Sacred Performativity (Research notes)

Standing Baba, Pushkar, Rajastahn, 2014.

Church of God, Jakrem, Megalaya, India. Constructed in 2011. Made out of tin and pillars of wood. 10.11.18

Performance exercise. Working with the local the church band, Stand Strongly and producing a small music video in where they sing a local Khasi song in front of their church. 21.11.2018

The exercise with the local church band is an example on how I would like to collaborate with spiritual communities, beings and environments. I see a collaboration as a method joining my research and with an art production, using the data from the process of common-creations. Here I see great potentials to do collaborative video- and performance works from already existing desires, in this regard, desires connection spiritual behaviour with popular culture and youth. This collaboration has great performative value, and can bring sharp notice and awareness, in this case, on the complexity and mobility of new waves of spirituality, youth, symbols and materiality.  

Workshop: "Becoming Animal" 24.11.18. 

Taking a point of departure in the local mythical Khasi story of the villages who become connected with the local Rohan (tiger) I created a two-day land-art workshop on the relation between the human and the animal, which resulted in a huge human figure with animal head, made out of stones, red sand and leaves. The local mythical story was about the sacred bound between the Rahon and the villages, in where the Rahon protected the villages during the long walks to the city and after years the villages turned into Rahons. The workshop was initiated with the Christian communities of the Jakrem villages and facilitated with discussion on the  sacred bounds between human and animals with references to simplified Deleuzian thoughts on becoming animal as well as western references in where this sacred bound has for long been forgotten and disrupted. 
 

Sketch 2. Pooja with Samsung Galaxy. 

Pooja ceremony with the new waterproof Samsung Galaxy. 

Posted on Facebook, 2016

LINK TO VIDEO:

https://www.facebook.com/bhavesh.shukl.5/videos/1810678692523935/UzpfSTE1OTgwMzMyNzc6MTAyMDc1MDM4NzAwMjcwNTQ/

I found this video postet on Facebook by my Indian friend, Bhavesh, who is a hindu priest in Mumbai. It is meant as a sketch of a work called Pooja with Samsung Galaxy, which is an example of sacred mobility, and a performance investigating the relation between the sacred and the modern. To me, this video is a great example how spiritual behaviour can re-work, spiritualise, tame or maybe even employ new technology through performative acts and happenings. This video serves as an example both on my research, but also as an inspiration of how performance art productions and exchange can be elaborated. The video is recorded in low quality by a smartphone, but yet it serves to illustrate how this performance could be made into a strong art work. 

Sketch: Standing Baba in Mall.

Live-streaming of standing baba in mall in England

 

My idea with the Standing Baba in a mall is to make intervention and exchange between two radical spiritual behaviours in relation to ownership, consumerism, materiality and mobility. The standing baba is live-streamed from his village/city into a media-board in a shopping mall in the city, possible in Copenhagen, Denmark or Mumbai. Ever since I met a standing baba in Pushkar  in 14.01.15 I have been fascinated about the radical spiritual movements still happening in India. Furthermore I have been surprised how almost no information was accessible from western sources regarding this subject. The writings and videos I found were very shortsighted, superficial and of low intellectual, aesthetic and performative value. One could ask why this radical behaviours, like the standing babas, are interesting in this context? I would say that they give knowledge on how spiritual behaviours can be extremely simple and complex at the same time, which makes them very powerful, but also, I see it open up to new reflections on the modern mentality and desire of always being on the move, and what Mimi Sheller calls the cosmopolitan taste.