Ritual in Transfigured Time – Maya Deren (1946)

In her fourth complete film, Ritual in Transfigured Time (1946), Maya Deren uses movement and dance together with movement suggested by the ‘cinematic stage’ that is also mobile and volatile itself, in order to create a ritualistic procedure or a metamorphosis. As she writes in one of her program notes, “A ritual is an action that it seeks the realization of its purpose through the exercise of form, […] it’s an inversion towards life, the passage from sterile winter into fertile spring; mortality into immortality; the child-son into the man-father; or, as in this film, the widow into the bride”. The two professional dancers, Franck Westbrook and Rita Christiani are complemented by a mass of people moving in circles around them and also two more main characters Maya Deren and Anais Nin.


Several recordings of individual pitched and non pitched percussion instruments were made in Stockhausen Studio in The Hague on November and December 2014 with Natalia Alvarez – Arenas . This gave me the raw sound materials for working on the electronics.

Ritual in Transfigured Time (2015) can be performed in two versions. The electronic version is presented here.

The live version requires a setup of one Vibraphone, three different Kenong drums (or other vibrant metallic surfaces), a small gong, three pitch differentiated empty bottles, three different woodblocks (or other wooden surfaces), three or more different djembes, a foot drum and a tambourine (pandero). The piece is written for one percussionist.

The piece have been performed live by Natalia Alvarez – Arenas in De Nieuwe Regentes in The Hague during the Silent Film Festival of 2015, in the Open Day 2015 of the Royal Conservatory in The Hague and in Korzo Theater during the Spring Festival 2015 organized by the Royal Conservatory of the Hague. It was also performed during Natalia’s final Master exam. The electronic version have been presented in the alternative artistic platform HOMEGROWN in The Hague (NL) and at Polytechno in Corfu (GR).

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