On the 13th of November, 2020, the Art Research Programme in the Department of Art at Goldsmiths University hosted an interdisciplinary and innovative symposium. The symposium featured short presentations from practicing artists, curators, theorists/theologians and graduate researchers from the Centre of Film and Screen Media, University of Essex and Goldsmiths, University of London.
Convened by Nina Danino (email@example.com)
Junior Fellows: Murat Agdas (firstname.lastname@example.org) / Elena Unger (email@example.com)
The connection between art and spiritual or religious practice is as old as humanity itself, and the relationship has often been quite paradoxical. As traditional church patronage fell away, artists either moved onto entirely new pursuits or returned to spiritual practice on new, self-defined terms. Artists from Hilma af Klimpt to Malevich to Agnes Martin have returned to the sacred not only as a subject, but in many cases as a method and form of life. The day is pleased to host the participation of the seminal US feminist performance artist Linda Montano who will talk about her return to Catholicism in her everyday practice of performance. There is a mutual convergence between art practice and the field of theology. There has also been a more serious consideration of the religious and spiritual activity of the artist. More artists are delving deeply into religion to understand what and why they create. Despite this double convergence, there has been comparatively little dialectical discussion between these fields, this conference sought to be a facilitator of such a discussion.
Jorella Andrews is a Reader in Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London. Having studied fine art, worked in media, and then trained as an art theorist, her academic work focuses on the relations between philosophical inquiry, the image-world and art practice, with a particular emphasis on phenomenology, notably the work of Maurice Merleau-Ponty. She has published two monographs on this topic, Showing Off! A philosophy of Image (2014) and The Question of Painting: Re-thinking Thought with Merleau-Ponty (2018) both published by Bloomsbury. Her current book in preparation has the working title of How to Turn around Trouble: Aesthetic Strategies for Real Change. She has also written books on Cezanne and Rembrandt for non-academic audiences, edits an ongoing series of books on visual culture published by Sternberg Press and is the book review editor for the Journal of Aesthetics and Phenomenology. In addition, Jorella advocates for art and art history in various contexts—professionally as a Trustee of the Association for Art History and also at grassroots levels though her long-term involvement in community-based and church-based arts activities.
Teresa Calonje is a PhD candidate in the Art Department at Goldsmiths, University of London, currently working on gesture and its appropriation in live art through the work of La Ribot, Tino Sehgal and Luisa Nobrega. She edited Live Forever: Collecting Live Art (2014) and recently curated a series of art interventions at Second Home, London (2016-2017).
Lucy Newman Cleeve is an independent curator and consultant with twenty years’ experience across the visual arts and cultural sector, working with organisations such as: Tate Britain, British Council, Creative & Cultural Skills, an—The Artist’s Information Company, Arts Council England and DCMS. She was the founding director of Man&Eve Gallery (2006-14), where she represented a portfolio of emerging and established artists through a changing exhibition programme, publications, commissions and participation in international art fairs across Europe, Asia and North America. In recent years, her work has become more exclusively focused around her curatorial and research practice: she has a Theology Degree from Cambridge University and a Masters Degree from the Royal College of Art and is interested in work that combines and references both of these disciplines. She is currently engaged as Curatorial Consultant to The Faith Museum at The Auckland Project, and is undertaking doctoral research at King’s College, London where she is exploring contemporary art as public theology.
Nina Danino is a filmmaker, artist and writer since the 1980s. She has made experimental films and the feature film Temenos (1997) with vocalist Sainkho Namtchylak. Since 2010 she has also made installations including Communion(2010) and the multi media work Sorelle Povere di Santa Chiara (2015-2018). She made the feature documentary Jennifer (2015) in the Carmelite monastery in Ronda, Spain. Her films have been shown worldwide including in film festivals, cinemas and museums. They are distributed by LUX and are in the British Film Institute National Archive. She is co-editor of the Undercut Reader (2002). Her most recent film I Die of Sadness Crying For You (2019) was premiered at the London Film Festival and Seville European Film Festival (2019) followed by a contextual event on voice and performance with BIMI/LUX and Cervantes Institute. She has convened the CHASE Religion and Art initiative, Goldsmiths, University. She is Reader in Fine Art, Goldsmiths, University of London. She lives and works in London. See ninadanino.com (portrait courtesy of Rafael Perez-Evans).
