immersive environment (collaboration with Raghunath Khe)
Studio East, Vancouver, Canada
January 24th 2015
Artists / Performers
Ciara Havishya, Zox Svetorovich, Genevieve Belleveau, Jonathan Watanabe, Melendrez Steer, Andrew Kim, Quinton Harris Jones, Anirudh Kansal, Jeff Little
Norman Wells, Pyrrha Luna, Miss Kosmik, Dr. Thrillhaus
The event began with C+nverg=nc- attendees following signage which led them into a dimly lit room, illuminated with a blue glow. The aural landscape of the space was filled with Jim Wilson’s God Chorus of Crickets (field recordings of crickets, slowed, pitched down, and on loop, resembling a choral children’s choir).
On one side of the room was a small pond surrounded by reeds and mosses. Videos of wheat fields blowing in the wind, and an overcast industrial city-scape with traffic, were projected on the walls. On the wall opposite the pond were kalla lily floral arrangements by Melendrez Steer, and a man seated deeply in meditation beneath an arch.
The ceremonial proceedings began with a procession of bridesmaids and groomsmen meeting the groom at the top of the altar. Last to follow was the bride (the artist, Miki Aurora) who stepped out of the ocean water in the Swamp , and processed down the aisle.
The ceremony, led by Paul Chevreau, featured a recitation of a passage on matrimony by philosopher Kahlil Gibran. An image of a lunar eclipse projected at the apex of the arch above the couple, moved slowly throughout the course of the ceremony. As the bride and groom kissed, the eclipse came into full, creating a silver ring.
After the ceremony, guests crossed through curtains dividing the space, leading into a lounge. The walls were animated with projections of dark rolling clouds and an overcast ocean.
While guests mingled, Andrew Kim (former member of the band Delhi 2 Dublin) played a live electro-acoustic set from one of his handcrafted instruments, made from a re-purposed tennis racket. Following Kim, opera singer Quinton Harris Jones sang an Italian love ballad.
Anirudh Kansal performed a Vedic hymn, chanting and playing the harmonium in honour of the groom’s spiritual lineage and previous work as a Bhakti monk. The groom performed a sacred offering during the chant.
At midnight, Vancouver-based artists Ciara Havishya and Zox Svetorovich presented a performance art piece. The work, titled Ascension, was a movement-based work and installation with the two artists “inhabiting extremes of the spiritual/technological spectrum” (Zox). Meanwhile, a dancefloor in the adjacent space featured the neo-tribal sounds of local DJ Pyrrha Luna. The DJ lineup continued with sets by several other local DJs. LA-based performance artist Genevieve Belleveau began her enactment of a performance piece titled Intimate Ikebana (a work she initially performed for the New Museum in NYC). Sitting in a long robe, within a sheer canopied alcove, she began conducting one-on-one rituals with guests, ending each by bestowing them with a cup of entheogenic mushroom tea, sprinkled with petals of the bride’s bouquet.
Both myself, and co-curator / groom Raghunath Khe, have been interested in the philosophical discourse surrounding the intersection point between the technological and the spiritual, the intangible, the divine. This symbiosis is a theme addressed within both of our individual creative practices’, as well as the narrative we chose to expound upon with C+nverg=nc-. (A title referencing both our personal matrimony, as well as the marriage of the digital with the ethereal realm.) Individual works by local and international artists, as well as the immersive environment cultivated through sound, audio, and post-physical sensory experiences, divulged the aesthetic of this symbiosis.