In this short, experimental film, a human goes through stages of self-purification to become the Firebird. The film was shot in Death Valley, CA on Super8 Ektachrome film, in collaboration with SOVO// Projects (Los Angeles). Firebird enacts a ritual designed by Kythe Heller and was directed by Marizó Siller, performed by Camilo Cienfuegos, and produced by Farida Amar. Please see below for a screening schedule.

Marizo Siller and Farida Amar interviewed by Kythe Heller.

Transcribed by Grace Jackson.

Next screenings of this film: 4/5/21 - Harvard 9/15/21 - Issue 8 Release Exhibition

Past Screenings:
3/21/21 - Conference of the Birds
12/21/20 - Phoenix Festival Preview
10/18/20 - Arrowsmith Book Release
KH: How are things with you, Marizó?

MS: I went to Mexico for a very long time.

KH: I heard from Farida that you were in Mexico with your family and working also on the sound for the film.

MS: Yeah, the sun was made by a very close friend of mine. From my hometown.

KH: Where in Mexico were you?

MS: Monterey is like Northeast. Yeah.

KH: I wish I knew Mexico better. It's a place that I really have so much longed to travel, you know, I've just been there very briefly. My sister lives in Tucson, Arizona. So we went to visit her friends who live over the border. That's the only time I've been.

MS: Yeah, it's pretty cool. And there's a little bit of everything all over like the country and where I live. What's really beautiful about it. It's like surrounded by mountains. So inside of this bowl of mountains, like wherever direction you look, do you see like these giant.

Wow. I love that.  I've heard also such good things from friends about all the arts that are happening in Mexico.  it seems like there's really a huge thriving art scene, maybe particularly in Mexico city and  lots of experimental stuff going on, involved in all of that.

Have you been involved with that? Uh, not as much. I see. I feel like when I arrived to LA, there, there was like a huge, like experimental cinema, happening. But I, since I was here, I wasn't able to dive into it, but I know like there's also a lot of dance going on. Hmm. Music.

You had training in dance before starting film, or are you still doing choreography or is it just  blending in to the films? 

I've always been interested in merging dance in cinema, but I always approach it from a very intuitive place. I had training in both of them separately, but not as one. So like learning about in the certificate program is kinda cool. Cause it's like focused on both of them as one, you know, screen dancing.

What is your background as an artist and how did you come to make this project with the Firebird film? My background is in

experimental filmmaking. I would say, um, I work in, in several, like. Areas of filmmaking, but the one that I feel more most comfortable in is, um, like when I get to experiment in, get out over like the lines of more traditional, like film work, um, in the way that I got to participate on this was. Cause through Friday, I met you.

And then through using the Firebird or the Phoenix festival,

are there certain techniques, are there certain techniques that you really love to use in experimental filmmaking? Or are there certain like, or what kind of work have you made in the past? Like you were talking about dance before in such an interesting way. Um, so in, in the past, I used to be part of this contemporary dance company and I was always very interested in video art.

So I have like a few pieces that involve dance.

But it was always like very intuitive. Um, I didn't know exactly what I was doing and when incorporating dance in my field, I didn't even know that there was a goal. Um,

How do you call it like branch of filmmaking that is screen dancing. Um, but yeah, I, when I do photography too, and when I do photography, I really enjoy like messing the film up.

Cause I, I love like. Randomness.

Oh God. I'm so glad you said that. I, I love doing things when they are not perfectly plan,

because it's, again, like it's more about working with what you got and like with your senses. And having like, like it's good to have a plan, but then like being able to accept that things change in these pants and things don't have to be perfect. That's something that I love about practicing randomness in projects.

Like, Oh, if I throw these chemical on this film, what's going to happen and then just something beautiful comes out of it. I love that. Wow. That's so great. It seems also, I wish I could see some of your other films, you know, because just your approach. It has so much, um, Sense of space in it. Like, what I get is this real sense of spaciousness and intimacy, like,

like trying to show the movements. Um, but it's really showing like an inside world. Oh, I'll show you some of my other stuff. Um, I'm still kind of shy about showing, um, my work. Cause I, I am still working on like finding my voice and my style

and yeah, it's so unique though. Like what you did with a Firebird film, like it's really interesting and different than other films that I've seen, you know, and everyone envisioned that they're like, They really love it. Like, especially the woman that's been making all of the Phoenix woodblock cuts. I don't know if you've seen some of those.

She keeps on saying, I really loved that. Phoenix, the Firebird film, you know, so kind of happy. And to be honest is like the project that's so far I've loved the most. And I am very like, happy to share. I feel like it's still on that. That has a style that I would call my own and that I would, without any, like, I want to show it to everyone.

Like my other films. I am a little more like reserved cause, um, I don't know. Yeah. There's something so distinctive about it, you know, like it just feels. It stays in the mind. It's like a kind of reverberates in your mind, you know, like it's like a dream that you are remembering instead of something, you know, I feel like I dreamed that film it's so much close inside, you know?

It's like, it's really interesting.


Oh Friday then, um, being like you have to work with guys, like, like you, two stories, like match up so well that I'm sure you're gonna like, be able to like, like show her, her vision, you know, like translate words into, into images. Yeah. I think she told you guys, or maybe I told you when I like, when I met with you and Camilo before, but, um, that book, like a lot of those things are real, you know, it reads kind of like a dream, but when I was like a teenager, adolescent, like I, I left a really abusive home and I was living and just being a kid on the street for a while.

And. So a lot of those things are like memories that I had from that time, but, or like of people that I met. So there's sort of, I mean, it was really, it's so important to me that the, the poems speak for like all, all burning girls, you know, like so many of us have these, um, like difficult things in our past that.

We've had to kind of emerge from, you know, so for me, the Phoenix really means, you know, whatever it is in the spirit of you then goes through something really difficult and it doesn't die. And somehow like it's reborn, um, and finds, uh, like has to reinvent yourself all over again. Like that's why I was so amazed by Camilo.

Cause I feel like. Even though her life and its experiences is so different than mine. Um, I just felt like she understood it on such a deep level, but it was about this kind of purification from despair, you know, and from whatever was so difficult and, um, you know, like whatever spirit had to. Become alive in her again, you know, that every, like the material is so human, that you can take it and whatever your experience is, like, if you are a burning girl, you know it, you know, and I felt like you understood that too in each of us, you know, are from different places.

And I don't know, obviously like all of the private things from your life, but. I just feel a depth and I feel like, like we can understand each other on that level.