Mark Dean has regularly exhibited his video and sound works nationally and internationally since the 1990’s, with work represented in museum collections in the UK and abroad. In 2010 Dean was ordained in the Church of England, and since this time has tried to understand and live out a vocation as artist and priest; recent projects have explored the performative potential of video and sound work, particularly in liturgical and choreographic contexts. https://tailbiter.com
Maurane Gadeau Known as Mrs.Blues, is a 21 year old French and Ivorian student currently in the BA Fine Art course at Goldsmiths University. Her spontaneity and ambition have always influenced her art practice often characterised as intuitive and eclectic through her use of found objects and fabrics, mediums like clay or latex but also painting, performance and film along with an important interest in music. https://www.instagram.com/_mrsblues/?hl=en
John Harvey is a practitioner and historian of sound art and visual art. He is Professor at the School of Art, Aberystwyth University. His research field is the visual and sonic culture of religion. In art history, his studies engage the visual imagery of popular piety, supernaturalist traditions, and working-class culture. He has written a number of books including The Bible as Visual Culture (2013); Photography & Spirit (2007); The Appearance of Evil: Apparitions of Spirits in Wales (2003); Image of the Invisible: The Visualization of Religion in the Welsh Nonconformist Tradition (1999); and The Art of Piety: The Visual Culture of Welsh Nonconformity (1995). In art practice, his work explores visual, textual, and aural sources of Protestant Christianity, theological and cultural ideas and systemic processes. The work is discussed in The Aural Bible series of CD releases (2015, 2016, 2019), and The Pictorial Bible series of exhibitions (2001, 2007, 2015).
Linda Mary Montano is a seminal figure in contemporary feminist performance art and her work since the mid 1960s has been critical in the development of video by, for, and about women. Attempting to dissolve the boundaries between art and life, Montano continues to actively explore her art/life through shared experience, role adoption, and intricate life altering ceremonies, some of which last for seven or more years. Her artwork is starkly autobiographical and often concerned with personal and spiritual transformation. Montano’s influence is wide ranging – she has been featured at museums including The New Museum in New York, MOCA San Francisco and the ICA in London.
Adam Neikirk is a PhD Candidate in Creative Writing at the University of Essex, Colchester campus. His creative dissertation focuses on the intersection of traditional poetic forms, modernity/post-modernity and the idea of history through an exploration in verse of the life and thought of poet and philosopher Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834). Adam’s previously published work includes a book of poems, Songs for the Dead (Des Hymnagistes Press, 2016), as well as work published in the Coleridge Bulletin and the journal Teaching Philosophy. Before he started his PhD programme he was a lecturer in Philosophy at Westfield State University in Massachusetts.
Kate Pickering is a London based artist, writer and AHRC/ CHASE funded PhD researcher in the Departments of Art and Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths. She investigates the entanglement of body, belief and site through research into American megachurch Evangelicalism. Through experimental writing, performance and installation she aims to recreate the experience of being both oriented and disoriented by the Evangelical narrative through focusing on the specific site of Lakewood, north America’s largest evangelical megachurch. Pickering has exhibited widely and her writing has been published in Soanyway magazine, Dual Mirage, Misery Connoisseur, Yellow Pages (Copy Press), EROS journal and the online journal KNESH Space. Recent conference presentations include ‘Imagining the Apocalypse’ at the Courtauld Institute of Art, ‘Corroding the Now: Poetry and Science Fiction’ at Birkbeck University and ‘Post-Truth & American Myths’ at the University of Essex. Forthcoming is an article titled ‘Expanding Religious Crowds: Containment and Openness in the American Megachurch’ for Coils of the Serpent Journal (December 2020) and a book chapter for Imagining the Apocalypse (Courtauld Books Online, 2021). See kate-pickering.com andinstagram.com/writing_a_body_of_belief.
