Transfiguration Demands Sacrifice: hooz and Cen Freedan O. perform ‘Anointment’ at murmurs

Curate LA
5 min readJun 1, 2024

by Jasminne Morataya

Photo by Cat Marchenko

I found myself sitting cross-legged on the ground, surrounded at the fringes by both friends and strangers. Slim benches grouped onlookers into an L-shape along the edge of a vast, immersive sculptural tableau. We had all gathered at murmurs on Friday night to witness Anointment, a collaborative experimental performance piece by the artists hooz and Cen Freedan O.

The tableau before us encompassed an impressively staged gathering of objects. And there were portents of things to come–next to a long scroll in the corner, the Derelict crouched.

Installation view of ‘Annointment’ at murmurs

In the center of the room breathed a nascent form buried underneath layers of blankets.

Photos by Cat Marchenko

The audience first encountered an island chain of altars that appeared somewhat familiar in the mental inventory of their constituent parts, which cast striking shadows on the adjoining wall. Organic materials like dirt, textiles, and stone operated in tandem with handbuilt ceramic, cast concrete, and rigorously constructed ritual podiums. Careening between abstraction and representational dimensions, there was one recurring ceramic figure in particular, in various poses: looking skyward, prone, folded over in contemplation or sorrow. Situated in a conspicuous position was a pronged object known as a “vajra,” a formidable totem in Vajrayana Buddhism representing spiritual awakening and indestructible power. Entitled Sacred Object: Varja Dorje of hooz and xethereal, the work, executed in porcelain, symbolizes earth and heaven through its lexical components–meaning thunderbolt as well as diamond.

Photo by Bibs Moreno

The cast, composed of four characters–Vex, the Derelict, the Dancer, and the Reaper–executed unexpected scenes of staggered, deliberate movements, of violence or detachment, or truly singular actions that were ecstatic and deeply melancholic. They anchored the room with their precise choreography, activating the scene and creating many loci for the narrative to unfold through the embodied landscape of their being. This began with disjointed actions that gradually began to sync up against a backdrop of elegiac, choir-like music.

Photo by Bibs Moreno

All, despite their apparent differences in comportment and motivations, worked to usher in the life of a fifth, The Child — previously unborn and concealed. The triumphant emergence of the Child was the culmination of internal directives and synergetic movement. Anointment generously opened a window into the quixotic nature of the divine by unifying disparate elements as a synthesis of opposites.

Photo by Ocean Ortiz

The gallery space was essentially transformed into a vascular, otherworldly site necessary for our collective survival, as well as an arena for encoded, epigenetic messages — made manifest through the body — to be purged.

Photo by Bibs Moreno

The performance became a living, breathing transfer of energies through this mechanism of convergence. The Child’s genesis through the other characters’ joint efforts served to highlight the interconnectedness of the seemingly ‘opposing’ forces, proclaiming through its harmonious conclusion that true divinity supersedes binary distinctions and encompasses the totality of our existence. The Child concluded the performance by wielding the vajra and actively honoring the resilience of those who came before.

Photo by Euree Hong

The artists’ resounding success in fulfilling the potential of Anointment mirrors the symbolic potency of the work itself. They traversed many worlds beyond this one in order to create a cohesive experience that was profoundly human, and much more.

Photo by Bibs Moreno

ALL CREDITS:

LIVE PERFORMANCE :
Production, Creative Direction, Artworks — hooz & Cen Freedan O. (@uhoozi, @ang5l__)
Movement Direction — Jas Lin (@allthatjasss)
Fashion: Xethreal & hooz atelier (@_xethreal @hoozatelier)
Makeup: Dennese Rodriguez & Andrew Nunez (@denneserodriguez @andrewstudios)
Sound: hooz
Cast : Priscilla Robinson (@artichoke_me), Tatianna Hechavarria (@sadsamo), Yvana Han — (@hanyin.a), Pyro Xolo (@tenderlilheart), Leeanna Williams (@guvmanian)

EDITORIAL:
Production, Creative Dir, Styling: hooz & Cen Freedan O. (@uhoozi, @ang5l__)
Photography: Euree Hong (@eureehong)
Lighting Assist: Hunter Pao
Makeup: Kayli Rachelle (@kayli_rachelle)
Hair: hooz & Cen Freedan O.
Fashion: Xethreal & hooz atelier (@_xethreal @hoozatelier)
Talent: Ayi Cheng (@ay266), Mia Oneal (@miaonl), Tatianna Hechavarria (@sadsamo), Yvana Han — (@hanyin.a)

Photographers:
Bibs Moreno
Cat Marchenko
Ocean Ortiz

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