Ritual Dream of The Shaman (2019)
Ritual Dream of the Shaman is a six-channel video installation, using video projection mapping to allow presentation on screens and surfaces of varying scales and materials. The running time is (18min) to be played on continuous loop. The original soundtrack is a composition written and performed by Irish writer, folklorist, experimental archaeologist, and musician Billy Mag Fhloinn, who also features as the shaman. Contemporary Austrian dance artist Isabella Oberlander also features in the work, as Elen of the Thresholds, a figure which appears on the threshold or crossroads, as a harbinger of change.
Thematically the work explores ritual and its reinvention, as a means of reconnection with more ecologically balanced beliefs. Re-imagined and reinvented actions are used as a creative means of tapping into deep memory, whether genetic or cultural. Here ritualised performance becomes a means to bring meaning into the present, to reconnect with a sense of personal agency and collective purpose, at a time when individual detachment, alienation and anxiety, fuelled by disillusionment with institutionalised forms of collective action are endemic. Ritual performance is treated as a creative act, and used within the work to reimagine a sense of meaning, belonging, re-connection and route to reimaging a different way of interacting with place, being and self. This is not about alignment with a particular form of shamanic belief, rather about a realignment of values and consciousness through learning from previous traditions that had a more ecologically balanced relationship with the surrounding environment. These performative elements within the piece also explore the agency and role of the artist as shaman, and shaman as artist, within the context of contemporary neo-pagan and eco-activist movements. The piece is also informed by the theories on generative myth-making of Pierre-Yves Jacobin, Jungian ideas on the active imagination, and the feminist researchers such as Mary Condren into the socio-political construction of patriarchal theology as a system of control and enforcement.
The work was first shown in The Luan Gallery, Athlone, Ireland from June-August (2019). In addition to the video, the installation also includes found and 3D printed artefacts, related to the performances on screen.
NOTE – This video is a mockup of the installation layout, as it was presented At The Luan Gallery Athlone (July-August 2019). It is a simulation of the arrangement, and running time of the screens and channels used. The installation can be redesigned in response to the specifications of different spaces and contexts. Images of the installation as it was presented at The Luan Gallery, are available on my website at http://www.martinacleary.info/new-gallery-1