Chloë Reddaway works in visual theology and Christian art, focusing on the potential of historic works of art for contemporary theology. She is based at King’s College London (Centre for Arts and the Sacred at King’s) and Duke Divinity School (Duke Initiatives in Theology and the Arts). With a background in the arts sector, she has held posts at KCL, the University of Cambridge (Divinity Faculty) and the National Gallery, London (Howard and Roberta Ahmanson Fellow and Curator in Art and Religion, 2014 -17). She teaches for KCL, Westcott House, Westminster College and Sarum College. Her publications include Transformations in Persons and Paint: Visual Theology, Historical Images and the Modern Viewer (2016) and Strangeness and Recognition: Mystery and Familiarity in Renaissance Images of Christ (2019), both shortlisted for the A+C/Mercers’ award. She is co-editor of Visualising a Sacred City: London, Art and Religion (I.B. Tauris, 2017), has contributed to various edited volumes. She is the founding co-editor of the Brepols ‘Arts and the Sacred’ series and a member of the Art + Christianity Editorial Board. Her public engagement work includes films for the National Gallery (The Audacity of Christian Art). Chloë is currently working on ideas of New Creation in images of the Visitation and the visual theology of Thomas Denny’s ecclesiastical stained glass.
Sophie Sleigh-Johnson is a writer, artist, and musician. She is the author of Chthonic Index (in collaboration with Timothy Morton and Simon Martin) published in 2015. She is currently working on a PhD at Goldsmiths. Recent projects include Cealdwiellla with New Noveta, and she appeared in the group show Machine of Instant Utility at Cabinet Gallery. She occasionally broadcasts Chthonic Live on Resonance 104.4 FMand she lives in Southend-On-Sea, Essex. See sophiesleigh-johnson.co.uk.
Elena Unger is a graduate student in Philosophical Theology at the University of Cambridge, as well as an alumnus of Fine Art at Goldsmiths, University of London. Elena is CHASE Junior Research Fellow for the Religion and Art Practice Symposium. Elena’s academic work and art practice are inextricably bound. As an artist she combines painting, sculpture, performance, sound, film, and installation to produce immersive, extra-liturgical installations. Her last exhibition, Invisible Church involved the re-consecration of a deconsecrated church turned art studio. Elena is also an artist in residence at Saint Bartholomew the Great in London. In her theological work, Elena is concerned with poesis, kenosis, apophatic theology, and the theology of negative space. The title of Elena’s thesis is “In Anticipation of Nothing: Doxological Spatialization in Nicholas of Cusa’s De Docta Ignorantia”.
SCHEDULE (& ABSTRACTS)
10:15 Zoom Opens
10:30/10:40 Housekeeping and Technical Introduction
10:40/10:45 Welcome and Introduction by Nina Danino
10:45/11:10 Nina Danino, ‘Stabat Mater (1990), 16mm — Catholic Iconographies and Experimental Film’
In 1990 I added a saeta – a Spanish prayer of lament sung by my mother to a short film which is fast edited and densely packed with literary and poetic writings from Joyce, Cixous, filming in Gibraltar and personal references. I will talk about this film Stabat Mater in the context of experimental film and the London Filmmakers’ Co-op where it was first shown. The film initiated a religious ‘semiotics’ in experimental film which proliferates from a matrix of intertextual connections, many of these associations appear and disappear quickly and cannot be grasped or held on to. Since then, a part of my practice has drawn on Catholic sources.
11:10/11:35 Chloë Reddaway, ‘Jacopo’s Bassano’s Veronica: Revelations and Reflections of an Artist-witness’
Starting from an interest in the ‘recovery’ of historical images for contemporary theology and faith, this paper considers the potential of fabric as a revelatory medium in Christian art and explores the role of St Veronica and her veil in revealing Christ. It focuses on Jacopo Bassano’s painting of Christ on the Way to Calvary (c.1544-5, National Gallery, London), looking in detail at the presentation of the saint and the ‘blank canvas’ of her veil and noting ways in which Veronica herself reflects Christ in this painting, participating in an act of artistic-witness and allowing herself to be transformed by it.
11:35/12:00 Adam Neikirk, ‘How does Coleridgean theology inform the poetry of his life?’