Yeah. This kind of, um, this kind of moves into the next question I wanted to ask you because like part of the art collective vision lab is it's an art collector. All the people are. In some way, uh, like really working with spirituality in their work. And I really sense that so much in your work, but I'm wondering if you have a particular relationship with spirituality, you know, so the way I think about like spirituality, spirituality is like,

I guess it's like any way that you can connect with this divine energy, right. Any way or form. And I feel like, as I was telling you, like in, in what I do working with randomness is one of them because. It feels like when I find like, when I'm walking around and I noticed something, it feels like a clue, right?

The random things. Do you get that?

And it's like, it's like letting yourself be guided, I think, or being open.


being open, like to

do all this, like I guess like lessons that are around these clues, I feel like.

I don't know.

And it was like, by following these clues, it's almost like an answer. Like the projects become like a little. Or the answer to like,

yeah. Do you ever feel like you're holding on to like the secret question and following all the clues, like the piece you make without even realizing it is almost like answering a question that you had, or maybe opening up the question into something else or different? Yes, because I sometimes feel that I work.

I see, and I started not sure like what it's going to be. And then as I start threading it, I realized at the end that I dunno it was some something that I wanted to answer before I was aware, like it worked, my feelings were working on it, but my, my, the more structured part of my brain was like, Not aware of it

totally makes sense to me. It totally makes sense to me. Um,

what, okay, so another question I wanted to ask is, um, what do you think about. Um, the future, you know, like there's like one thing that vision lab, as an art collective is thinking about is like how to, how to reclaim, um, kind of the ability to vision or to dream in a way that's healthy and helpful for people.

So people aren't like some people are making work that really addresses. Different problems or issues in society or ecology or politics or race or all these things that are so important. And so basically like fucked up in society. And so, you know, everybody in the group like cares about all of this stuff and cares about trying to like make, um, You know, life better for everyone.

And some, you know, some of the work is about that. Some work is not directly about that or whatever. Like everybody's just making whatever they're making, but there's this sense of like wanting to vision a better world, you know, or like a better, more healthy space for people to relate to each other in, um, like maybe some sort of utopian idea.

But, um, I was wondering if you had any ideas along that. Way of thinking, like, are there, are there any issues that you feel really strongly about or is there like a way of thinking about the future or about how to make art that engages with the world in a better way?

I think I will be hard to answer it. How to make art

that is going to help the world in a better way. Cause I, I think that, Hmm.

Cause at least for me, it's always like, bear. How do like. Help the people around you. So my pieces have like this,

how do you say it? Name intention. And I feel like a lot of artists too, like have like. Make a, make a good intention, Christine.

Yeah. So, I mean, if you were speaking of your films, almost like tiny prayers, you know, I mean, there's something that's so beautiful is that this word precarious in, um, in Spanish actually the earth, like it means precarious or like fragile, you know, But at the same time, it means, um, Percario is also from the Latin word for prayer.

So everything that is most fragile and most kind of, um, tender, you know, like , that's also a prayer. And so I'm thinking about that word when you're talking about the way that you think about art and the kind of intention of it. Do you think there's a connection with that or, or a diff or are you thinking about it in a different way?

And like, it's interesting that you mentioned that because when I was reading the questions last night, um, it just kept coming back. Oh, how, how these like, projects where like, A prayer in your own way, you know, or any piece of art here?

Um, I don't know.


well what's the last question. Yeah. The last question was kind of about the visionary, you know, Like, do you have any visionary impulses or what does that even mean to you? I mean, it's kind of interesting because film is a visual medium, as well as auditory medium, but like, how do you think about the visionary.


Let me say, like

Nika an artist or a person that brings to life

divisions of the collective consciousness or all of those things that like connect all of us, but. In some way,

but they're like not obscured, but

not like, like they're kind of difficult to see. So it's kind of like the role of the artist to like, I don't know.

So kind of like unveiled them in a way.

Cause then also that is the same. That is the same thing. Like, like visionaries in,

like I was talking to a friend last night, like. Making like in tribes where like the elders would, we'll do these Rachel's right. And we'll have these visions and then they will communicate these to the, to the rest of, of the people you like. It's kind of something they've like similar.

I feel like your films do that, that they are trying to communicate a vision or a dream. You know, I feel like that's what they do. No.

Are there any other things that you'd like to talk about or that you think I should ask you about for this interview or anything that you wanted to mention about. Your other work or what you're up to?

No, I'm not sure, but this just made me think, how is.

Important to also like on bail oneself, because as I was telling you, like at the beginning, sometimes it's difficult for me to share my work

but then it's like, then it links to a thing of like, self-love like, how are you going to. Love someone, if you don't love yourself. So then it's like, how am I going to help others see this vision? If I cannot see,

I know exactly what you're talking about. It took me so long to publish this book of Tom's. Oh my God. I should've published it like 10 years ago. It's so it's so scary to be it, to like, show something real about yourself. You know, it really is, but I think it's so worth it. And people are always telling me that, that I need to like share more of myself, but at the same time, you don't want to be hurt, you know, so, but I think that it requires a kind of bravery and it's so worth it because really the work is so important and it's really ultimately about.

The work, being able to live and have that visionary power. And it ultimately, it doesn't like the self doesn't really matter that much because the real thing is not the stories of the self. It's actually about the thing that you're tapping into. Yeah.

Thank you so much for taking the time out of your day to talk to me, I really appreciate it. Um, I'm going to send the, um, audio for this interview into a, um, this thing called de script, which basically creates a transcript and I'll try to like, Edit it a little bit and then share it with you to make sure that it's exactly what you'd want.


I know I'm doing all these different pieces. Yeah. So, um, I'll be in touch really soon. What, what is the best way to be in, to be in touch with you just over text or what? Um, Is probably the best. And then, um, I'm free whenever the days it's usually at room. Cause I have class in the morning.

Yeah. So after noon, your time, which is 3:00 PM my time. So that's a better time for you. Great, great. Okay. I will. I'll. Connect you to all these folks and we can kind of like, see what happens next. It's so funny because when we first had that conversation, like I was looking at our earlier text messages and it was like, Oh, I'd love to collaborate.

I'd love to collaborate. It's happening. It's so cool. You know? I really appreciate the fact that you would be willing to work on this, you know? Cause I, I was like, Oh, she's probably like way too dizzy, but I think it's actually like a very short project, like a small project, but it's so beautiful. And I think it deserves to be like of this fared, beautiful little Juul of a piece.

