In nature, a fata morgana is a mirage or illusion of the most spectacular kind, a waking reverie that appears as a formidable wall, a distant city or a shimmering expanse of rock and sea. Named after the legendary enchantress Morgaine le Fay, fata morgana-like tricks of perception charm us in our own cultural myths and narratives whether in the expanses of a filmic terrain, the gaps and stutters of our treasured archives or the dark depths of the human mind and psyche.
Drawing inspiration from nature’s unique aesthetics, ICI’s FATA MORGANA is structured as part Salon, part Moose Lodge theatrics, part underground film screening and all inventive play; it is a monthly session of collective inquiry and research that simultaneously builds and undermines its own premise. Each evening will focus on a field of inquiry that is clear, visible, spectacular, and measurable enough to reside in a shareable, filmic form even as its very foundation, like nature’s mirages, might be unstable or unresolved (irresolvable). This is an exciting but largely uncharted terrain– alternately shadowy and luminous, stable and slippery, inviting and challenging, and it can produce an endless array of subjective experiences among those who experience it.
Each evening will start with a short session of collective ICI research called “GO-BE-GO.” Drawing inspiration from Eastern Mandalas, 60s group dynamics and current visual theory, ICI associates and invited guests will engage a host of objects in a silent, purely visual conversation. By coaxing, demanding, finding, testing, rejecting, and re-finding meaning from a pile of object remainders and sediments, narrative scrapes and scraps, theoretical attempts and blanks, the group of researchers will quickly chart the terrain for that evening’s fata morgana – a film screening, a performance, a lecture or some other type of ‘cultural mirage.’ Through the unplanned for but inescapable questions posed by the session of Go-Be-Go, we hope to create a simple but powerful palliative for the distracted and superficial vision we so often see at film screenings or public lectures. ICI’s FATA MORGANA seeks to awaken not anesthetize the creative mind.
FATA MORGANA celebrates the ICI’s 2011-2013 research theme of Phantom Worlds.
The first session of FATA MORGANA took place on February 20, 2013. The March and April installments were canceled due to mandated street work by the City of Los Angeles.
We will resume FATA MORGANA in 2014.