Single Channel Installation, Full HD video, colour, sound
Holy Precursor is a meditation on the cycle of presence and absence, the after-life of traces, and nature as a solemn witness of history in the present. The video explores the juxtaposition of the rural everyday and fragments of ancient holy practices in the fabric of buildings in a village in Eastern Anatolia, Turkey. In the Holy Precursor the eye touches and the ear sees: deciphering the palimpsest that is the physical world, moving between sediments of ancient and recent history in landscapes, stones and songs, immersed in a rhythm of visual and auditory hallucination. Holy Precursor is set in and around a Kurdish village which was built on the site of the ancient Armenian monastery of Surb Karapet, one of the most important sites of Armenian pilgrimage. Partially destroyed during the Armenian genocide in 1915, the monastery was finally reduced to rubble by the Turkish military in the 1960s as part of an ongoing practice aimed at erasing all signs of Armenian cultural heritage in Turkey. The village was built using the stones of the blown-up remains of the monastery. Holy Precursor continues Orlow’s pre-occupation with history as a concern of the present and his exploration of different image-regimes and narrative modes vis-à-vis the impossibility of representation. Focusing as much on what is not seen, Holy Precursor connects with Orlow’s interest in blind spots and forms of haunting through an exploration of the spatial, pictorial and auditory conditions of experience.