Invocaciones: Instrucciones crowlianas

This enchanting piece by Monica Delgado is a cinematic cauldron: it mixes and mashes up imagery taken from nine esoteric experimental films. The ideas and writings of English occultist Aleister Crowley were the starting point for Delgado’s video. Even though Crowley’s beliefs were highly contested (read: he was a charlatan), his alternative and pagan search for the divine resonated with filmmakers, most notably with Kenneth Anger.


The films featured in this montage (in addition to Anger, it uses excerpts from films by Maya Deren and Marcel Duchamp, Curtis Harrington and Harry Smith) all express a mystical desire to invoke or experience divinity. Delgado’s smart grouping of similar shots, poses and moods brings out that shared ambition. The video essay is divided into three stages. The first stage reaches for the divine, with characters and the camera setting their sights on the skies. In the second stage, the focus is on ceremonial stances and on the human body as a conduit to connect to the universe. The third stage crosses the threshold of reality into another realm entirely.


This video essay, published by Mexican magazine Correspondencias, is a great example of how insightful analysis can be the result of working with moods and movements just as much as it can come from poring over theoretical texts. This affective piece is a ritual in its own right: it conjures up comprehension through its use of cinematic ceremonies.