My dissertation is a creative work which purports to tell (or retell) the life of the poet and religious thinker Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) through poetry. The main thesis which informs my work is that we can say things about human life and human values (including religious values) through poetry that are not possible to articulate through traditional prose biographies. One of the things that Coleridge himself theorised about poetry was that its aim was to show “the translucence of the general in the especial” (this was also his theory of the symbol). One of the challenges for me in writing this work is to ask what weight his Trinitarian and dynamic sense of the universe ought to be given, say, in explanations of the events of his childhood, or in young adulthood.
12:00/12:25 Sophie Sleigh-Johnson, ‘Time Cure‘
A scream opens the mouth of prophecy: the Fifth Monarchist Anna Trapnell’s throat is a chimney through which the weird current flows. How might this prophecy be a different kind of time travel, to counteract a contemporary ontology of prediction? Time Cure, as an archaeology of invocation, a lost radio transmission, a Gnostic performance lecture, enlists the words of Jacobean prophetess Anna Trapnell and her 1654 trance-text and proclamation The Cry of a Stone, which uses ‘entrails of scripture’ as squidgy heat amid the pewter armour of her fortune flesh. These are voices from the earth that also rises from prophetic cuneiform clay tablets as a collision of offal, inscription and a hole in time. Blurred photocopies, burnings, mud, garbed voices are all a necessary, smoky thickness.
12:25: 13:30 Lunch + Screening Sermon / Nick Gordon-Smith, The Separation / John Woodman, Nocturn / Nina Danino, Metanoia / Mark Dean, Invisible Church / Elena Unger, The Spiritual Lives of Linda Montano / Linda Montano. Programme Notes are at end of the page.
13:30/13:55 Elena Unger, ‘From the Space of Nothing: Poesis as Participation in the Tzimtzum and Christ’s Kenosis’
The question of how the infinite may be revealed or “unfolded” in a contracted, finite space, while still remaining intact in its infinity has usually been understood as a metaphysical question about creation itself. As I will aim to show, it can also be understood as a question about the metaphysical potential of art. These two seemingly separate concerns become intimately connected when viewed through the lens of participatory metaphysics. I will argue That that analogical spaces – specifically artworks – can be spaces wherein the infinite is ‘unfolded’ in the finite realm through the participation of the artwork, as a “spatialized” form, in the original “space” of God’s contraction in creation. Further, I will explore through both Christian and Jewish apophatic sources, how human poesis may be shown to be a form of participation in God’s poiesis through the kenotic, internal movement of the artist as they produce an iconic object through poetic or artistic revelation.
13:55/14:20 John Harvey, ‘Noisome Spirits: An Audition of Apparitions’
The presentation addresses Edmund Jones’ (1702–93) collection of spirit narratives, published as A Relation of Apparitions of Spirits in the Principality of Wales (1780) and an earlier, now lost volume on the same subject. His books represent the first- and second-hand testimonies of many witnesses to supernatural encounters in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Wales. The accounts evoke a spiritually dark landscape in which the malevolent dead and damned wandered. They present a fascinating insight into how the eighteenth-century not only visualised but also auditioned the spirit world. It is with this latter aspect of Jones’ narrative that I will be chiefly concerned. The paper outlines the peculiarities of the spirits’ sonorous manifestations, the auditors’ response to such, and the relationship of the sounds to the landscape in which they were heard. Many of the auditory attributes of spirit noises were adapted from the natural world and everyday experience. The supernatural signification of such was summoned by the fearful context of the phenomena, the often strange and frightening visual accompaniment, and the unnerving modulations, exaggerations, and deformations of the auditory source. The performance element seeks to make the witnesses’ experience sensible, by presencing the sounds and— following Jones’ own determination—provide a ‘vivid account’ of apparitions. The objective is neither to reconstruct nor create a simulacrum of the original sounds but rather to imaginatively summon the sense of the dread and otherness experienced by the witnesses, abstractly.
