blackbirdonline journalSpring 2010  Vol. 9  No. 1
MARILYN FREEMAN  |  Video Essay Suite


Contributor’s Commentary
My current work originates at the intersection of faith and religious alienation where reverence and sacrilege collide and ramify. I’m deeply interested in the theories and transforming nature of autobiography and self-representation, and in relationships between the personal and transpersonal in creative nonfiction, contemplative practices, and contemporary art. I think of art as the process—and the artifacts, if any—of endeavoring to perfect the expression of an evertransforming life: a life examined, conscious, and intentional, creatively engaged in divining the mysteries of existence. I am a process-based, interdisciplinary artist working in experimental modes with time-based media: writing, directing, shooting, and editing video, and scoring sound or silence frame-by-frame. The recorded word is often central to my work. Increasingly, the artifacts of my creative practice are personal, meditative, and lyric video essays and video art.

Baptism emerged out of a nagging urge to examine how at odds I’d always been with the name I was given, Marilyn. I started a writing process that yielded a personal essay. And then, lip-synching scenes began appearing to me—a rotating cast of Marilyns trying to lip-synch the telling of my story—and that concept became central to the video treatment. Working on Baptism made me want to go further—to use the framework of each of the Seven Holy Sacraments to interrogate growing up under the influence of the Catholic Church. I’d burned a lot of energy trying to hold the conflicts of my childhood religion at bay; once I decided to move toward that discord with creative intentions I shifted into rich liminal territory between childhood and adulthood, doctrine and discovery, fear and faith. That decision was a defining moment, and since then I’ve found myself in a profoundly generative dialogue with creativity and spirituality.

Seven Holy Sacraments attempts a mythopoeic exploration. I mine and reimagine the personal myths and mysteries of my own life from birth to death, Baptism to Extreme Unction, through multiple creative spheres, generating a range of artifacts: essays for the page and the frame, video art, and installations. Baptism is the first in that series.  

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