Sublime Frequencies in North and West Africa: The films of Hisham Mayet
Exhilarating, hallucinatory, harrowing, ecstatic and surreal, Hisham Mayet’s films and audio collections reveal a region’s rituals, rhythm and landscape, with an aesthetic of extra-geography and soulful experience. Employing an unflinching methodology that continues to inspire contemporaries and audience alike, his many documentaries have been redefining the nature of ethnographic film, and continue to provoke and amaze in equal measure.
A Film By Hisham Mayet
Hisham Mayet’s exploration of West African possession ceremonies continues in Benin. The cradle and birthplace of Voodoo, Benin was formerly known as the Slave Coast, and most of the slave industry was exported from its shores. Voodoo worship is integral to the every day lives of the people of Benin. This film, shot in 2010 during the country’s rich Vodoun celebrations, is an impressionistic lens on the myriad ceremonies that this rich and diverse culture has to offer. Showcasing intimate observations of a variety of Voodoo ceremonies: The cult of Sakpata (god of pestilence and healing), Egoun dramas shrouded in magisterial costumes and the secret police of the Zangbeto nightwatchmen, among other highlights. This will be the premiere screening of this visual feast.
Mayet will be showing this brand new film as well as discussing his methodology and that of Sublime Frequencies, a label he founded with Alan and Richard Bishop in 2003. Highlights will include stories of his experiences with the now legendary clutch of Saharan guitar groups (Group Doueh, Bombino, Inerane) he came upon in the region, as well as sharing his many adventures travelling and documenting possession ceremonies in the Sahel for the last 10 years.