INTERVIEW WITH BRENDAN WALLS “Invisible House at DARK MOFO seeks to unsettle the barriers between science and magic; space and time.”

William Mortensen "ISIS" circa 1924

Curator and artist BRENDAN WALLS

 

DISINFO what was the formative inspiration behind “Invisible House”? What is SAC?

BW Invisible House is a multimedia program that is out to unsettle the barriers between performance, and static arts; science and magic; space and time. We’re out to destroy assumptions and prejudices, create dialogues between all of the works selected, allow audiences to draw imaginary lines between the works and create a larger indefinable work out of these intersecting lines. The correspondences and serendipities will be unique for each person who experiences it. This is deliberate. I’d call it anti-curating. We lead no one by the nose.

Salamanca Arts Centre (SAC), has been around for 40 years, it’s throwing open its walls, halls and spaces to us. Their generosity and belief in this project cannot be measured. On paper it looks nuts, but their trust in the unwieldy process is a testament to them.

DISINFO What are the origins of the “Invisible House”?

BW Invisible House began with my solo work ‘Tohu V Bohu’ which explores the nigredo or ‘blackening’ work of alchemy (putrefaction, cleansing, cooking where the base material is rendered uniformly black). The first stage of the transformation of the base material into spiritual gold.

The program has expanded to include works that similarly apply heat, pressure, and time to transform the common place into the transcendent. Destruction. Preservation. Construction.

Each work tests the limits of physical and psychic endurance of the artist, seeking to break through self-imposed limits, churning the waters of the subconscious, and producing a visceral unedited experience that the straight art world often toys with but never really commits to.

 

Barry William Hale OPUS: HYPRKUB 210 – ZADZAKZADLIN DE IAIAD EMETGIS.

Barry William Hale OPUS: HYPRKUB 210 – CIRCKOS: COMSELH DE BUSDIR.

DISINFO – And how would you describe the mission?

BW – Transforming the entire SAC complex into conduit for experiences beyond rational comprehension. Building a temple. All of the works are durational and take time to get into. That’s also deliberate. There’s no easy, quickly swallowed pill for people. This is dangerous in a festival context as people just wander around like lost sheep, but we are for the goats.

DISINFO – What is your vision for the exhibition?

BW – Depending on which way they enter the building, the audience will encounter museum cases full of Barry William Hale’s notebooks and journals – documents of his decade long interaction with the beings and entities associated with his skrying or visionary encounters with the aethyrs linked to the Enochian alphabet (the language system first ‘discovered’ by John Dee, Queen Elizabeth’s key adviser).

William Mortensen (1897 – 1965) “Masked Woman with Skull” circa 1926, “Untitled Masked Figure Making Devil Sign” circa 1924.  Exhibited for the first time ever at “Invisible House” curated by Brenden Walls for DARK MOFO

 

William Mortensen (1897 – 1965) “Isis” 1924, “Jezebel”, 1925.
Exhibited for the first time ever at “Invisible House” curated by Brenden Walls for DARK MOFO

 

William Mortensen (1897 – 1965) The Witch Lady Suite circa 1924 – 1926 unique prints.
Exhibited for the first time ever at “Invisible House” curated by Brenden Walls for DARK MOFO

 

In the Sidespace, Barry William Hale NOKO mode (with Scott Barnes) will at various times across the day and night, invoke these energies and produce automatic based on the visions that come to him.

Next door in the Long Gallery, the visionary and utterly unique works of William Mortensen, will share the space with my own unfolding installation ‘Tohu V Bohu’. This installation utilises various objects, light and sound to create a ritual space where I’ll be putting myself through long duration ‘psycho-physical’ tests and training. This work accumulates and eventually manifests in a 24-hour performance of a musical score which came from a series of workings that took place in Mexico, and Italy on the same day (June 24th), decades before.

The Founder’s Room will host a unique experience of Yak Sant or ‘magical tattooing’. Ajarn Ohr, a master of the art, will conduct ritual tattooing on subscribed members of the festival.
Across two weekends, the legendary and largely unseen celluloid invocations of Harry Smith will be screened in the Peacock Theatre, with live musical accompaniment.

 

Stills from HARRY SMITH “HEAVEN AND EARTH MAGIC” 1957

(also called Number 12The Magic Feature, or Heaven and Earth Magic Feature)

Still image from Harry Smith’s “Heaven and Earth Magic” 1957

Still image from Harry Smith’s “Heaven and Earth Magic” 1957

Still image from Harry Smith’s “Heaven and Earth Magic” 1957

Still image from Harry Smith’s “Heaven and Earth Magic” 1957

Still image from Harry Smith’s “Heaven and Earth Magic” 1957

All of the works draw on unseen forces (whether actual, or merely manifestations of the subconscious are up for audience interpretation) – and mine unexplored regions of human consciousness.

Given the scientific rationalist basis of art theory, these works are the last taboo of the artist at odds with this paradigm. They present a new reality in which trans-rational, trans-personal confrontations with the ineffable, are not only legitimised, but also show the way forward and present a dissident resistance to ideological and spiritual tyranny.

 

Sak yant tattoo on Kai by master Ajarn Ohr