We were installing Paul’s wall piece in the morning and in the evening he would send me this article by Caroline Humphrey:
Inside and Outside the Mirror: Mongolian Shamans’ Mirrors as Instruments of Perspectivism
Shamans’ mirrors, and mirrors in general, have two quite different sides, one reflecting images and the other a dull blank or imagined as a teeming other world. It is argued that, for shamanists, the far side of the mirror is conceived as the world of the dead, which is populated by spirits. Living people can, in certain circumstances such as divination, see ‘through’ the mirror into that world, and shamans when interacting with spirits in trance place themselves inside it. Two different perspectives, of the living and of the souls/spirits, are thus produced. The article ends with some speculations about the non-symmetrical character of these perspectives and concludes that the Mongols upholding these traditions are not post-moderns.
Key words: mirror, vision, death, fear, truth
Borrowing its title from a literary genre, the film acknowledges the indeterminacy of both fiction and the self. Noir elements are reduced to deadpan gestures under bright California sunlight. Field recordings made in New Zealand are heard as women speak with each other about motherhood, abortion, breakups and anxiety. A civil rights parade moves slowly down a street. Bodies appear in states of weariness, injured or at rest, while songs by Irma Thomas and Goldberg evoke the passing of time and an uncertain future.