deutsch | english
© Vanja Smiljanic

Vanja Smiljanić: Orion Debacle

Dortmunder U | 3rd Floor

In the series HMKV Video of the Month, HMKV presents current video works by international artists for the duration of one month each. In April, we are presenting the video "Orion Debacle" by Vanja Smiljanić.

Vanja Smiljanić
Orion Debacle
Video, sound, color, 
2019, 29:04 min.

Since 2017 the focus of Vanja Smiljanić's research has been a UFO spiritual movement called Unarius Academy of Science. It was founded by Ruth and Ernest Norman in 1954 in El Cajon, California. The video
 Orion Debacle depicts a group of nine Unarius students in the filming process of a psychodrama. They are collectively regressing to the time of ancient society called Orion. 
Orion – prequel to submerged continent of Atlantis – was highly developed techno-theocratic society that existed 800.000 years ago. According to Unarius, Orion was also a primal cause of Smiljanić's current epileptic condition.
Recollecting and reenacting memories of these ur-times in the form of a psychodrama, Unarius students are striving to move beyond the mere personal restoration of health. An epileptic practice of thinking is conceived. Sudden interruptions, crashes and changes of discourse are not treated as problems that need to be cured, but as openings into a potentially transpersonal state. Epileptic thinking crosses wires between vicious positions of 'sick' and 'healthy', 'normal' and 'queer', 'nature' and 'culture', to generate new meanings. (VS)

With: Celeste Appel, Jack Appel, Celeste Barda, Kevin Kennedy, Tracy Kennedy, Suzanne Farnsworth, Lan Han, Nennette, Vanja Smiljanić
Direction & Edit: Vanja Smiljanić
Camera: Vanja Smiljanić, Lukas Marxt, Kevin Kennedy
Sound: Vanja Smiljanić
Production: Kunsthochschule für Medien Köln and Vanja Smiljanić
Supported by: Kunststiftung NRW, Unarius Academy of Science, El Cajon

Vanja Smiljanić, *1986 in Belgrade, is a visual artist and performance artist. After studying visual arts at the Faculdade de Belas Artes Lisboa, Universidade de Lisboa (PT), an M.A. in artistic research at the Dutch Art Institute, Arnhem (NL) and Advanced Performance and Scenography Studies in Brussels (BE), she completed her media art studies at the Kunsthochschule für Medien in Cologne in 2018. She is interested in speculative narratives, feminist science fiction, and a new materialism that connects the physical with the beyond. Since 2010 she has been dealing with the new religious UFO movement "Cosmic People". After many unsuccessful attempts, Smiljanić finally became a member in 2013 and today describes herself as the "Senior Architect" of the "Library of Light" of the "Cosmic People", i.e. the archive of the organization, whose contents she begins to change 'from within'. In lecture performances, she reports on this (subversive) activity – as storyteller and oracle. Vanja Smiljanić reflects from an ambivalent inside on her subject – and lets an interested public participate in her artistic research work in novel live formats.