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Up, Up, and Away | Creative Media Capstone Project | Cappadocia, Turkey
07:31
AJ Kret

Up, Up, and Away | Creative Media Capstone Project | Cappadocia, Turkey

/// This was an installation in the Champlain College Gallery, in Burlington, VT in April 2022. As the viewer walks through the curtains, the film is projected from behind, with speakers on the left and right. There was a space heater, and a light, to mimic the heat and light of the fire from the hot air balloon. /// Enter the curtains, and immediately become immersed in the projection of “Up, Up, and Away”, an auditory, thermoreceptive, and visual hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia, Turkey. The whirling dervishes of Turkey spin in circles for minutes on end, dissociating into a trance state, and transcending from reality, meditating alongside the spiritual Sufi music. Mevlânâ (Rumi), a 13th-century Persian poet, originally created the practice for the weekly remembrance of God. As it later formed, it became the ritual of releasing the ego and being spiritually reborn to the truth. Juxtaposed to the dervishes, the motion of the hot air balloon reflects the release of control through the mere incapacity to steer. The experience of riding in the balloon becomes a three-hour meditation of its own, with the only option of ascending and descending, dawn to daylight. This meditation is condensed to seven minutes; crawling through the air of Cappadocia, as the incorporeal Sufi music guides you along. “[Sufism] is the dimension of Islamic mysticism that transports the seeker on the path of spiritual attainment into higher states of consciousness that promise spiritual intoxication (wajd) and a unique and intimate union, even annihilation (fanāʾ ), in the supreme being. This emotional expression of faith is intensified and externalized in elaborate forms of meditation…” -Irene Markoff