In 1991 Montano met a Hindu couple at Ananda Ashram, the meditation center she attends in upstate New York. Since then, the three have become friends. Mr. and Mrs. Mehta are Ayruvedic doctors; both physically resemble another Indian couple—saints Sharada and Ramakrishna, who lived in Calcutta in the 1800s—and are both known for their incredible devotion to the mystical life. Montano made this postmodern documentary to honor the Mehtas, to present an idealized model for a spiritual relationship and to hold out the possibility for spiritual ecstasy in everyday life.
Songs of Praise for the Heart Beyond Cure is a fourteen-minute experimental video that unfolds through a series of short episodes. "To describe Cooper Battersby and Emily Vey Duke's new video as ironic doesn't do it justice.
Prophecies of doom, disaster and political catastrophe envisioned by some of the world’s most famous psychics between the 1960’s and the year 2001 are conjured up through 3D-animation, industrial films, text and historical footage -- the sum of which combine to form a visually stunning meditation on the forces that are driving us into a dark, paranoid and uncertain future. Soothsayer reconsiders yesterday’s daunting and sometimes whimsical predictions for the future after they’ve been outpaced by time.
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.
A documentation of a performance/installation. Guillermo Gómez-Peña and Roberto Sifuentes created a fictional religion based on inter-cultural confessions. Exhibiting themselves in Plexiglas boxes as "end-of-the-century saints", the two performers hear the confessions of audience members willing to reveal their intercultural fears and desires to the saints.
A collage piece. Oppositions of agony and ecstasy are explored. Morticia trims yet another rose stem, while Bugs Bunny takes up Zen. Guilt-wracked, a nun tries furtively to cleans herself of imagined sin. Or attain spiritual release. Various divas flail to no avail. Lips, lipstick, frozen lips. Shakuhachi music by Chris Moran sets the mood, when there isn’t a thunderstorm raging.
Time Bomb tells the story of a young girl's experience at a Baptist retreat, where she is called upon to accept Jesus into her life after a coercive game of terror. This piece explores memory, the power of crowds, rituals of conversion, and the isolation of a child lost in the world of adults. Fear and family values motivate action and create an empty arena for escape. Visually, Time Bomb proceeds through a sequence of images that figure the "light" of memory as simultaneously revelatory and obscuring, constructive and destructive.
Paul Chan's Tin Drum Trilogy includes the highly acclaimed single channel videos RE:_THE OPERATION (2002, 27:30, U.S., color, sound), BAGHDAD IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER (2003, 51:00, U.S., color, sound), and Now promise now threat (2005, 33:00, U.S., color, sound).
In addition, this new DVD box set includes audio commentary by Paul Chan and VDB Director Abina Manning. An accompanying monograph includes title descriptions, artist's biography and newly commissioned contextualizing essays by Dierdre Boyle and Yates Mckee.
“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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.