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

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…

Kieran Hurley – Mouthpiece

Things have changed since Kieran Hurley first began writing the play that would become Mouthpiece, which opens at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh this weekend. At the time, Hurley was, in his own words, “quite new on the scene.” As a writer and performer, he had already scored hits with Beats and Chalk Farm, two pieces that put him on the map with a new generation of theatre-makers steeped in an equally new wave of grassroots opposition that drew from the iconography of revolutions past. Where Beats looked at the politicisation of 1990s club culture, Chalk Farm, co-written with AJ Taudevin, focused on a teenage boy caught up in the 2011 London riots.
More plays followed. Some, like Heads Up used the same solo story-telling aesthetic to look at an everyday apocalypse. More recently, Square Go, written with Gary McNair, dissected toxic masculinity through a school playground fight.
All the while as Hurley developed as a writer, from new kid on the block to established provocateur, this…

Rob Drummond – The Mack

Rob Drummond was at home in England when he looked at the news feed on his phone, and saw a post about the fire at Glasgow School of Art. It was June 2018, and the writer and performer behind such hits as Grain in the Blood, Bullet Catch and Our Fathers initially presumed the post was to mark the fourth anniversary of the 2014 blaze in GSA’s Mackintosh Building, which was undergoing a major restoration after much of it was destroyed.
As it turned out, the news was far worse, as reports of a second fire were beamed across the world. As someone who had taken Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s iconic construction for granted while living in Glasgow, Drummond was as stunned as anyone else with even a passing relationship with the Mack.
While emotions continue to run high in response to the disaster, Drummond channelled his thoughts on all this into what he does best. The result is The Mack, a new play that forms part of Oran Mor’s A Play, A Pie and a Pint lunchtime theatre season in Glasgow prior …