Ben Jeans Houghton: 'Screaming Bird / Singing Dawn / Rainbow Mountain'

Still from Ben Jeans Houghton, 'Screaming Bird / Singing Dawn / Rainbow Mountain'

A self reflexive film essay that subjectively explores the shamanic realities of South Korea that share a stage with Buddhism, Christianity and Materialism.

Screaming Bird / Singing Dawn / Rainbow Mountain is comprised of wandering first-person shots filmed during an exploration of South Korea’s liminal estuaries, ancient temples, nebulous markets and the glowing towers of the inner city, alongside interviews with Mudang, Monks and Astrologers. Through the imagery of the environments it navigates, the embodiment of its searching perspective and the personality of a magically operant Englishman, SB.SD.RM’s narrative voiceover unfolds through reflective commentary to posit improvised philosophical and comparative religious notions in an open modelling of spiritual ecosystems and modes of being.

Bookended by two written essays that initially map concepts of Cosmogenesis from the perspectives of Buddhism, Gnosticism, and Simulation Theory through cinematic history, the film expands upon animistic arguments that afford personhood to rivers, K-pop, Christianity and technology as entities, before concluding with a focus on the sci-fi expressions of apocalyptic monotheistic judgement day narratives and the possible ramifications of an Artificial Intelligence singularity.

The film can be entered at any point, as the ending generates the precedent for the beginning. The film acts as a question that exists by virtue of examining itself perpetually in a reflective cycle without beginning or end.

Ben Jeans Houghton
UK / South Korea
2019
10' excerpt
Video, colour, sound
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About the artist

Ben Jeans Houghton creates work in sculpture, installation, film, photography, drawing, writing, performance and sound. Through these media he explores the study and practice of magic/k, astrology, animism, philosophy, cinema and psychology.

With Matthew Giraudeau he is the co-founder of the ARKA Group; a fluid collective of creative collaborators who aim to make scientific and philosophical concepts tangible to a wider audience through the generation of visual art.

Ben’s work has and will be shown with CCA Glasgow; Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art and Workplace Gallery, Gateshead; Gymnasium Gallery, Berwick; Bloc Projects, Sheffield; Generator Projects, Dundee; Whitstable Bienniale; Space Inbetween Gallery,Zabludowicz Gallery and BFI, London; Circa Projects, Newcastle; and at NGCA, Sunderland.