By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – On Thursday, October 29th at Templo Gávea, French independent filmmaker, photographer, experimental ethnographer and sound artist, Vincent Moon will present a free screening of his works and films as well as give a talk about his current project, ‘Hibridos’, a multimedia exploration of spirituality, communal gatherings and the observances of the sacred in Brazil.
Born Mathieu Saura in Paris, France in 1979, Moon began his creative career as a photographer. Telling The Rio Times that he was initially inspired by the desire to learn how to “frame the world,” Moon grew as an artist and began working with film, a medium that would allow him to bring movement and, more importantly, sounds into his frames.
A lifelong lover of music and an avid concertgoer, Moon made friends during many shows in Paris with musicians like the American band, The National. He began recording live performances in less traditional and more intimate settings.
This led to the creation of the music website, La Blogotheque with Christophe Abric and the website’s popular video podcast ‘Concert à Emporter / Take Away Shows.’ The project has featured live performances by both smaller artists and bigger names in the indie genre including The National, Grizzly Bear, The Kooks, My Brightest Diamond, Au Revoir Simone, Andrew Bird, Tom Jones, José Gonzaléz, and Arcade Fire, who performed in an elevator for the series.
The success of the Take Away Shows caught the attention of more artists, leading Moon to work with Michael Stipe and R.E.M., Beirut, and Efterklang, among others. Additionally, Moon’s photos were used for the cover of The National’s album, Alligator and he shot two videos for the band.
It 2008, feeling the need to travel and see the world, Moon decided to leave Paris and take on a nomadic lifestyle. He began traveling the world with his backpack, camera, and computer. A believer in accidents and happy encounters, Moon followed where the wind took him while always listening to the sounds he found along the way.
When asked what led to move, Moon told The Rio Times: “Curiosity and the desire to never do the same thing twice. I was living in Paris for enough long, and getting a little bit too comfortable in a lifestyle made up of filming the ‘coolest’ bands passing thru town. I left quickly, leaving many things behind, without any clear idea of where I was going – but I had a camera and a sound recorder in my backpack.”
Adding, “That was sufficient to invent a nomadic life ‘with a cause’, a mission to pull the strings of music anywhere I would end up. It took me on a whirlwind through many places I had never heard about, in quest for sounds and, little by little, deeply rooted cultures.”
Moon created the Collection Petites Planètes music label during his journeys and began working with locals in the places he traveled to, asking what his should film at that moment and what was important at that time.
As he continued to travel, Moon began to further develop his interest in traditional music and the ways that music brought people together. This led to a deeper focus on the communal aspects of spirtual music and eventually led to Brazil and the study of Umbanda.
“The search for sound became an investigation on how do we live together, and what’s possible to invent with all those experiences,” said Moon. “This desire for something else, away from my understanding and my cultural background, took me by surprise towards the sacred – all music comes from there. And the ancient cults brought me to the new ones. And so I ended up in Brazil, searching for the possible paths of tomorrow’s societies.”
Currently a Rio de Janeiro resident, Moon is living in the country as his works on the ‘Híbridos’ project with Priscilla Telmon. Their idea was to create a multimedia exploration of the sacred from Afro-Brazilian beliefs to newer syncretic aspects around Brazil.
When asked how he became interested in Umbanda and his goals for ‘Híbridos,’ Moon said; “The feeling, more than a clear idea, that a ‘rebirth’ of spirituality was on its way, took form (not only though) in the ‘religions’ (I am very careful with such words) that I encountered in Brazil – Umbanda and its constant ability to integrate other elements was quickly fascinating – I discovered it in 2010, in my first voyage to Brazil, and made a short film about it.”
“That led me to build a bigger project, a deeper one, searching for all those different approaches to the invisible that this land gave birth to. ‘Híbridos’, as we named it (I am making this with Priscilla Telmon, the perfect partner for such a spiritual crime), is not only a research on Afro-Brazilian rituals (which have been pretty well documented in the past) but also of Santo Daime, Kardecism, Jurema Sagrada, all the popular aspects of spirituality in Carnivals and other ‘profane’ masses, until the new experiences linking Ayahuasca, Catholicism, Umbanda and so on, all in the time of a long night with the entities. Our goal is, probably, to celebrate this living diversity of Brazil, and encountering personal paths to play a bit more with the forms – of cinema, of music, of communities, of creation in general.”
Alex Minkin of Ticún Brasil told The Rio Times: “The Híbridos project has unique materials on Brazilian spirituality that Vincent gathered all over Brazil. We welcome those interested in the topic to come on Thursday and also to contact us – we need help with translations of some the amazing interviews.”
“The event on Thursday is not organized by Ticun, but we are one of the promoters, as it’s our mission to create mutual inspirations for Brazilian and international art communities via innovative cultural programs,” added Minkin who is currently working on an English language book about Umbanda.
When asked what attendees could expect from the screening and talk portions of Thursday’s event, Moon said; “I never liked to prepare much, be it in the films I make or the films I show. So let’s call it an open night, welcoming the winds and the various energies of the people present, a film screening as a DJ set or a therapeutic chaos, traveling musically and visually to places like Chechnya, Java, Valparaiso, Hanoi, Crimea, Ethiopia, and finally, Brazil. Only enchanted lands.”
During the event on Thursday, empanadas from Che Boludo Empanada and tropica beer will also be available for purchase. For more information about the event see the Facebook event page and for more information about Vincent Moon, ‘Híbridos’, and other projects see Moon’s website.
What: Vincent Moon Film Screening and Talk
When: Thursday, October 29th, 7PM
Where: Templo Gávea, Rua Duque Estrada, 41, Gávea