You know, I tried, I made it a tiny bit longer. Uh, I'll send it to you so you can check it out and it's extending the music too. Cool. I think that's great. I think that's great because the only thing that I thought about it when I watched it is just, I felt like I wanted to be able to take in the feeling of it.

You know, like there were like, I almost wished. That there were moments like maybe particularly at the end where I could just like, hold myself in the image just as like, it was lingering somehow, like lingering before it ended. Yeah. That was just the only feeling I had about it. So maybe you kind of intuited all of that anyway, if you were stretching it out a little bit.

Yeah. I wish I had the ending is long, but. I was like, so, Oh, because of the footage itself. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Well, you can just do what you do, you know, that's, that's all we can do, but it's so gorgeous. All right. Okay. So thank you. I'll be in touch. Thank you so much.

Farida Amar, interviewed by Kythe Heller

[00:00:00] Farida: Okay.

Kythe: Monster. Hello? What to see you here, back to that. We should run into each other

[00:01:00] Farida: on the internet, on the entire internet. Like the fact that we crossed paths.

Kythe: It's crazy. Isn't

Farida: it? Yeah.

Kythe: Are you in, where are you? LA Las Vegas? No,

Farida: I'm still in Vegas. I'll be here for a while for like another week,

Kythe: two or three

Farida: weeks.

It looks like that. Yeah. Like I'll probably have to take trips back to LA for different things, but I need to be here until I'm done with my license. So yeah.

Kythe: So are they, are they being good to you or are you learning a lot?

Farida: Yeah, I mean, basically like I should be done already, but the plane went back into maintenance.

Because I think I told you, like my landing gear didn't work and the, my engine died. And like, anyway, it was a really crazy day where the plane was just trying to kill me all day. So I had to stop my training up at the plane back and maintenance. Cause basically [00:02:00] like if you don't have landing gear, you can't land.

Kythe: So, so I mean, all of this sounds just insanely dangerous. Like, like what. Happened. You were up at 2000 feet when the landing gear didn't work and the engine died.

Farida: Well, I was, I was training, um, emergency descents, which is like, I don't know, like if you got a fire in your plane or something and you have to like get to the ground immediately.

Uh, so that it's like a really extreme maneuver that I was doing. And I was the middle of nowhere, like in the desert. Basically falling out of the sky sideways. And then, uh, when I was recovering from the descent, like climbing again, my wheels just like wouldn't retract. Cause you're supposed to bring the landing.

Basically you have to have them out because you're preparing to land and emergency landing. And then I was trying to bring them [00:03:00] back in as I was climbing and they wouldn't come in. So luckily in that case, they got stuck, but they got stuck in the down position, but I was still trying to like fix them and cycle them.

And then my engine died. So. Uh, it was like, okay, cause I had wheels, but they were just stuck down, not up, which is good, I guess. And then this, we took it to the plane to maintenance that day. And then the

Kythe: whole you're playing doing this. I mean, this seems like a pretty extreme kind of Mel.

Farida: Well, no, I mean like this stuff happens a little planes all the time, but um, with the engine.

They fixed it basically like two of the wires weren't wrapped correctly and they were chafing and they were sending the wrong, like the magnetos were sending the wrong electrical signal to the spark plugs and it was heating. It was basically like igniting the engine on evenly. So they fixed that. But then the landing gear.

They couldn't figure it out. [00:04:00] They had tried to cycle it, which means that they put it up on jacks. Like when you put your car up on jacks to change a tire, they do that with planes. And then they like try to retract and deploy the landing gear like repeatedly. And they did it like so many times and they had chief inspectors come and all these people trying to figure out what wrong with my plane, but it wouldn't show any problems on the ground.

Only in the air. So the mechanics, like couldn't fix it because when it was on the ground, they couldn't see the problem. So then they were like, well, we suggest that you just go back up, do it again and film it and then bring us the video, what happened? And I was like, okay. So we did, uh, we went up and we flew again.

And then this time the wheels got stuck in the up position. Instead of the down position, which is like not good. Uh, so we like had to manually deploy landing gear, which is like a whole fucking thing. It's really [00:05:00] annoying. And I'm not I'm, I don't, I'm surprised that I'm strong enough to do it actually.

Cause it was exhausting. And like, if I was any weaker, I don't think I would have been able to get my wheels down. And then we landed and we went back and we showed them what happened the second time. And then they. Basically just ran Len and Gary again, repeatedly to try to recreate the problem. And then they finally did.

So like, I guess the problem just had to get worse before it got better for them to be able to see it. Yeah. What if you end up dying though? I'm not going to die from like no landing gear, no one dies from that unless you're like really dumb and fly into a mountain. You're just going to

Kythe: even hearing about this.

Okay. All right. All right. All right. I mean, if I didn't love you so much, I just, I don't know.

Farida: It's basically like, like all the mediation is like this. It was like this in helicopters too. It's not like my plane is more dangerous than other things. It's just like, stuff happens, especially if you don't have, I mean, well, I dunno [00:06:00] stuff happens in brand new planes too, because they haven't been broken in and.

You usually, like if you buy a new plane, you pay a test pilot to fly it for the first hundred hours, because that's when everything goes wrong when it's like right out of the factory. Cause it hasn't been like used yet. New planes aren't necessarily better. Old planes are pretty good because they've been like broken in and everyone knows what the problems are with them, but like stuff.

I mean, things that happen to aircraft, basically humans aren't supposed to fly. So everything that we've designed, all these machines to try to get us in the air are like, We are all experiments and we're like learning about how they work still. Like when someone dies from something they're like, Oh, I guess we should fix that.

And maybe do it differently now, you know what I mean? And then they'll like redesign that part of an aircraft for the future. But, uh, we kind of like learn as we go with aviation, which is like the exciting thing about it, I guess. I don't know.

Kythe: So how are you feeling at this point about

Farida: all of [00:07:00] this? I feel like bummed that I can't fly right now.

Cause I've been grounded for like a week. So I'm kind of just here and it feels like for no reason, cause I'm not actually flying, but I'm not here for no reason. Like I'm I have to do ground school too. So I'm just focusing more on that and trying to get that finished in the meantime. And then I signed up to fly gliders.

Gliders are

Kythe: like

Farida: paragliding. No. Well, no, no. Uh, gliders are planes with no engine and they're really, really, really, really long thin wings sometime you'll find them, you'll know what I'm talking about and they have to be like towed by, uh, by a engine powered plane. And then they release you and you like glide.