14:20/ 14:45 Jorella Andrews, ‘Circling squares: Phenomenology, change-making, and the idea of the creation as theophany’
“… what may be known about God is plain to them… For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities — his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” (Romans, 1: 19)
The theological idea underlying this presentation is an understanding of the creation as theophany (a manifestation of God mediated by sensible matter). Crucially, as insisted upon in the biblical book of Romans, this remains the case in even the most deprived, degraded and hopeless of situations in which the Godly or sacred are notable by their apparent absence. I argue that if change for the better is to occur within such sites of trouble, a revolution must first occur at the level of perception and thought. This is where phenomenology comes in. As a perceptually-grounded philosophical practice, phenomenology transforms vision and thought by requiring our engagement in decolonising processes of epoché (the ‘bracketing’ of biases and assumptions and the suspension of judgement) which can make us receptive to the self-showing of specifically situated life-giving realities (indeed, theophanies) previously unavailable to us. With care, these may become the fragile-yet-robust foundations for radically hopeful futures. My presentation will draw on theoretical ideas and on early-stage empirical research about the potential social impact of a series of small-scale labyrinth-building projects in sites of urban neglect.
14:45/15:10 Teresa Calonje, ‘The impersonal and the sacred: Simone Weil, de-creation and art’
The secularisation of art occurred at the time art appeared as a distinct autonomous thing. God was exiled to the margins of private life at that moment when the figure of the artist made a room of its own out of a collective anonymity and art acquired its status as a defined work of art. Starting from this modern conception of art, the question here is whether an artwork linked to its artist can be sacred at all – sacred understood as a making space for a “tête-à-tête” of God with its creation. Through a reading of Simone Weil’s spiritual notions of de-creation, attention and the impersonal, this presentation will seek to put art at risk, as it considers whether for art to be a spiritual potentiality, it must always and only be a “waiting”, a tireless waiting without end from the “dark night” and into silence.
15:10/15:30 Coffee Break + Performance
Maurane Gadeau, (Mrs. Blues) a live performance of a song called L’oseille de l’amour (2019) 5 mins
“Since the sky opened up to me I understood Love is the only purpose. I researched and interviewed diversified people then I wrote a song called L’oseille de l’amour (Sorrel of Love) to express this overwhelming feeling with fun and simplicity.” Known for its medicinal and edible virtues, the sorrel is a sour plant also used in the French slang to suggest money. It is with urgency that Mrs.Blues translated this idea of “abundant money” to the abundance of love and so invite the audience to participate in a moment just full of love!
15:30/15:55 Kate Pickering, There Is a Miracle in Your Mouth
I will present a brief overview of my current research and experimental writing, in which I examine the embodied experience of the congregant within the spectacular site of the Evangelical megachurch (defined as 2,000+ congregants in weekly attendance). Evangelicalism is a world-wide, rapidly spreading movement with megachurch congregation size reaching to the tens and hundreds of thousands globally. My writing practice draws on the specific site of North America’s largest megachurch, Lakewood in Houston, Texas, which has a weekly attendance of up to 52,000 congregants. I combine several threads: the mythic history of Lakewood and the Osteen family within the context of Houstonian/ Texan history; an account of a tropical cyclone bearing down on the site, based on research into Hurricane Harvey; and lastly the megachurch site as a building-body that gradually develops self-awareness. The site eventually floods and is submerged, the water bringing with it a transformation of the site and a reorientation toward ‘gaia’.
15:55/16:20 Lucy Newman Cleeve, ‘Visual Theology and Curation’
My presentation explores various modalities of ‘visual theology’ in an attempt to draw out a critical framework for reflecting on these practices. I also discuss changing attitudes to religion within the art world (specifically art academia) with reference to my own experiences of making and curating work at this intersection.
16:20/16:45 Mark Dean, ‘Pastiche Icons’
Mark Dean will talk about his work with reference to questions of appropriation and Christianity, isolation and collaboration.
