Controlled Screenings of Becoming

In May and June 2023, I held 5 controlled screenings of Becoming in Belfast to 54 viewers. The responses were extraordinary!

I held the screenings in five different types of venues and ways of screening in Belfast to understand if venue and mode of screening made a possible impact in viewing experiences. These were:

1 pm, Friday 26 May 2023 in Golden Thread Gallery, a respected and progressive art gallery

12 pm, Saturday 27 May 2023, Strand cinema, an iconic art deco cinema and arts centre

7:30 pm, Sunday 28 May 2023, Maitri yoga studio, where we had our rehearsal

7:30 pm, Monday 29n May 2023, The Black Box, an established performance venue

1:30 pm, David Hill Dance Studio, Crescent Arts Centre

I added a short 2 minute reflective intro before the start of the film with some quotes from James Elkins’ (Pictures and Tears, 2004) suggestions about approaching works of art as “recipes for strong encounters” with them and “having a better chance of discovering if they speak to you “that reflect the mood of the film in order to draw deeper attention from viewers.

I followed this by a narration of Lorin Roche’s Radiance Sutra: 26. The text invites the viewer/hearer to arrive at a place of stillness and calm which I hoped would help to bring a more acute sense of presence and focus. I decided to record my voice over of reciting the piece, to add a gentle human dimension to the invitation:

There is a place in the heart where everything meets. Go there if you want to find me. 
Mind, senses, soul, eternity, all are there. 
Are you there? 
Enter the bowl of vastness that is the heart. 
Give yourself to it with total abandon . . . 
Once you know the way 
the nature of attention will call you 
to return, again and again, 
and be saturated with knowing, 
‘I belong here, I am at home here.”

Are you there?

and then visual text of Radiance Sutras: 3-4. This particularly resonated with my creative experience and the other-worldly mood and style of the work, ‘the dancing particles’ seemed to mirror the shimmering effect created by the animated line drawings of the body.

After the film, I added some of the animations again and extended the music of the the film to help retain their attention as they completed their evaluations.

After the evaluations, I stayed to answer any questions about my research and the film. The responses from almost all showed intense levels of engagement and in many, triggered reflections about participant’s own more meaningful and personal experiences which they felt safe to share with me in the forms and in one case, in a private voice mail. One person asked to attend twice, another said he wished he was able to watch the film alone without the distraction of others’ presence and to see it repeatedly.