You basically fall gracefully to the ground. So my training for that starts on Saturday and I'm really excited. Cool. So I'm going to learn gliders in the meantime until my plane is fixed. That's that's good. [00:08:00] Yeah. It's just like, at least I'm in the sky and I'm learning something, but everyone, what, like,

Kythe: here's just a tiny little idea for the back of your head.

Like, why don't you take this opportunity and make some kind of vision lab, project, like really in the next week, um, about planes and about your experience flying. It can even be very S like tiny Juul, like gorgeous

Farida: thing. I wish that you like, knew how much I'm studying right now. Like I have, I don't have a life even I'm barely even getting so stuff done.

And I'm like behind on all my work with no EMA and. Okay. If I don't study, then I won't pass this test. So like, I don't know.

Kythe: I thought maybe you were just sort of in a vacation mode because yeah,

Farida: no, no. I'm so far from vacation road, but I'm actually like, uh, probably a little bit behind. More behind that.

I would like to be on everything that I normally would [00:09:00] have to do because this flight training is interrupting my life a lot. Okay. But, um, but I really want to prioritize the flight training and get it done because only be like a few weeks and then I can be like flying as much as I want whenever I want my own plane.

Uh, cause I'll be licensed to fly my plane, which is like, What I need in order to make it worth it, to have had bought one. Right? So like two or three weeks of that was not such a large sacrifice, but then the maintenance stuff happened. So now I'm behind like a week and a half and it looks like it's going to be maybe the rest of this week and maintenance, the motor got removed from the plane and sent up to Northern California and is currently being rebuilt.

And then it has to be rebuilt. That sounds major. Yeah, it is not the engine, the motor, the landing gear motor. The thing that brings the wheels up and down. Yeah, it is major. So that's getting fixed now. And then when that comes back [00:10:00] to Vegas, then it has to be installed again. So like the plane probably won't be able to fly until next week, uh, at the earliest, which means I'm like kind of behind, uh, right.

But we're talking about like another week or two, and then I'll be done with this transition rating, which is all that I need by my plane. So I will stick it out. It's just now getting to the point where it's like, kind of feels like, okay, this is going on longer than I wanted, you know? Right. Um, but it's okay.

That'll be fine. I'm trying not to freak out about it and trying to like stay on top of my other stuff.

Kythe: Yeah. I mean, it sounds like you, I mean, just. I mean, there are certainly are a lot of excellent projects going on. And I guess, you know, from my perspective, just as your friend too, like, I just am hoping that you have like real human contact or [00:11:00] like you're talking to friends.


Farida: I think that's probably the hardest part is like, cause when this whole year. During quarantine and all of that, I was alone because I live alone and I don't have a partner or a family or roommates or whatever. So I'm like by myself in LA too, but I have my animals with me there. And I think actually I didn't fully understand how much my dog was keeping me sane until now when I don't have her, because she's not allowed here.

The building doesn't allow dogs over 70 pounds. So she's staying with my parents while I'm training. And this is the longest that I've been in total isolation. Like. With no living things. So there's not even a fucking plant in here. Like that's a lie, they're all fake. These are like fake plants in this house.

Oh my God. Yeah. I mean, they're pretty, they're like super nice silk ones, but it's still like, even creepier than just not having any plans to me. I don't know. So part of me is like just going to go to a pet store and get a fish or something. So there's like [00:12:00] something alive in here because. Right. I think it's really effecting me to have like no living energy at all for weeks.

Kythe: I mean, why don't you just go back to LA until the plane is fixed? Because I have

Farida: to do ground school, I'm training and ground school, like four hours a day, every day, at least with my instructor. And then I have to study for the next ground school the next day. Uh, I am getting to the end of my ground school.

So like tomorrow I have groaned, uh, 1130. He comes here to my house. And trains me here, like a private tutor. Um, so

Kythe: it's sort of like an immersion program, basically.

Farida: No, all of flight training is always one-on-one. That's just how flight training works.

Kythe: Like an immersion program?

Farida: No, it's just like ground school in flight school, like anyone else would do.

Um, I'm just. Further along than most students would be because I'm already a commercial pilot. I just need to transition to planes. So I [00:13:00] can train at a higher level and faster than like someone who's new, but I needed the, I needed the right instructors who were legally qualified to train me. Cause I, I have different requirements.

Because my plane is considered a complex aircraft and not every instructor is legally allowed to train in that kind of plane. So I had to like find someone who qualifies. And then I had to find people who were able to dedicate the amount of time to me that I needed, which was the problem I had in LA.

The instructor realized how much I actually wanted to train. And it was like, I can't train you and then quit. So. I finally found people who are, they're like really serious they're fighter pilots. They're qualified to train me and they're all here. And they work together as a team and they're really severe.

And I'm really happy about that because I need structure and I need like a serious level on safety and stuff. And I feel like most plane pilots are just like LA LA super chill compared to helicopters. And it stresses me out because I'm like, Did you count all of the bolts in the [00:14:00] engine before we left?

And they're like, no, why would we do that? And I'm like, why would you not do that? So I feel like it's nice to be with fighter pilots actually. Cause they're kind of similar personality wise to helicopter pilots. Well, that's

Kythe: very reassuring actually. So, um, tonight is the night of the Mirage. Here, which is the spiritual ascent of the prophet Muhammad to meet God face to face it's the one night, a year on which that happens.

So there's a special program that starts here, like at six 30. And I have to do something before that. So I want to ask you a couple of questions and kind of, um, Then it's just, you know, like I have to go and do that pretty soon. So just to, um, just to keep that in mind. Sure.

[00:15:00] Farida: Whatever you guys need from me, let me know.

Kythe: So basically I just wanted to ask you a couple of questions so that we can put up an interview with you on the website. Okay. So I think that would be really important. And this is, I mean, I think you have been certainly. A really important advisor for vision lab, but also you've been connected to this project of Marie DSOs film for Sobo.

So maybe you could answer maybe in both of those capacities and you've also attended some meetings, um, and you also have a lot of experience, you know, founding and working with artists collective. So that would be an interesting perspective too. So. The questions are really simple. And the first one is just, how did you, like, what is your personal background and how did you come about being involved in vision [00:16:00] lab?

Farida: Oh, well, my personal background is as an art director, I've always been an art director. Um, I went to school for it and I knew that I kind of wanted to do that since I was like 13 years old. And so then everything I did from that point was for our direction. And in the beginning, I, uh, started in advertising because the only programs for that were in advertising for training and portfolios and stuff.

And so I kind of landed there and then realized that I was miserable there and that advertising isn't what I want to do with the rest of my life, because I was more interested in understanding ideas than selling ideas. So I left and started exploring different ways to do conceptual development ideation with a variety of [00:17:00] people.