16:45/17:05 Coffee Break + Screening
Linda Mary Montano, Linda Mary Montano Celebrates Mother Teresa’s Birthday (2010) 15 mins
“The Mother Teresa doppelganger performance was born as a result of my chronic illness called Cervical Dystonia. It makes me tremor, scrunch up, spasm and twist with pain. One day I was doing all of that and my inner voice said, “I feel just like Mother Teresa!!!” So of course, having designed the MY ART IS MY LIFE manifesto back in 1969, I became her, as art, every chance I had. For her 100th birthday I performed as her in protest at the Empire State Building because they would not turn on the lights to blue and white to honor Mother Teresa but they did turn the lights on for Sponge Bob. Yellow of course. During the performance, Catholic and non-Catholic visitors/protesters came to me for “blessings” and the ecstasy of incorporating her holiness into ME and sharing that faux-holiness with the Catholics at the ESB was both overwhelming and radically questioning of the theological politics of the church which does not allow for women priests let alone performance art recreations of Saints! I am left wanting to be her in secret, everyday, in the performance of everyday non-art.” — L.M.
17:05/17:30 Linda Mary Montano, ‘Performance/Religion/Fun’ – an interactive performance.
Downloadable PDF – A PERFORMANCE ART SAINT OF LIFE AND ART CERTIFICATE
SCHEDULE (AT A GLANCE)
10:15 – Zoom Opens
10:30 – 10:40: Housekeeping and Technical Introduction
10:40 – 10:45: Welcome and Introduction by Nina Danino
10:45 – 11:10: Nina Danino, ‘Stabat Mater (1990) – Catholic Iconographies in Experimental Film, Including Q&A
11:10 – 11: 35: Chloë Reddaway, ‘Jacopo’s Bassano’s Veronica: Revelations and Reflections of an Artist-witness’, Including Q&A
11:35 – 12:00 : Adam Neikirk, ‘How Does Coleridgean Theology Inform the Poetry of His Life?’, Including Q&A
12:00 – 12:25: Sophie Sleigh-Johnson, ‘Time Cure‘, Including Q&A
12:25 – 13:30: Lunch + Screening, Including a screening of Linda Montano‘s video Seven Lives of Linda Montano (1996) 13 mins
13:30 – 13:55: Elena Unger, ‘From the Space of Nothing: Poesis as Participation in the Tzimtzum and Christ’s Kenosis’, Including Q&A
13:55 – 14:20: John Harvey, ‘Noisome Spirits: An Audition of Apparitions’, Including Q&A
14:20 – 14:45: Jorella Andrews, ‘Circling squares: Phenomenology, Change, and the Idea of the Creation as Theophany’, Inluding Q&A
14:45 – 15:10: Teresa Calonje, ‘The Impersonal and the Sacred: Simone Weil, De-Creation and Art’, Including Q&A
15:10 – 15:30: Coffee Break + Performance, Maurane Gadeau, a live performance of a song L’oseille de l’amour (2019) 5 mins
15:30 – 15:55: Kate Pickering, ‘There is a Miracle in Your Mouth’, Including Q&A
15:55 – 16:20: Lucy Newman Cleeve, ‘Visual Theology and Curation’, Incuding Q&A
16:20 – 16:45: Mark Dean, ‘Pastiche Icons’, Including Q&A
16:45 – 17:05: Coffee Break + Screening, Linda Montano Celebrates Mother Teresa’s Birthday (2010) 15 mins
17:05 – 17:30: Linda Mary Montano, ‘Performance/Religion/Fun’- an interactive performance, Including Q&A
18:00 – Onwards: Zoom Social
Sermon (1987) 8 mins, 16mm, Nick Gordon Smith
Within the image (saturated in colour) and the sound (sampled and contorted), beauty and revulsion, hope and despair still linger. A confusion of memory and observation. A confusion of meanings in symbols and narrative. A confusion of order in disorder. ‘There is special providence in the fall of a sparrow, if it be now, ’tis not to come, if it be not to come, it will be now, if it be not now, yet it will come, the readiness is all.’ – N.G.S.
The Separation (2016) 6 mins, John Woodman
The Separation is a reflection on light, duration and visual transformation. Filmed in one continuous take at a constant aperture, moonlight on the sea surface is intermittently revealed and obscured by clouds, presenting a reflexive and phenomenological viewing experience.
