Pestera, 2018

Ialomitei Monastery, Romania

Filming rig inside templeAbove: Filming Pestera using a motorised filming mast, image © Julie Marsh 
Working in collaboration with the monastic community a site-specific film was made in the Ialomitei Monastery, an Orthodox Christian temple in Romania. Every inch of the ceiling dome is spectacularly decorated with paintings, and it was agreed that anything above the altar could be filmed during the Eucharistic service. A motorised filming mast was designed and constructed within the monastery to extend to a height of 7.3m and slowly retract while filming the ceiling.

The camera faces upwards for the entire film slowly revealing the ceiling dome and architecture of the space, as the perspective alters so does the perception of the space. The recorded footage is then projected back onto the ceiling using the same motorized rig allowing the film representation to map the real architectural site drawing our attention to the symbolic readings of the site. The chanting and choral singing, the incense, and the ritual movements of the priest and acolytes are all captured by the sound recorder attached to the filming rig. As the sound recorder physically moves through the space the acoustics affect the sound recording and subsequent playback.