The movement of the dancer creates a geography that never was. With the turn of the foot, he makesneighbors of distant places. Being a film ritual, it is achieved not in spatial terms alone, but in terms of a Time created by the camera.
Maya Deren on _Ritual In Transfigured Time_ (vhs/ntsc) -
A ritual is an action distinguished
from all others in that it seeks realization of its purpose through the
exercise of form. In this sense ritual is art; and even historically, all
art derives from ritual. In ritual theform is the meaning. More specifically,
the quality of movement itself is not a merely decorative factor ;it is
the meaning itself of the movement. In this sense, this film is a dance.
Maya Deren on _The Very Eye of Night_ (vhs/ntsc) -
The laws of macrocosm and
of microcosm are alike. Travel in the interior is as a voyage
in outer space: we must in each case
burst past the circumference of our surface - our here-space and/or now-time
- and, cut loose from the anchorage of
an absolute, fixed center, enter worlds where the relationship of parts
is the sole gravity.
This is a ballet of night, entirely in the negative, in which the dancers
are constellations which orbit and revolve
in the night sky.
Maya on _Meshes Of The Afternoon_ (vhs/ntsc) -
The mind begins with the
matter at hand - the incidental curve of a road or the accidental movement
of a passing figure. As it perceives
these it possesses them as images, as the stuff of which it composes itsnight
and day dreams
in the forms of its desires and despairs. But the mind is not completely
master of these images; they are charged
with the primal, indestructible energy of their origin - matter. And it
may thus occur that, of an afternoon,
these restive captives of memory
- refreshed by new contexts andreleased by the lax discipline of sleep
- may triumphantly regain the province of actuality.
Maya Deren on _At Land_ (vhs/ntsc) -
The universe was once conceived
as a vast preserve, landscaped for heroes, plotted to provide them withappropriate
adventures. The rules were known and respected, the adversaries honorable,
Today the rules are ambiguous, the adversary is concealed in aliases, the
oracles broadcast a babble of contradictions.
One struggles to preserve, in the midst of such relentless metamorphosis,
a constancy of personal identity.
Her parents fled the Russian Revolution, and wound up in America. The Derenkowskis had no idea their little Eleanora would grow up to be a socialist and voodoo priestess, in the Greenwich Village section of New York City.
Her first husband, Alexander Hammid, was a successful photographer. He trained her in camerawork and collaborated on her earliest filmic efforts. Their first and best-known was "Meshes of the Afternoon," made in 1943.
Later, Deren was associated with the Katherine Dunham dance troupe. She produced films with members of that group, including Antony Tudor. "Ritual in Transfigured Time" incorporated everyday movements into dancelike arrangements, with the help of slow-motion effects.
After being granted the first film-related Guggenheim fellowship, she traveled to Haiti to study local religious practices. Deren not only wrote a respected book on the subject, "Divine Horsemen," she became a convert to Voodoun as well.
She met Teiji Ito when he
was a fifteen year old runaway. They later married, and he stayed with
her until her death in 1961. He wrote musical scores for her projects;
then he completed her last film, "Divine Horsemen: The Living Gods of Haiti,"
posthumously. His third wife, Cherel Ito, became executor of the Deren
Date of birth (location)
29 April 1917,
Date of death
Filmography as: Director, Actress
1.Ritual in Transfigured Time (1946)
2.At Land (1944)
3.Meshes of the Afternoon (1943)