These “speaking portraits” put a fundamental (but perhaps ultimately endless) inquiry before people with a developed interest in myth, a request in fact to say what it is. Recorded in dialogue with presenters at the 2004 Mythic Journeys Conference & Performance Festival, this work was produced in collaboration with the Mythic Imagination Institute in Atlanta, Georgia.
"myth is" is part of a larger project of speaking portraits, "art is," in which 800 artists (all kinds, including sculptors, painters, filmmakers, video artists, poets, composers, performance artists, and so on) have been recorded on video in eleven countries and twenty-three languages in the first six years. The result is an ongoing and constantly changing work called "art is" or "music is" or "poetry is" (now including "myth is" and "peace is"), which has been exhibited internationally, primarily as installations, screened either on projection screen or on one or more monitors. One difference in "art is" and "music is" is that the participants are not only artist/poets/musicians et al., but also mythographers, scholars, storytellers, etc. whose lives engage myth in a fundamental way.
Overall, "art is" develops an open-ended video art work in portraiture that registers artists in the act of saying what "art" (or any of the other charged abstractions) is. It is presented as a continuous series of speaking faces viewed up close, one at a time, with no overlaps or special effects, filmed “on site” under many circumstances. One unadorned face at a time fills the image area. The framing effectively removes most social indicators (hair style, clothing, context, etc.). While many famous individuals are included, they are mixed with lesser known ones. Identification of the person is indicated only well into each "speaking portrait" in order to keep the viewer's attention focused on the act of saying what art is rather than on the identity of the speaker. The format is primarily single channel video, suitable for viewing as projection or on monitor, yet it aims as well at installation and performance contexts, where each format emphasizes different orders of experience within a singular matrix. [More at quasha.com.]
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