Seattle, WA. Autumn 1991. For three months, eleven virtual strangers
undergo an intensive ritual training process with director/author Antero three
times a week, 3 to 4 hours each session, to explore how rituals might work
without externally imposed dogmas. The final weeks of their highly visceral
process were videotaped; no rehearsals, no second takes. Also, included,
participant interviews alongside Alli's own autobiographical narrative.
WATCH THE VIDEO
(1991; 87 min.) Written & directed by Antero Alli
"ARCHAIC COMMUNITY" REVIEWED
Intrigued by the observation that people appear to have an innate sense of ritual, Seattle videographer/ritualist Antero Alli posted flyers inviting "marginal men and women" to join him in the co-creation of spontaneous, non-dogmatic ritual, in "paratheatrical research." Meeting late nights in the Seattle Masonic Temple, they gathered for three months, three times a week for the purpose of exploring how rituals might work without dogma. They underwent intense physical, emotional, and spiritual metamorphosis, both individually and collectively. ARCHAIC COMMUNITY records their movement toward an awareness of an autonomous subculture of self-controlled anarchy.
ARCHAIC COMMUNITY offers a theater of the archetype. Through the techniques of NO-FORM and Alli's "ritual without dogma" , participants cast off the conditioning of cultural restraint. In the process of a rigorous physical meditation they a achieve a state of NO-FORM (a term borrowed from the writings of Shunryu Suzuki). In this way, they become receptive to the influence of universal archetypes and become vehicles for their expression. That these influences have a profound power is evident in the intensity of the performance. Transformational in nature, the work evokes recognition of the shifting balance of polarities at work within each individual. A gamut of emotional colors threaten to run off the canvas in this video/performance art, yet are contained within the frame of the storyline, giving the piece continuity and accessibility.
Julian Simeon and Camille Hildebrandt
As propagandists are keenly aware, archetypal imagery can be used to further dogmatic ends. The Nazis used versions of Teutonic myths to rally the country to Hitler's cause, projecting images of Hitler as a medieval crusader dressed in armor. But there are also rituals of liberation. ARCHAIC COMMUNITY encourages us to create our own rituals from our own sources of power, from the wellsprings of our internal landscapes.
- Jonnie Gilman, Seattle Community Catalyst, 11/1991
production notes, credits
Camille Hildebrandt and Julian Simeon
"The point behind ARCHAIC COMMUNITY was to gather a small group of, what I affectionately call, marginal men and women for the ritualistic purpose of stimulating an autonomous subculture. I wanted to find out how much people already knew about ritual without realizing it and then, how a group unity might emerge as a product of a heightened state of individual integrity and personal freedom. The rituals were designed to challenge and nurture these values. I also wanted to produce a video document that demonstrated the ritual technology of a paratheatre medium I have been developing since 1977." -- ANTERO ALLI
Gavin Greene, Meta Sean Dougherty, Marganne Hesch, Joy S. Laughter
ARCHAIC COMMUNITY (1991; 87 min.; Hi-8 video)
Scripted, videography, editing & direction by ANTERO ALLI
2nd camera and Music by Cyndia Pickering (aka Syvi Alli) & others
Featuring Antero Alli, Camille Hildebrandt, Julian Simeon, Joy S. Laughter,
Gavin Ropke, Troy Skeels, Kenny Telesco, Steven Miller, Richard Bradshaw,
Meta Sean Dougherty, Marganne Hesch, Ray Turchetti, and Randall Ota.
Produced by ParaTheatrical ReSearch. A non-union production.
about the filmmaker
ANTERO ALLI has been developing his paratheatre medium since 1977 (as documented in his book, "Towards an Archeology of the Soul" and seven videos. Alli's 2005 docufiction feature film, "The Greater Circulation", incoporates paratheatre performances in a critically acclaimed cinematic treatment of poet Rainer Maria Rilke's "Requiem for a Friend". (click photo for Alli paratheatre bio)
Completed works, clips, vision statement, reviews