[ONGON: The souls of one's ancestors and spirits which inhabit sacred places in nature, such as mountains, trees, rivers, lakes.]
In the southern Russian region of Siberia, along Lake Baikal, and just north of Mongolia, lies Buryatia. A federal subject of Russia, this republic is the modern version of an ancient offshoot of the Mongolian people. Despite forced Christianization and the introduction of Tibetan Buddhism, the indigenous Buryats are still a nation and culture that preserves its ancient traditions, one of which includes shamanism.
Several years ago these Siberian shamanic rituals caught the attention of Abraham Brody. Fascinated by how the Buryat shamans used music and drumming to enter a trance state, during which they commune with ancestors and the spirit world, Brody and collaborator Konstantin Guz travelled to Buryatia to, as he says, “study this link between performance and the 'trance-state' and performance as a means to connect with deeper spirituality or transformative states.”
The result of his research, premiered at Fabrika Centre for Creative Industries in Moscow, is ONGON, a video installation and solo performance that aims to bring the power of ancient Buryatan shamanism into an urban space. Brody and Guz’s videos show various shamanic rituals like animal sacrifice, sacred fires, and trance-inducing music. The show was created in collaboration with director and choreographer Stephano Regueros Savvides.
HIMMELEN: Brody transports us all into another time and place. [Full Review]