Tales of the Unknown
Religions are networks that connect people across extreme temporal and spatial distance through a complex system of tradition, text, architecture, ritual, music and image. Whereas the Christian church was almost the only sponsor of art in Europe for centuries, contemporary art that is concerned with religion is a near rarity. The setting of the first contribution to the film program is reminiscent of a floor-to-ceiling mural, but the individuals depicted are not coming from a sacral tradition, but are youths in a garage. The baroque music, distant and foreign, distinctly contrasts the text describing the existential solitude of the secular world: Not To Be. Not To Be At All. The completely different connotations of clouds in Christian and Chinese art are the point of departure in The Cloud of Unknowing, whose story is set in rundown, social housing in a Singaporean suburb. Marian Ilmestys (The Annunciation) transposes one of the most depicted scenes of religious art into the present day. Filmed primarily with amateur actors, the challenge of appropriating a fantastical story using profane methods moves to the center: “I can’t accept the idea of becoming pregnant with the Holy Spirit.” Thus the film mirrors the centuries-old dispute about Maria’s role as a central question of belief.
Not To Be. Not To Be At All, Muntean & Rosenblum, at 2003, 5 min
The Cloud of Unknowing, Ho Tzu Nyen, sg 2011, 28 min
The Annunciation – Marian Ilmestys, Eija-Liisa Ahtila, fi 2011, 37 min