Skip to main content

Ritualised Frequencies

Church of the Sacred Heart, Edinburgh
Saturday July 21st 2012
Madonna may have been getting sacred and profane with what was by all 
accounts a limp Like A Prayer routine over at Murrayfield, but it took 
Saturday night in a Jesuit chapel hall to really come together. The 
occasion was 16mm film divas Screen Banditas latest cross-art 
'adventure in real film', as they put it for this exposition of rituals 
both ancient and modern by way of live soundtracks to crucial 
ethnographic anthropological archive footage.

Artist Ariadne Xenou sets a striking tone with a brief introduction 
that puts the stress on ritual as a liminal experience, in which social 
orders and conventions are upended, but most people are sitting on the 
floor by this time anyway, only standing during the interval to form an 
orderly queue to witness Xenou's striking installation in a tiny 
ante-room.

Before that, the depiction of native New Zealanders in 'Maori Days' is 
underscored by a duo of the The One Ensemble/Volcano the Bear auteur 
Daniel Padden and Howie Reeve of Tattie Toes. As on-screen rubbing 
noses moves into twitching, gyrating rites, the duo's shuffly, 
twang-laden rhythms emulate and echo the hand-clapping abandonment 
captured on camera.

Xenou's vintage back-lit photographs provide a rare moment of 
stillness, tucked away as they are in the ante-room's shrine-like 
cocoon, where death, transfiguration and any other altered state 
required can take a well-earned breather.

For Maya Deren's 'Divine Horsemen: the Living Gods of Haiti', filmed 
between 1947 and 1954, and not pieced together until after Deren's 
death by her third husband Teiji Ito in the early 1980s, former 
Whitehouse provocateur William Bennett in his Cut Hands guise offers a 
more martial, full-on clatter. Deren's insider-take on voodoo, slo-mo 
animal sacrifices and the dervish-like palpitations of those on-screen 
may have been filmed in Haiti, but, led by Bennett's increasingly 
frenetic electronic pounding, it all starts to resemble congregations a 
little closer to home.

Part 'Live and Let Die', part rave generation wig-out in the woods, 
part Lothian Road at chucking out time, if such sounds and visions were 
beamed before a pop-eyed club-land crowd in search of salvation in a 
late-night, lights-down context,  the trip would be even more 
intoxicating.

The List, July 2012

ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Peter Brook – The Prisoner

Peter Brook is no stranger to Scotland, ever since the guru of European and world theatre first brought his nine-hour epic, The Mahabharata, to Glasgow in 1988. That was at the city’s old transport museum, which by 1990 had become Tramway, the still-functioning permanent venue that opened up Glasgow and Scotland as a major channel for international theatre in a way that had previously only been on offer at Edinburgh International Festival.
Brook and his Paris-based Theatre des Bouffes du Nord company’s relationship with Tramway saw him bring his productions of La Tragedie de Carmen, La Tempete, Pellease et Mellisande, The Man Who…, and Oh Les Beaux Jours – the French version of Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days – to Glasgow.
Thirty years on from The Mahabharata, Brook comes to EIF with another piece of pan-global theatre as part of a residency by Theatre des Bouffes du Nord, which Brook has led since he decamped to Paris from London in the early 1970s. The current Edinburgh residency has alr…

Suzy Glass – Message from the Skies

Freedom of movement matters to Suzy Glass, the arts and events producer currently overseeing the second edition of Message from the Skies.This animated literary derive around the city forms part of this year’s Edinburgh’s Hogmanay programme, and runs right through till Burns’ Night. Glass’ concerns are inherent in the event itself, which has commissioned six writers from different disciplines and experiences to each pen a love letter to Europe. Each writer has then paired up with a composer and visual artist or film-maker, with the results of each collaboration projected in monumental fashion on the walls of one of half a dozen of the capital’s most iconic buildings.
With venues stretching from the south side of Edinburgh to Leith, and with one city centre stop requiring a walk up Calton Hill, there is considerable legwork required to complete the circuit. It shouldn’t be considered a race, however, and audiences are free to move between venues at their leisure, visiting each site on d…

Romeo And Juliet - Shakespeare's Globe Comes to Glasgow

Open-air Shakepeares are a summer-time perennial of the theatre calendar, attracting picnicking audiences as much as midges. More often than not, such romps through the grass are frothy, heritage industry affairs designed to be accompanied by strawberries and cream and not to be taken too seriously. Shakespeare’s Globe theatre company look set to change such perceptions when they open their outdoor tour of Romeo And Juliet in Glasgow next week as part of the West End festival.

For the two young actors taking the title roles of the doomed lovers, it will also be something of a homecoming. Richard Madden and Ellie Piercy both studied in Glasgow prior to turning professional. Indeed, Madden has yet to graduate from the acting course at RSAMD, and, as well as facing the pressures of playing such a meaty role in close proximity to the audience, will have the added anxiety of being assessed and graded by his tutors.

“This is the end of my third year,” says Madden following a Saturday mornin…