Inner Visions: Lovely images and sounds

Attar Media presented a two hour multi-media programme Inner Visions: An evening of short films, music and poetry at the Herald Theatre in Auckland on Thursday night, the 16th of November. The programme promised comic, tragic and mystic views of love, altered states of awareness, and the end of the world.

The work was chosen for the launch under the theme of love, “loosely based on the expression of spirituality, ” said Keith Hill, film-maker and writer, and one of the directors of Attar Media. All was one, as each individual work came together to form a cohesive programme.

The Films

The films were screened in the first half of the presentation, opening with Campbell Farquhar’s three minute long Salt. The film is funny and inviting with the melodious and attractive narrator’s voice, beautiful with soft colours and meaningful extreme close ups of eyes and skin. “I wanted everything to be very pale, very white, like potatoes and salt,” says Campbell about his film. “There’s no sense of realism. I wanted it to look like the opposite of television, even though it’s shot on digital video.” It’s about different combinations of people and sensuality rather than love perhaps, but lovely nonetheless. “It’s about passion,” Campbell says. “Maybe love is what comes next.”

Armageddon Redux
Armageddon Redux, by Dawn Tuffery and Keith Hill, is an animation with great written narrative techniques, and like Salt, it’s funny. The colours are rich – a deep blue and bright red in a metallic new world, down in the dirt. Keith approached Dawn Tuffery to animate his script, as he knew her work from tutoring her at Waikato University. “Not everyone likes doing animation,” she says of her working in the plastic, plastocene and gravel for the film. “It’s pretty masochistic.” The characters are familiar – but set in an after-oil-wars world, when a new Adam and Eve have to start humanity all over again. The humour and visual interest is accessible to all, with the bonus of tuning into God’s word.

Project: Five short movements
Campbell’s Project: Five short movements was dance meets body projections meets abstraction. The soundtrack was physically painful in places but it was visually dynamic and the realisation of projected-on skin was wonderful. “It’s good to challenge people’s ideas of what film music and soundtrack ought to be,” says Campbell. The dance was improvised, and Campbell used experimental film techniques with pinhole photography to create moving images. “Filming movement is really important to me. In the tradition of Len Lye, it’s one of the things film can capture really well,” he says.

Playing A Role
The entertainingly self-referential Playing A Role: a love story in the process of being made by Daniel Strang, is certainly interesting. Among great sets there is a gorgeous hotel. It’s an engaging date story, and by the time the protagonists finally unite, the film is made.

Performance Pieces: Music and Poetry

Mystical Poetry
Keith Hill led the second half with the delightful story of the historical medieval Indian poet Mirabai’s life, and some readings of her work - love poems to Krishna. They seemed very much on the earthly plan, with Krishna as lover. A romantic and passionate homage to the idea of the perfect God as a man, or to the very real idea that the best lover is the one in your mind. Or your spirit – depending on your sensibilities. Keith recited three of his mystical love poems, from his recent book of poetry published by Attar books, telling the story of his ancient middle-eastern seeker, Psalms of Exile and Return: A journey into the mystery of the spirit. Keith’s protagonist, the slave in exile from Babylonian rule, becomes a shepherd, and amongst his cries to Yahweh, he is eventually reunited with his love. Keith read (first lines quoted): “That night, in my tent, my existence was transformed”, from First Song of the Beloved: “Lift your face, my love, embrace this song of songs”, and The Shepherd Appreciates His Beloved: “I turn to my beloved, our eyes gently kiss”. They are truly lovely, and it was a treat to hear Keith recite.

Peter Haeder on the electric guitar played three compositions from Emerald, with Howard Porter and Jason Slade on acoustic guitars. The music was dreamy, and in Peter’s words – part mediation and part surfing. The three men on stage were faced away from each other in their own physical worlds, but they come together beautifully in a clear, warm and natural sound.

Jonathan Besser and Bravura performed a selection of tracks from their new album Turn, as well as some new compositions entitled Ecstasy, and two pieces composed by Rabbi Zellman. It was a pleasure to watch and listen to the musicians, who seemed in ecstasy as they played so sensitively their gentle, jazzy fusion of musical flavours.

Chanting (Singularity)
The programme ended with amazing traditional Tibetan Buddhist chanting by Peter Haeder, as presented on Peter’s recent album, Singularity.

Great care and love was taken and given to present such a singular, visually and aurally resplendent programme.

A multi-media performance by Attar artists and friends presented on Thursday 16 November, 2006, Herald Theatre, The Edge, Auckland, New Zealand