Project for “Off the Wall: Artists at Work”
at The Jewish Museum New York
March 16-27, 2008
JAMS utilizes the motion graphics software program After Effects to make animated video Mandalas out of the Museum’s Judaica collection and selected names of the Hebrew God. It transforms these objects and Hebrew letters into mystical abstractions.
In this project, I am utilizing the Mandala - which is the sacred meditation device in Eastern religions, particularly Tibetan Buddhism -- for a Jewish artistic practice. These JAMS can be viewed as a device or "spiritual technology" to access the divine through meditating on animated ritual objects. The traditional Mandala form in Tibetan Buddhism is usually a 4 quadrant one but my hybrid Jewish Mandalas utilize 6 points - thus referencing the Magen David form in addition to their use of Judaica . However, there are also specifically Jewish sources of inspiration for my project- specifically the art of the Mizrach, an aesthetic device used to direct prayer and contemplation.
Meanwhile, this project crosses these traditional spiritual pursuits with more secular ecstatic pursuits i.e. contemporary rave culture and psychedelic culture. These JAMS can be appreciated on the level of art and aesthetic experience as purely beautiful forms that transform Jewish ritual objects into animated abstractions.
JAM 2 which is posted on this website is one in a series of 5. The series is for sale in a limited edition.
Artist: Melissa Shiff
Music: Reena Katz
Curator: Andrew Ingall