And I tried to get outside of my comfort zone and work with people who are nothing like me and who were from different backgrounds. And that's how I ended up, I think doing collective type of work, because I'm always looking to surround myself with groups of people who are different from me. Um, I think you get the best ideas when you work with other people.

Because even if you like your own stuff, it really only matters to you and it can apply to the world outside of you or to other people, or have as large of an impact. If it's not created from like a converging of perspectives. Because no, no one else has your experience. Right. But like the world, isn't about the way you see it personally.

And so you have to kind of get out of yourself to make something that's like culturally relevant or that's responding to societal need or so

[00:18:00] Kythe: practically, like, how did this manifest, like you started space. I know. And. Yeah. I started from like, what is your own background? Like, like what, um, you know, where's your family from?

Farida: Oh, um, my father is French and Cherokee from Louisiana he's Correll. Um, his mother was full-blooded Cherokee Indian, and there's a bunch of really intense. Native spirit type people and that's my family. Uh, and then I think that's kind of where I get, like my severity and intensity from is totally from them.

Like you telling

Kythe: me about the grandfather, right?

Farida: Oh, I don't know. There's so many stories. I probably still, they talk to the dead. They like sense things in the future before they happen. They know like, if you're about to call before you call it, like they're like into, I don't know, they're in tune with each other.

The EMR is know what the Amaras are doing and where the EMRs are, even if they never talked to each other. [00:19:00] Um, and then on my mom's side, her father was German and her mother is Mexican Aztec Indian. So, um, I kind of have native on both sides, but one is American native. I want say. Mexican native. They as Aztecs are interesting people too, but they're like a lot less intense than the Cherokees.

So they're a little more approachable and friendly and they make jokes sometimes and stuff. And then the, uh, my, my, both my grandparents on both sides were disowned by their families for falling in love, with someone from a different. Racial group. So like the German family stopped talking to my grandfather when he married a Mexican and her family stopped talking to her when she married a German and same thing on my dad's side, because his mother was full-blooded Cherokee and his father was black freshmen.

So those communities, uh, in like the buyer's Louisiana, like they don't mix there's like racial segregation when he was growing up in the, I don't know, like the forties and they probably [00:20:00] met in the thirties, his parents, you know, And are they're found their parishes, this owned them too. So they had to move to another parish where like mixed people.

Right. So I don't really have, like the only connection I have to ancestors or like talking, like when I get contacted by dead people, which happens, but they weren't really around. I had my mother's parents around and my parents were about dead when I was born. So, um,

Kythe: so hold on, hold on. So how does this translate into.

The arts for you. And then how did you get involved in vision lab?

Farida: Uh, I don't know. I'm sure that my racial and ethnic makeup somehow influences me in ways like subconscious ways that I'm not fully aware of. But, um, I don't think that any of that really had to do with who I became. I feel like the only real influence I had was my grandfather who was a very spiritual person.

And. Inventive. He was [00:21:00] more like an inventor. He wasn't an artist. He was an inventor type, like an engineer, a type of electrician, kind of guy. Who's like always building stuff in his garage and tinkering and had a huge imagination. And he always encouraged me to follow my imagination and took me seriously when I had weird ideas.

Like, if I wanted to go to the spaceship, we would be trying to build a spaceship in the garage. He would take it seriously. It was like, well, then do it. You know? And other people would be like, that's not possible, but he never told me what I wanted to do was not possible. And I think having someone like that in my early development, like kind of protecting my creative side from like reality is what led me to creative direction.

So beautiful. Yeah. And he also was the one who taught me to lucid dream and tossed me, taught me asphalt production. And, uh, he was a hypnotherapist and he used to hypnotize me all the time. And I still think that I'm hypnotized. Like he had enticed me in, then he died. [00:22:00] So I don't know that he did, but I have lots of reasons to suspect that that's might be the case.

Um, lucid

Kythe: dreaming now.

Farida: Um, well, I mean, he died of cancer, so he's done. I know you,

Kythe: so you are, so you believe that your lucid dreaming now?

Farida: No. No, I don't know what reality is. I don't even know if any of this is real, really. I don't know if anyone knows any of that. Um, I don't know if it matters because like I'm here.

I mean, whatever this is and whoever I am, whatever I am within it, I believe. That it feels real to me now. So I might as well make the best of it. Right. Even though I don't know what it's going to add up to in the end, if anything, um, I still don't want miserable while I'm conscious here. So, so

Kythe: how did you get involved in vision lab?

Fast forward a bit. So you started all of this, you [00:23:00] started space art collective, and then you afterward, like you've done a bunch of things like unraveled and

Farida: yeah. Collectives. And then I was on city council for arts and culture for awhile, which is how I got like really connected with the LA art scene.

And then I worked for a bunch of different studios and record labels and art collectives and magazines, and got into the punk scene and did a bunch of different stuff. And then I ended up. Getting, uh, recruited to be the creative director for Sobo and, and I brought you in as the editor. I mean, I'm skipping over a bunch of stuff, but then you told me about vision lab.

And so you started working with me on several and I started sometimes trying to be helpful with mission lab whenever I can, which is not as much as I would like, but. It's a very cool thing you have going on. And we were already [00:24:00] meeting, uh, an issue on folklore and I thought of your writing because obviously I always loved your writing and it came to mind when we were working on a folklore issue.

And so I reached out to see if you had any writing you wanted to contribute, and then you contribute it to the writing. And we're publishing that in issue eight. And we decided to make a film out of the editorial that we shot for it. And it just lined up with the release of your book. So you needed some content, some like multimedia type of content for that book release.

And we were already making a film. So we kind of put all that stuff together, I think. Yeah.

Kythe: And so, um, how, how do you see. You know, this film and what you and Mariso made, maybe can you just describe the film a little bit in the process and kind of how it fits into the whole Phoenix pro the larger Phoenix project that [00:25:00] vision lab is working on?

Farida: I mean, well, I, it fits the Phoenix project because it's literally, you know, based on your writing, Uh, for Firebird,

Kythe: the Firebird and the Phoenix.

Farida: Yeah. Yeah. And it was designed as a way to visualize some artwork to accompany the text in our location. And, um,

Kythe: I guess I meant more like you drove out into the desert, you know, we had, I, you know, I wrote this ritual and Marie also had a sort of concept for how she saw.

You know the film.

