage that is at once both unstructured and dispassionate and lyrically sentimental.
A woman survives a clinical death in 1988 and wakes up hearing voices in her head. Samuel, a spirit, has started to speak through her. People identify her as a medium. Samuel proclaims a mission to save the world before the year 2012. The entity's name soon changes from Samuel to EN K1, a Sumerian God who claims to be the father of the human race.
The violent overreaction to 9/11 and to the revolutions of the 1960s cannot be explained only with fear and politics. Franz Hinkelammert, a German-born liberation theologian, economist and philosopher, brings religion front and center to the discussion in a unique way. The emptiness and senselessness felt by those at the margins of a free-market utopian ideology has been filled by an extreme millenarian Christianity and other religious fundamentalisms that justify murder and torture as preemptive self-defense.
Rebecca gazes into the crystal ball. It is afternoon in a Brooklyn neighborhood of industrial buildings. Rebecca has a way with words just as words have a way of seeking her out. The crystal ball intensifies this. The A train rumbles over the Manhattan Bridge. Rebecca gazes into the crystal ball. Nighttime in a suburban neighborhood of burnt out buildings. Words have a way with Rebecca just as Rebecca has a way of seeking them out. The crystal ball intensifies this.
The Wake was filmed at the Invertebrate Zoology department of the Carnegie Natural History Museum in Pittsburgh. In this department there are old cabinets full of categorized butterfly specimens, neatly ordered in drawers. I released into this space 100 live butterflies that flew among the dead specimens. The result is as if these dead specimens have now come to life.
CB is an experimental bio-pic: its heroine, Charlotte Brontë. A collaboration between Doug Ischar and Tom Daws, CB was commissioned by the Laumeier Museum, St. Louis, for their inaugural Nightlight series.
A surreal vision of one man's endeavor to contact the spirit world and come to terms with nightmares of a mysterious death. A séance is orchestrated according to instructions written in 1920 by revered parapsychologist Hereward Carrington, voiced here by novelist Lynne Tillman. Roses, seen as light by spirits, are placed in the room but these flowers are plastic; a requisite round table is surrounded by wooden chairs that remain empty despite stern warnings to never sit alone.
"Wedding takes its name from the predominantly Turkish neighborhood in Berlin where most of the footage of the film has been recorded. During the course of six months in 2006-2007, I have recorded the wedding ceremonies of Turkish and Kurdish immigrants in Berlin, which culminated in a large video archive. From this archive I have created a three-channel video piece.. But the experiences I have gathered during the course of this project and the archive later led me to include this subject in my current PhD thesis, on cultural performances, and crowd theory."
O Night Without Objects, A Trilogy explores the relationship of conversion experiences - therapeutic, political and religious - to technology, fear and family. The segments are stylistically diverse, employing theatrical, documentary and narrative means. When viewed as a trilogy each segment informs and reinforces the common thematic concerns of the others, however, any segment may be distributed or viewed independently. This film was produced during an artists’ residency at Xerox Parc, designed to bring artists and new technology research scientists together.
By asking a group of space physicists the unanswerable, Semiconductor reveal the hidden motivations driving scientists to the outer limits of human knowledge. In an attempt to find meaning within the question, they open a Pandora's Box of limitations within science itself, revealing their own philosophical confines. Issues of faith, medicine and the laws of matter are raised to illustrate the infinitely complex universe we live in.
Animal Attraction is a documentary about the relationship between people and animals that questions the way we project our hopes and desires onto our pets, and ascribe human qualities and attributes to their gestures. The video was inspired by the plight of the filmmaker who was frustrated by the obnoxious behavior of her cat, Ernie. As a last resort, she gave in to a friend's suggestion to contact an animal communicator. This is her journey with interspecies telepathic communicator, Dawn Hayman, from Spring Farm CARES, an animal sanctuary in upstate New York.
Performance artist/sculptor Ana Mendieta used the raw materials of nature: water, mud, fire, rock, and grass. The consciousness of her politics and the poetics of her expression fill her work with an emotionally charged vision that is powerfully conveyed in this posthumous video profile. Drawing upon the raw spiritual power of Afro-Cuban religion, Mendieta used her art as a ritualistic and symbolic activity to celebrate the forces of life and the continuum of change.