Excerpt from Time Piece, 2011. (duration, 5:05 min)
"(Time Piece) captures the fleeting nature of transformation by arresting and reanimating time." -Anna Craycroft, curator.
This is a video excerpt from an installation of the same name. The work documents a series of glass explosions captured using a custom bullet time ring of 35 mm film tourist cameras. Special thanks to Sally Burke and John Greig.
The Tear Collector, 2011. (duration 2:17 min)
In relation to her recent series of self destructing postcards, New York based artist Mira Hunter created the short video The Tear Collector for a greeting card that ever so slowly cries itself into oblivion. Special thanks to Derek Hunter for all his help, and to Marina Abramovic for making eating an onion look so effortless.
Excerpt from Time Machine 2008. (duration 2:00 min) The soundtrack is meant to be listened to with headphones.
Mira Hunter's 2008 installation piece Time Machine was created with her husband Derek Hunter, who is also a visual artist and a whirling dervish. It featured 65 disposable cameras fixed to a 360 degree rail made from reclaimed lumber, activated by electromechanical solenoids. The photographs featured Mira Hunter who is a second-generation whirling dervish. They were animated in a sequence, giving the audience the visual experience of revolving around a whirling dervish, caught in a single moment. Time Machine relates to an earlier project Mira worked on with her father and whirling teacher, Raqib Brian Burke, The Public Whirling Project. The traditional form of Turkish Mevlevi whirling, practiced since the 13th century, claims to be able to transmit healing energy to human beings present. A possibly related, original form of whirling in Mongolia is still practiced by nomadic tribes as a healing ceremony. Though the connection between these tribes and what is recognized as traditional whirling in Turkey has yet to be academically confirmed, there is a similar emphasis on the potential for physical healing in the ceremonies of the Mevlevi Sufi dervishes. In the tradional Turkish whirling posture, both arms are raised, with the right palm facing up, while the left palm faces towards the ground. Divine energy is believed to cycle through the right palm, heart, exiting out the left palm into the physical universe. The Public Whirling Project, was about bringing the restorative charactor of the practice of whirling to places in need of it. The original session took place in Vancouver's Lower East Side, a neighbourhood mired by human hardship. After the storms levelled much of the city's great park, Mira had wanted to whirl there and used it as location for filming Time Machine. She was born in Vancouver and spent much of her childhood exploring the duck ponds, rose gardens and seashore of Stanley Park. We chose a hidden place in the woods to set up the camera rig. The ground was uneven from all the degrading fallen branches, upturned trees and thriving underbrush, but Mira managed to whirl anyway, tearing holes in the soles of her traditional winter Muslim prayer slippers. Her shoes filled with earth as she moved in a careful circle, surrounded by the cameras. Other locations used in the filming of Time Machine, included shipping yards, industrial waste lands and a commercial warehouse. Time Machine was intended to experiment with harnessing whirling as a form of environmental activism and rehabilitation.
Excerpt from Time Machine, 2008. (duration 2:30 min)
As Time Machine was intended to translate the essential qualities of whirling through technology, the sound component of the experience was a crucial element. Binaural sound recording microphones were used to produce the soundtrack for the piece. A step beyond stereo, these microphones are meant to mimic sound as the human ear encounters it. Binaural sound is a technique achieved by using two small microphones placed into the ear, or embedded in ear shaped molds on a sculpted human head. With playback through headphones, the quality of the binaurally recorded acoustics is very similar to how the ear customarily perceives local sounds in space. It differs from conventional stereo recordings, as it takes into account the travel of sound waves around the shape of the human head. This created different sound levels and timing between the left and right ears. To be effective binaural sound recordings need to be listened to with headphones, as the subtle sound time and space distinctions are lost when projected into the open air. The binaural microphones were plugged into a digital recording device that was small enough to hold as Derek whirled. All but one of the 8 sound layers used in the final composition were recorded binaurally while whirling. One of the interesting results of this process was the continuous soft sound of the leather prayer slippers scuffing the floor as Derek whirled to record each sound. This became a subtle undercurrent in all of the recordings, building or falling depending upon the number of sound layers. Several of the sound elements repeated for the duration of the recording, including the sound of the word Allah, which took on the character of a heartbeat. Two slightly different versions of the chant were captured at close range to accentuate the temporal sound qualities. What appeared to be an electronic drone were in fact instances of wind harp. The sung Illahi, a traditional Sufi hymn, was a recording of Seemi Ghazi, a professor at the University of British Columbia, and a teacher in the Rifai Marufi Order. The other voice recordings were executed during an impromptu zikr with Mira’s father, Raqib Brian Burke, who is also a teacher within the Rifai Marufi and Mevlevi Orders. He played a Kurdish Daf drum during the zikr. The final layer, acting as a constant mechanical pulse, was the sound of an old skipping 78 rpm record playing on an antique suitcase phonograph. The end of the record has a built in loop, which kept bringing the needle back to skip again and again creating a simple rhythm. Derek had made this recording a year previously, and only decided to include it in the final sound edit. It was a mono sample that in the finished composition panned from right to left on each beat to artificially reproduce a sense of movement.