Untitled (the ashram)

HD video, color, sound
12:42 min.

Video, 2020

Voice of Jack Marmorstein

Footage contributed by Alex Liegel, Chris Cole, David Nokovic, Katherine Bowers, Laurel V. McLaughlin, Selby Nimrod, Sergey Y. Smolin

Commissioned by Center for Contemporary Art & Culture

With gratitude to Monika Uchiyama


[The work begins with a panning shot in a suburban neighborhood, slowly coming to a pause in front of a peachy-cream shingled house with a grey-colored roof that is slightly hidden behind trees. The screen goes black. The film culls various forms of information the artist collected from family photographs and Google street view screen recordings, to newspaper clippings and video footage sent by various participants. The resulting effect creates a kind of visual archive that both illustrates and creates associations with the dialogue. Some of the footage includes: a portrait of a young white boy with light-colored hair (the artist’s father), and then two other portraits at different stages of life; Scanned photographs marked with scratches and tears, sunbleached and inscribed on the back with fading dates and punctuated by a black screen between them; Handwritten letters in blue ink, the covers of books like the Kundalini by Gopi Krishna and Spiritual Cannibalism by Swami Rudrananda [Rudi], family photographs scanned to show fragments of bodies, limbs, and hints of domestic space, sometimes within an ashram; Screen-recordings of various google searches followed by current recordings of these places. A screen-recording then reveals email correspondence between the artist and various participants who agreed to collect footage of spaces discussed in the film. We end on a shot of the Mann House, the community and movement center in Portland discussed in the film. It is a huge red brick complex with grey A-frame roofs, peeking behind a row of trees.]