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Runway Journal Issue 43: Divine

A projection of two faces looking upwards to light.

Kate O'Boyle
On Looking Up (film still), 2021
Installation view
Runway Journal Issue 43: Divine, Murray Art Museum Albury
Image by Jeremy Weihrauch

Runway Journal is a digital publication that has commissioned experimental works by emerging artists for almost two decades. The sole focus of the artist-run organisation is to guide contributors through a close editorial and digital mentorship in the development of new work. Runway Journal is an online resource that engages with current threads of Australian and international contemporary art.

MAMA was pleased to partner with Runway Journal in a new program that offered support to Australian artists creating new experimental moving image works. A selection of works published through Runway Journal were presented at MAMA throughout 2021. These presentations were accompanied by supporting public programs to assist in strengthening connections between artists and audiences within our region.

Issue 43 explored the theme of ‘divine’. It considered crises, expressions of faith, new rituals for mind and body, reflected on historical representations of the divine and asked how notions of the divine could channel hope. MAMA screened a selected work to celebrate the publication of Issue 43: Divine and introduced audiences to the Runway Journal.

On Looking Up considered the shared gestures of ecstatic experiences and used found video footage from the 1960's to the present day.

Divine ecstasies have historically been regular subjects of the visual arts from Bernini's The Ecstasy of St Teresa to Caravaggio's Saint Francis of Assisi in Ecstasy. With the affordability of personal cameras in the 1960's, these
phenomena were captured on video for the first time. Beginning with the ecstasies of four young girls in Garabandal, Spain from 1961- 1964, video footage became the primary means to capture and communicate these events to a worldwide audience.

While ecstasies are historically attributed to devout saints, those in the twentieth century most commonly befell unremarkable young women and children. Many of the ecstasies brought with them
messages from beyond, most commonly from the Virgin Mary who spoke apocalyptic prophecies to the young people.

These phenomena often brought fame to the recipients, tourism to small villages and established popular sites of pilgrimage.