Vèvès & Loas by Raymond Salvatore Harmon

Vèvès & Loas by Raymond Salvatore Harmon

A reconstructed version of Maya Deren’s Divine Horsemen. Using secondary refilming, compositing, and frame manipulation Veves & Loas takes its source imagery from Maya Deren’s footage of Vodoun practices filmed in Haiti.

Divine Horsemen by Maya Deren

“Whether drawn in flour on flat ground or traced in the air, the sign of the cross roads is always the juncture where communication between worlds is being practiced”

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Farewell my Queen

Versailles in July 1789. There’s growing disquiet at the court of King Louis XVI: the people are defiant and the country is on the brink of revolution. Behind the scenes at the royal palaces emergency plans are being made. Although nobody believes that this spells the end of the established order everyone is talking of escape, including Queen Marie Antoinette and her entourage. One of Marie Antoinette’s ladies-in-waiting is Sidonie Laborde who, as the Queen’s reader, is a member of the monarch’s inner circle. Little does she know that she is about to witness the downfall of her beloved queen.

Farewell My Queen, Summer 2012

Au mariage d’Hadriana, les soeurs Kraft s’étaient trouvées en tête du groupe fascinant des demoiselles d’honneur, en meilleur position que les pulpeuses jumelles Philisbourg qui étaien également des jeunes Haïtiennes très proches de Nana. Mélissa n’avait-elle pas déchiré sa toilette à l’église en voyant son amie s’écrouler avec son “oui” de perdition?

Hadriana dans tous mes rêves, René Dépestre, 1987

Wang Shu and Traditional Practices

Sketches004

Wang Shu came to visit RISD during the Fall of 2011 and made a speech about his practice in China. At the time I knew very little about Mr Shu but developed an interest in his approach to architecture. His lecture in the Fall consisted for the most part of the way traditional Chinese paintings inspired his work. This made me think about my interest for the “naive paintings” in Haiti as I approached my thesis back in the Summer of 2011. In the progression of my thesis, I decided to work on the Manoir Alexandra, and also focused on designing spaces of exhibition for the classical painting “Oath of the Ancestors”. The traditional Haitian art (mostly renown through Haitian painter Ismael Saincilus) took the back-burner. Upon critiquing my work, a teacher who had spent a year at the China Academy of Art praised Wang Shu’s campus for the many performance spaces it allowed. She encouraged me to go back to the Haitian “Naïve” paintings, two-dimensional pieces of work that reveal layers of depth. She also encouraged me to watch the movie Piña for inspiration because in designing the dance spaces of the Manoir, I always dealt with dance and movement through space.

Below are some pictures of the China Academy of Art selected via a google search. Most recently Wang Shu has been written about in this NYTimes article: An Architect’s Vision: Bare Elegance in China

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Dance Rituals & Post-Colonial Landscapes

A syncretetic and changing system of beliefs and rituals produced out of the experience of the sugar plantation system in the New World, Vodou, or “the serving of the Gods,” though bricolaged in the forced contact of African vodun and Catholicism, may be understood as a historical response to the very experience of the ritual brutality of slavery. the serving of the Gods, or lwas, worked to transform torture, terror, and servitude itself. In her recent reconsideration of Haitian history, Haiti, History, and the Gods, Joan Dayan recounts her lesson from the Manbo Priestess La Merci Benjamin about what it means to submit to being ridden by the spirits. Benjamin explains that through the intense thought work of incarnating one of the Vodou deities, “instead of being turned into a thing, you become a god.” And, thus, Dayan theorizes, “to Be ridden by the mèt tèt, to be seized by the god, is thus to destroy the cunning imperial dichotomy of master and slave, or colonizer and colonized.” In eighteenth-century Saint-Domingue nighttime assemblies for the collective practice of Vodou ritual and dancing were more than just transgressions of colonial legal authority. Possession by the gods also conjured a spirit-infused landscape of sacred trees and herbal offerings that menaced colonial authority through a reversal of colonial authority’s basis in its materially staked claims to possession, the notion of “property rights,” of self-possession and control of land.

Sowing Empire- Landscape and Colonization | Jil Casid

Inspiration to design dance spaces in the gardens of Le Manoir Alexandra

The highly prized view

Just prior to the building of the house or as it was being built, Brown is supposed to bhabe been brought in to consult on plans for the garden. Brown was brought back after the completion of the house and submitted plans for the groudns in 1772. The house was placed on an eminence as the main perspective from which to survey the surrounding coutryside. Further emphasizing the elevated house as the focal point for views from the namigational paths cut round and through the estate, a large hill behind the mansion convering some forty acres was leveled (on specific instructions from Lascelles), the natural valley was deepend, and the riverStankbeck rerouted to fill the valley forming the great lake. […] Traveling from the house and its direct referrence to the Indies, the garden visitor would then turn round and look back at the house from the other side, the highly prized view represented in a commissioned watercolor by J.M.W.Turner (1798)

Sowing Empire, Landscape and Colonization, Jill H. Casid

Fourmillement


“Tu marches vers une mort illustre sans être tâchée par la maladie ni par l’épée”
– Sophocle (choeur d’Antigone)  | cité dans Hadriana dans tous mes Rêves

-Un baiser pour toi, Nana!

J’aurais voulu le lui rendre. Il était trop tard: j’étais en train de mourir. Ça faisait un instant qu’un malaise effarant s’était abattu sur moi. J’étais parcourue d’une sensation aiguë de fourmillement comme si on me piquait à ‘aiguille des pieds à la tête.

Hadriana Dans tous Mes Rêves | René Dépestre