The title refers metaphorically to Genesis and the film could also be comprehended as a visual analogue to the cinematic apparatus itself, with consideration of the ways in which light separation occurs in both the perceptual and physical processes of representation. This film is silent – John Woodman
Nocturn (2020) 5 mins, Nina Danino
Translation of the Spanish text: ‘Oh, you who pass this way, look and see, is there any sorrow like the sorrow that afflicts me. Stop all you and see my sorrow. If there is any sorrow like mine.‘ Lamentations 1.12 Responsory V (Nocturn II Holy Saturday). From the sleeve notes of my LP Tomás Luis de Victoria, Officium Hebdomadae Sanctae (1585) – Nina Danino
Please listen on headphones and play loud
Metanoia (2018) 7 mins, Mark Dean
© acknowledgements: The Avengers: The House That Jack Built, tx 5/3/66, Word On A Wing (David Bowie), Heroes (David Bowie)
Metanoia is one of two distinct terms in the New Testament that are both translated into English as ‘repentance’: in the original Greek, metamelomai suggests sorrowful regret, whilst metanoia implies the action of a change of mind leading to a change of life. In classical Greek culture, metanoia referred to a rhetorical device, but was also personified as an avenging figure – either a young girl or a crone – who accompanies Kairos, the god of opportune time, as ‘the goddess who exacts punishment for what has and has not been done – Mark Dean
David Bowie’s Word on a Wing was written at the height of his cocaine addiction, whilst filming The Man Who Fell To Earth: “There were days of such psychological terror when making the Roeg film that I nearly started to approach my reborn, born again thing. It was the first time I’d really seriously thought about Christ and God in any depth, and ‘Word on a Wing’ was a protection. It did come as a complete revolt against elements that I found in the film. The passion in the song was genuine… something I needed to produce from within myself to safeguard myself against some of the situations I felt were happening on the film set.”
Invisible Church (2019) 13 mins, video, Elena Unger
Invisible Church was made to link two churches, as well as two exhibitions spaced one year apart. The first exhibition, entitled: FRAGMENT, took place in the ancient priory church of St. Bartholomew the Great. The second took place in the (now deconsecrated) church of St. James Hatcham and was entitled: Invisible Church. The film was presented in its eponymous exhibition and is a recorded trace of St. Bart’s visionary past and present. Most of the sound, including all of the choral music was recorded live and has not been separated from its source footage – Elena Unger
The Spiritual Lives of Linda Montano (1996) 13 mins, Linda Montano
This tape addresses spiritual closure. Video gave me a chance to examine, see, and celebrate the seven spiritual venues, paths, and journeys that I have made: 1) Catholic life, 2) nun’s life, 3) yoga life, 4) Buddhist life, 5) feminist life, 6) natural life, 7) life. Publicly, I am admitting that I am a spiritual materialist—been there, done that—but I am also saying that all of my spiritual experiences have worked together to prepare me for even deeper journeys combining all of the sacred technologies I have learned so that I can re-invent my own way. Using a fairytale format lightens the task of looking at my past. —Linda Montano
Image Credits (from top to bottom of Schedule and Abstracts)
Nina Danino, Stabat Mater (1990) 16mm film still / Linda Mary Montano (©), EFA Project Space / Nina Danino, Stabat Mater (1990) 16mm film still / Hans Memling, Saint Veronica (Right Wing), c.1470-75, Courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington / S. T. Coleridge—detail of an oil painting by Washington Allston, 1814; National Portrait Gallery, London (Wikipedia) / Sophie Sleigh-Johnson, Time Cure: The Cry of Well, performance still / Linda Mary Montano, still from artist video ‘Learning to Talk’ (1976-1978), Bomb Magazine / John Harvey, There was Such a Noise as if All About was Going to Pieces, (2020) 3 mins, sound performance documentation / Jorella Andrews, Circling squares: Phenomenology, change-making, and the idea of the creation as theophany (2020), composite image / Giotto di Bondone, The Lamentation of Christ (Detail)c1290s, San Francesco, Assisi / Mark Dean, Pastiche Icon (2019), infinite loop, three-channel video, still / Linda Mary Montano, Linda Montano Celebrates Mother Teresa’s Birthday (2010) 15 mins, video still.
Religion and Art is funded by Consortium for the Humanities and the Arts South-East England (CHASE)