Farida: Yeah. I mean, when we knew that we, we picked a location, um, and we kind of had an idea of how we were going to design the character, the Firebird, and then after that, because we were always going to do photography for this just, well, anyway, [00:26:00] and then after that, um, we thought it might be cool to make a film also to accompany your book release.

So we asked you to design a ritual for it. And you did and which it felt like the right thing to do, because you're also the writer. And I know that in your life, outside of writing, you designed rituals as well. And so I thought I remembered that and that you did that for people. And I thought maybe you could do one for this and then we could film it.

So we kind of waited to see what, what you would design. And I think then there was a bit of almost like. And editing of your ritual because visually certain things were possible or not possible for us to do on Hixny millimeter film and that location or whatever. Like, uh, I think some of the stuff got adjusted a bit for the, like for production to be possible.

Um, and then I, I, you wanted the ritual to be like real for someone and not just like,

[00:27:00] Kythe: that was the one requirement. Is that the person who did it. Actually wanted to be transformed. And so there's a whole story there of Camilo and her, you know, she was, do you want to tell that story?

Farida: Uh, yeah. Well, I have worked with Camilo in the past and new Capela Camilo actually back from Providence.

Um, and so, so I've known Camilla for a really long time, and then they moved to LA and kind of went through this gender identity crisis situation and ended up. Um, wanting to do a top surgery and remove their breasts. So before their procedure, we filmed this, um, and Camilo was in a process of preparing themselves for a physical, like transition in their life.

And also of course, That comes along with [00:28:00] like a bunch of hormones, literal, literal hormones and mood swings and emotions and challenges with family and friends accepting or not accepting lifestyle choices and things like that. And so also Camilo isn't physically moving houses at the time and was having a lot of anxiety about relocating on top of it.

And. Moving away from people who weren't healthy in their life to a better situation. Um, so this, so this friend of ours basically was, uh, kind of the perfect candidate, the perfect cocktail things for this project, I think in our minds, because they're a performance artist, they do a lot of. Like makeup and costume design and performative pieces in front of cameras and other people all the time.

So generally they feel comfortable that they're countable with nudity. They're comfortable with us. We already know them and we knew they were going through a [00:29:00] major transition. So that kind of

Kythe: to be, I mean, it seemed meaningful that they wanted to undergo this ritual and actually be transformed. And it seems that this was the last documentation of.

Breasts, you know, that community

Farida: body is forever and will never look like that again. Um, and this was kind of, uh, it was like a goodbye, which I think was how the ritual was designed, where you're releasing, um, negativity or things that you just need to move away from in order to grow. And that was the metaphor of the eating of the feathers.

And then like, Yeah, talking to them and then eating them was like saying goodbye to a lot of things. And that's what we did. So, um, It was a fun day. It was a long day. It was very, very, very hot in death Valley. Very hot. Like everyone was fighting his the whole day.

So we deal with that all day in the heat. Um, and I think. Timing was tight because, and there were a bunch of people from this little town that were like, Interrupting us all day. Cause we were the most exciting thing that happened there in like 20 years. So everywhere in the middle of

Kythe: nowhere in death Valley,

Farida: basically.

Right? Yeah. And like all the little ghost, those town people were like stopping by, like Joe told me, you guys were out here and I just want it.

Thanks. So right. There was a guy who's like a reporter for the neighboring town or whatever. And he was like, I write for our little newspaper and we want to know what's going on over here. And I was like, Oh my God, literally nothing is happening. You're just taking some pictures and were like, do you mind if we stay and hang out?

And I was like, okay, we brought enough food to feed [00:31:00] everyone. But then we had to feed the town people too. Cause they just started eating the food that we brought. That's great. Like very endearing, but also kind of like, yeah. So we had to learn to adapt and go with the flow because we needed more breaks than we thought we needed more water than we thought 

You know, trying to be friendly. And it was like, we had a certain number of hours only of daylight available, but shooting on film, which is, has to be managed a certain way or you run out of it. Um, so it was a lot, I think. And Marixa, I think also grew on this shoot because she had to manage. A lot, like I was, I was starting to get really hard on her about timing and I like, she had a bit of a mental breakdown and cried about it and then came back and finished.

Kythe: She's such a trooper and she made such a gorgeous piece. Like, did you have a chance to [00:32:00] see the, um, presentation that you made for vision lab? I sent you that I sent you the video of it too. Beautiful job. And everyone loved the film so much. Like really everyone was so impressed. Good.

Farida: I'm glad. Um, I'm excited.

Kythe: More questions. what is your connection to the Phoenix? How do you understand the Phoenix for your own purposes?

Farida: Oh, man, I think everyone's got a story. I'd be like, if you're over the age of 12, you've probably been heartbroken at least once. If you're a human. And because humans are disappointing or whatever.

So I feel like I've been through some stuff that if I think about my, if I think about myself at those times in my life, it feels like a whole different person. It feels like a stranger sometimes. Like, I don't even know who that person was. I'm so far away from that person. Now that it's hard to believe that that was part of my own experience.

You know, all those things [00:33:00] cumulatively, like brought me to where I am now, but. Um, I really, I think died and come back to life many times already, at least 12 times.

Kythe: Like why it's so important to me that you're involved with vision lab. Cause you're a

Farida: Phoenix. Yeah. I feel like I've been, I feel like I'm not going through the process anymore of like redesigning.

I think that I'm on the other side of it now and I'm trying to figure out what does it mean to finally have a version of myself that I like that I want to keep. But I don't want to burn down anymore, you know? And that's like almost harder than surviving something. When, if you were raised to be a fighter and a survivor in order to make it, then once you don't have to do that anymore, it's like, well, what am I going to do with myself?

Right. It's like, Oh, now you learn to enjoy, or you have. Now you learn to like yourself and now you learn to stay instead of run and you [00:34:00] do. I don't know, let people in and stuff. And that, all of that is very scary for me.

Yeah. And scary for me. Uh, I think I've been in the process

Kythe: of, I wish you would come visit by the way. This is an aside.

Farida: Yeah. I would like to a lot of, I think always you

Kythe: are so welcome here.

Farida: I think there will be a lot of visits, uh, after everyone gets vaccinated and stuff, because a lot of my friends and even internationally are like, uh, we miss everyone.

Can we all, please hang out again,

Kythe: please. Let's precinct a little another question. What about spirituality? Like how do you understand the spirit? Like you were talking about your grandfather earlier, and it seems like you grew up with very specific people who passed on. Different intuitive knowledges, but how do you see your own spiritual development?

