Apr 23, 2014

Between Wind and Stick

Between Wind and Stick evolves around an audio recording with different ritual healers in which they talk about a spirit-possession ritual practiced near the strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf. They explain about various possessing ‘winds’ believed to come from across seas as far as India and east Africa (the historical trade route) that diffuse permanently inside and among the body of men and women, becoming their life time appendage and thus making them members of a cult group called ‘people of air’. Interlacing extraterritorial winds, seas and lands with the body through these possession rituals is a means towards a bodily ‘cartography’ of a very different geopolitics. A central device in these possession rituals is the rattan stick. Picked and decorated according to the winds’ demands, it is used first as a beating stick by the shaman to release the possessed, and then as a dancing cane by the wind while the affected goes into trance. Almost each wind or possessed person has an own specific rattan stick, at once an afflicting and fulfilling device for negotiation. ‘Between Wind and Stick’ is an attempt in understanding possession as a subjectivity defined by the fluid intersecting of body and geography.

sound recording of interviews with possession cult practitioners on Gheshm Island and in the Bandar Abbas port city in south Iran, 2014.

Audio recording in order of appearance:

Mama Safia (ritual healer) and her daughter, Ghanbar Rastgou (musician and ritual healer), Iran Dezhgani (local writer and researcher), Baba Ali (ritual healer), Baba Gholam and Baba Issa Ghaderi (ritual healers).

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