myth is

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speaking portraits

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These speaking portraits put a fundamental (but perhaps ultimately endless) inquiry before people who have 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 in Atlanta, Georgia, this work was produced in collaboration with the Mythic Imagination Institute there.

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myth is

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is part of a larger project of speaking portraits, art is, in which, to date, some 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. All are asked simply to say what, their personal view and in whatever manner they wish, it (art, poetry, music…) is. 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 myth is (and peace is) is that the participants are not only artist/poets/musicians et al., but also mythographers, scholars, storytellers, actors, etc. whose lives engage myth in a fundamental way.

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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 usually “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 some ways 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.~

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myth is (Speaking Portraits) [Vol. I] (69 min. 22 sec.)
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23 participants in Vol. I

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Michael Vannoy Adams, Rebecca Armstrong, Coleman Barks, Phil Cousineau, Meinrad Craighead, William Doty, Kristen Eckmann, James Flannery, Honora Foah, Matthew Fox, Ellen Hemphill, James Hillman, Sam Keen, Robin Larsen, Stephen Larsen, Margot McLean, Michael Meade, Joyce Carol Oates, Ginette Paris, Laurie Patton, Huston Smith, Ulla Suokko, Robert Walter


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