Beacon Project

Tea Ceremony

Tea Ceremony imagines an alternate universe where sonic landscape, animated oil paints, and film coalesce to relay the secrets, inner monologue, memory, and subconscious of four close friends engaging in the queered and ancestral ritual of tea preparation

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Tea Ceremony will feature a looped 3 minute film shot by Wren Tian-Morris which depicts 4 close friends exchanging cultural practices pertaining to tea preparation and hospitality. The short film first portrays each subject in their home spaces gathering their ingredients, falling into blissful habitute, recalling sacred customs. While each subject begins to prepare their tea, Darcie Bernhardt’s animated and hand-drawn oil paint renderings fill up space around them relaying their inner monologue, memory, and subconscious - creating alternate liminalities of worship, displacement, and joy. The film transitions to the friends now sharing in ancestral customs of tea together, companionate and reverent. The animated oil paintings reconfigure and blur conjuring a futurist temporality of queerd time and space existing as result of shared cultural tradition intersecting with the sonance of queer chosen family.

In the illustrated subconscious we offer multidimensional images of matriarchs from memory, dreams of homelands untouched by colonialism, fast hand preparing food, aunty’s gossiping in morning light, prayer, fasting, devotion, love, pride, honour, vast generations, wide ocean.

There is no dialogue in the film, however the poetic emotionality of the work will be translated to english subtitles written by Francesca Ekwuyasi and will appear as Closed Captioning. The soundscape accompaniment composed and performed by Carmel Farahbakhsh will consist of looped violin tracks with sonic texture and melody that is reminiscent of each personality, musical taste, conversation style, and tea custom. There will be samples embedded in the sonic landscapes of sounds that hold meaning to each person such as nabot being stirred, saffron being ground, boat on water, food sizzling on high heat, fishing line breaking water, sounds of night, storytelling around a crowded table.

We aim to project the animated video on an outdoor projector screen outdoors, and/or against a building, or inside a white-walls space with the soundscape coming through a portable PA system. It is not necessary for the audience to watch the entire duration of the film as the storyline will be non-linear. The visual and sonic elements of the project interact as a way to demonstrate artefacts of shared experience – archiving significant memory as an act of healing the limitations of time, distance, borders.

Artistically, we see this as a way to honour our various customs, familial legacies known and unknown, visually and sonically archive memory, grieve our various displacements, and celebrate in our findings of new family - of each other. We also interpret this work as a cultural ritual which allows us to imagine futures where our queerness is holy, our ancestors are resurrected, our healing is eminent, our traditional practices are accessible, our teachers are restored, borders dissolve and our chosen and biological families travel freely.

Digital Art Storytelling