There's this whole conference of the bird story. That's been kind of an allegorical model that [00:35:00] vision lab has been working with over this time, where there are these birds that go on a quest essentially for enlightenment. And they go through many trials and tribulations to find the Phoenix, which is kind of like themselves as enlightened beings.

Farida: I mean, isn't that what. All, uh, all spiritual practices in the underline. It's like this big, long circle where you end up where you started. It's like the, the story, the alchemists, right? I feel like that's every spiritual journey really is where everyone's looking outward for all that stuff, for meaning and validation and whatever, and for something to reflect themselves back to them or whatever.

But then in the end, I think if you really get anywhere with that, you realize that you are your, it. It's you right. And in many ways, like, whatever God you're looking for is just yourself. Yeah. If you learn to not in a, not in a [00:36:00] conceited or vain way, but you learn to really worship yourself like value, who you are and care for that every day intentionally, and try to.

Not cause harm in your immediate environment at a minimum, even if you can't contribute anything beyond that, that I feel like you've kind of done it. You know,

Kythe: that sounds so healthy. And so glad to hear you saying, Oh

Farida: yeah. I mean, it's not easy. Like it's easier to say it than it is to do it and still working on it all the time. But I guess with I was raised Catholic and I would still identify as Catholic culturally and. Like socially and whatever. Like, I feel very comfortable in that space because it's familiar and it's always been a part of my upbringing and my identity, but I also don't like, there's an understanding or comprehension beyond that, which is like, I think appreciate all different religions and different spiritual practices that I've, I've met people from many different walks of life.

I've traveled a lot and I've [00:37:00] seen different cultures in the way that they live and practice their spirituality. And I think it's all really beautiful at the end of the day. Like. They're all working towards the same thing, which is, uh, love yourself and try to put that into the world around you. Yeah.

Just don't be an asshole. Yeah. Really like don't kill people. Don't lie and cheat and steal and whatever you basically just trying to be good.

Kythe: That's great. That's great. Okay. Final question. Um, vision lab is concerned with, um, with visionary. With the meaning of the word visionary and with kind of reclaiming that away from the tech bros, like Elon Musk and the sort of prodo capitalistic, uh, technology, God idea of the visionary and popular culture.

And so we're trying to bring back like original conceptions of the visionary based in a really, really broad minded, [00:38:00] like. Cracked open kind of experience of what it is to be human and what it is to be an artist and, you know, really reclaimed some of these mystic insights and identities. Um, and I'm just wondering, like where you see yourself in relation to this sort of reclaiming of the visionary.

Do you have ideas for the future? Do you feel like there are certain ways that you perceive the world that are, um, that could be said to be visionary or that you're. That you're enacting it in some way, because I, I definitely see you as a visionary, but I wonder how you see that word in your own life or how it's acting.

Oh, this question

Farida: makes me feel like throwing up a little bit because it's so overwhelming.

Kythe: Um, I mean, in a vain way, I don't mean like, I mean, I mean, like really, if it is a question of kind of like reclaiming something. And really [00:39:00] making it, um, contemporary, you know, and present and active for everyone.

You know what it

Farida: is. It's like, there was a time, there was a version of me, a prior Phoenix version of me that really believes in, you know, redesigning and rebuilding the whole world or whatever, or like really affecting change. And I think that was the version of me that was also like, And trying to make whatever, whatever that means.


uh, there was a time when that was important to me. Um, and now it's not at all, like now I think for you or what I've just discovered so many problems. Uh, so many patients [00:40:00] have space and time and money resources like ICU. So when there's.

The more, it's like a parallel where you get more pleasing, the more you suffer. And I think that's also going to be,

which means no, I'm trying more design myself into. Like, if I need to solve any problems for the people that I've been doing the job. So trying to provide materials, we're [00:41:00] building this residency program. Always provides, like uncovering the cost of production so that you have to pay anything for materials or whatever, their work laminate, the limitations.

I'm trying to find artists who haven't their soul. Hasn't been totally happy if I work with that, I can push them. But anything is possible and that's, that's really my role. And I, I find it very rewarding to be that little slapping someone, again, they're like almost back to B,

but now they're in a pool of actual talent and skill and training. And if you can just bring their little spark back where they are. [00:42:00] Because they realize that they have help. They have someone, you know, financial backing or they have access to a thing that you never get access to. So profound

Kythe: what you are doing for Rita.

It really is. Um,

Farida: you know, interested in making no, not at all anymore. I mean, I put myself, but that's not my focus or my goal. That's much more like the process of journaling or something muscle. So I don't lose my real work,

provide materials and resources.

Philosophy of progress, both the arts. And I think the arts culture

humidity, it's like we [00:43:00] culture exploring what that means for the future is going to come from what you call it or those who take. Literally.

Kythe: Yeah, that's actually exactly what I call a visionary. And there's a really sort of practical way forward with that, which you've just laid out really beautifully.

Farida: Yeah. I'm more on like, I've kind of turned into the production side of it, uh, and just building platforms for other people. I think it would be more people doing that because everyone wants to be the artist.

A lot of people

do that. They would rather just, I don't know, like work a gig for

[00:44:00] making ends meet.

Kythe: Sorry. It takes a certain mentality to create a whole kind of ecology of making. And I see you as someone who's really creating this complex ecology of people, helping each other out and creating something together and creating the possibility for future.

Farida: We need to understand how to talk to artists who have a background of like, like a business or a financial, or just an organization just like, and come up with a plan and come up with a budget.

And you think about return. So, uh, you know, I, I'm looking for more, it's hard to find people, so, um, I'm one of them, for sure. For sure. Yeah. That's my version. That's

Kythe: good. That's really good. Um, [00:45:00] last question is just, is there anything else you think is important to talk about, um, for this. You know, visual lab, project, and endeavor, and anything in the future that you think that vision labs should be thinking about or that you feel like is important to bring up into this conversation?

Farida: Well, I think that I was full of like a very interesting, diverse group of creative people. They all have different skills. No two are alike, actually I've noticed like you don't have not a goal or whatever you have, like maybe one

or two people that you vision in lab, which is very cool and exciting. And I think, um, there's a lot of power in that. And I think that this group can find ways to [00:46:00] bridge gaps in understanding. Each one's different or seeing world. I think if, if they can collaborate as often as possible, I feel like they could create completely new language.

Yeah. I think even just in this short amount of time that I've known about the vision. The structure is starting to come together and get a bit better. I think when I first, literally

it's just

like deadlines, go schedule

it better than that. I think. Vision lovers, get at telling people about what we do. Um, uh, more support they'll have, [00:47:00] which I think you're already not necessarily like even I can start the criticism. I've noticed that it's to happen now. And I'm very excited to see what, um, yeah, I like it. I mean, like, you look like.

