Religion/Spirituality

2010
Ben Russell, Trypps #7 (Badlands)

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

 

2004
Untitled

Amidst growing discussions on the headscarf issue, the President of Turkey was holding the annual Republic Day Ball at the Presidential Palace. For the reception he sent one-person invitations to the members of the Parliament whose majority was held by the Islamic Democrats. This was his strategy to prevent their wives, who would naturally wear headscarves, from attending the night. I was outraged by this conservative secularism and wanted to express my personal protest, embodying the stress on the contemporary Islamic body. --Köken Ergun

2006
Untitled Video on Lynne Stewart and Her Conviction, The Law and Poetry

On February 10th, 2005, Lynne Stewart was convicted of providing material support for a terrorist conspiracy. She is the first lawyer to be convicted of aiding terrorism in the United States. Stewart was convicted on charges of conspiracy and providing material support to terrorists in 2005, and sentenced to 28 months in prison. Her felony conviction led to her being automatically disbarred. She was re-sentenced on July 15th, 2010, to ten years in prison in light of her perjury at trial.

1992
Voices of the Morning

A multiple award winner, this experimental tape explores the psychological ramifications of a woman growing up under orthodox Islamic law. Resisting traditional definitions of a woman’s role in society as first and foremost a dutiful daughter or wife, Nanji struggles to find a space amidst the web of restrictive familial and societal conventions.

2001
Wai'á Rini: The Power of the Dream

Within the long cycle of initiation ceremonies of the Xavante People, the Wai’a celebration introduces young men to spiritual life and puts them in contact with supernatural forces. Filmmaker Divino Tserewahu speaks with his father (one of the leaders of this ritual) about what can be disclosed of this secret celebration of men, where the initiated go through many trials and tribulations. Directed by Divino Tserewahú. In Xavante with English subtitles.

1988
Wai'a: The Secret of Men

Among the Xavante of Mato Grosso, the Wai’a is an important stage in a male initiation ritual that happens once every 15 years. Wai’a: The Secret of Men documents the ceremonies that prepare young men for contact with supernatural forces. The young people of the village directed the filming and assisted with the editing to make a record for the next generation. Directed by Virginia Valadão. In Xavante with English subtitles.

2011
Dana Levy, The Wake

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.

2006
Web of Vice

Shot with my students at the San Francisco Art Institute, this colorful drama with song and dance numbers (plus burlesque acts) follows the libidinous poisoning of Vatican personnel by an otherworldly intruder. The cast is mostly young and vibrant and the songs staged as opulently as possible on a $400 budget. Anyone interested in these collaborative productions will find a lot to gawk at in this backstage romance with pagan overtures galore.

2007
Wedding

"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."

2008
Witchery

Secret number... secret shape... knower of the secret name... God of the realm of night - I summon you, 'Son of Sin'... arise!

1995
Yãkwá - The Banquet of the Spirits

A four-part documentary, Yãkwá shows the most important ritual of the Enauênê-Nauê Indians (Brazil). For seven months every year, the spirits are venerated with offerings of food, song, and dance so that they will protect the community. In “The World Outside the Rock” the Yaõkwá festivities open with the Enauênê-Nauê preparing for the big fish-catch by making salt, canoes, and fish traps. In “Dataware’s Revenge” groups of men leave the villages for two months and build dams on forest waterways to catch fish as they return from spawning.