Kind of just fleeting in a lot of ways. So I've tried to like be more of an observer when I'm around vision lab people, and I'm learning from them. Yeah, though, my interaction has been limited. I feel like I've already learned a lot from you and

Kythe: such a profound Lee inspiring presence though. Even if you've only come to a couple of meetings so far, like you've maybe felt, and you're very much a part of it.

And people mentioned you all the time for you to.

Farida: What happened to

Kythe: that friend of yours in LA?

Farida: She had [00:48:00] such great

Kythe: energy. We should invite her back. They're always saying stuff like

Farida: that. Oh, that's nice. Um, yeah, I think if my leg, you just got that email from my own personal moment. Um, I'm also like now in this huge fight with my,

you know, that's crazy. I spent so much time trying to be thoughtful about people that I work with.

Kythe: You know, what your voice is cutting in and out. Is there a way of fixing the, um, the volume or the audio?

Farida: That's not so great here.

Kythe: Should I maybe let me just try muting myself.

Farida: Is this better? Hello? Okay. Um, yeah. And so, you know, but then [00:49:00] no matter where I go, if it's any kind of company or corporate structure or anyone dealing with, you know, employees or money or whatever, it's like, it always gets to a point where I witnessed artists getting screwed over.

And then I have to decide, do I want to keep my job or do I want to defend this artist? And I always choose to defend the artist, but it, it is frustrating that even when you think you're with people who really get it, who respect you and the arts and brought you in, and you're excited about working with them, like it's, it's going to happen at some point, inevitably, where.

An artist will get take advantage of, and I just can't, I'm not the person who can just say nothing and let it happen. And like, I kind of sometimes wish I could be because that wouldn't work better.

Kythe: That's how you ended up getting into fights and stuff.

Farida: Well, that's fine. I ended up like [00:50:00] getting, uh, like walking away from me over two days or getting fired from projects or whatever, because I'll get her again.

The system. I have a hard time with authority when I see it taken advantage of the little guy and I'm not really cool with growth at any cost. Like I don't, I'm not interested in being successful if it means that I screwed over a lot of people to get there, I would much rather have nothing and be around people.

I love that. I feel like I haven't betrayed. Um, then B I guess. Rich and alone and miserable. Cause I've already seen the end result of that when I was in advertising, you know, like all those guys who run those companies, they have like three failed marriages, kids. They never see, they're all sleeping with huggers.

They like live in hotels. They're on cocaine just to get through the day. And it's like, it's depressing. And like they're very successful. They've won all the awards. They make all the money, they run the whole industry and. It's really sad. And I don't want

Kythe: this one. [00:51:00] We have to like visit each other and have like crazy adventures and do things that are not for anything in particular, just because we love to do it.

You know,

Farida: I miss

Kythe: doing crazy shit with my friends

Farida: who work on the trip to assemble. So they might end up being the same track. Cause I can do

Kythe: surely I have plans to go there too, cause I want to go to Rumi's tomb, but probably not until later in the year.

Farida: Yeah, it wouldn't be now I

Kythe: have a serious plan to go there with a friend of mine from Pakistan. They stumble yeah.

To Istanbul all over Turkey and particularly to Kanya, which is where Rumi Rumi, his tomb is.

Farida: Cool. Well, maybe we can cross paths at some

Kythe: time. I know we can. I mean, I would be doing this, um, sometime in the fall or maybe for [00:52:00] his death date, which is also his wedding date. There's a huge celebration of Sufi everything.

Like, are they

Farida: living?

Kythe: Yeah, actually Turkey is one of the places where you can. Okay, cool. That

Farida: was the main question I want to do. Yeah.

Kythe: Anyway, audio is just crazy. Um, I should probably go also it's 10 past six, but can we, um, can we talk more frequently because I just, I miss you and it's really great to talk and it just seems like there's a, I mean, there's also tons of other stuff to talk about.

Like, About Sobo and just, there's always stuff. Yeah. And I have stuff to update you about too, just from my own life. And I want to hear more, so yeah, maybe we could like schedule a call next week again or something.

Farida: I think, I mean, [00:53:00] you can just call me if I don't answer.


Kythe: Just talk on the phone. I mean, there's no reason why we have to do the zoom thing. But for the interview thing, it's easy to record it this way.

Farida: Right? Right. All things are possible. You have direct access to me anytime you want.

Kythe: Likewise. Likewise. So call, call, and, um, I'll call you. But yeah, I want to talk again really soon.

Farida: All right. Love you. I love you too. Thanks. I hope you got what you needed for this.

Kythe: Yeah, and it's going to be a really beautiful, I'll do that. I'll edit the interview and, you know, just, you said such gorgeous things, and I think that it represents you and your perspective really well. I hope that with all the audio glitches that it all came through, but I'm just going to hope that it did and I'll try to recreate whatever, if there's an, a gap in it or something.

[00:54:00] Farida: Okay. Well, let me know if you need anything. Okay.

Kythe: Bye.

Marizó Siller is a Mexican experimental artist based out of Los Angeles, CA. Her background in dance helped her communicate with others through movement. Later on, the realization that one can dance not exclusively with the body, helped her translate her language into film and other forms of art.

Farida Amar is a Creative Director and multimedia installation artist whose work investigates the collaborative potential of public and anonymous entities by challenging audiences to directly engage with designed experiences shaped by her fifteen years of research on establishing vocabulary for universal visual languages. Originally from the Mojave Desert, Amar now lives and works in Los Angeles, where she can often be found flying helicopters along the coastline and single-engine planes over the California mountains.

Kythe Heller is a poet, multimedia artist, and scholar whose work re-imagines art-making as a practice of consciousness: In what ways can our work become sites of evolution, realizations of new social, technological, and ecological relationships, by considering how to use language and media to radically change our ways of being in the world? She is author of the poetry collection  Firebird  (Arrowsmith), two chapbooks, critical studies in philosophy of religion and poetics published by Cambridge UP and Akron Series in Contemporary Poetics, and essays and poems. Her performance and multimedia work has been staged at the Harvard Film Studies Center, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, SEEDS Festival, Sonoma State University, WAXworks (NYC), BAX (NYC), Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and elsewhere.  Currently she is completing a doctorate at Harvard University in Comparative Religion and Art, Film, and Visual Studies/ Critical Media Practice. She founded VISION LAB in 2017.