The Hinterlands, a Detroit-based performance ensemble, practice a form of ecstatic training which they see as a provocation towards the unknown — a space both physical and imaginary. Their practice is one of ecstatic play, of finding the edge of one’s balance, and the limits of one’s body. Yezbick trained with the ensemble for a year, always filming while physically participating. Each session followed an unscripted, non-verbal improvisation during which they developed gestural ‘grammars’ through repetition, patterned breathing, and movement. Imagined affective landscapes are conjured as audio compositions from field recordings swell through the room. Rather than allow the viewer to gaze upon the ruins of Detroit, this piece makes an aural gesture toward the city beyond and summons the space of an inverted hinterland, an unknown inside to be plumbed for meaning and creative inspiration. Continually looking for new ways to ‘see’ with the camera (shooting with her feet, shoulder, and neck), Yezbick’s embodied camera immerses the viewer in the collective ecstatic experience; merging the space of their ludic play with the liminal space of the cinema.
Julia Yezbick (born 1980, Ypsilanti, Michigan) is a filmmaker, artist, and doctoral candidate in Media Anthropology and Critical Media Practice at Harvard University. She lives and works in Detroit.
Cast: Richard Newman, Liza Bielby, Barney Baggett
Director of photography: Julia Yezbick
Editor: Julia Yezbick
Sound: Julia Yezbick
Sound mixing: Ernst Karel
Format: DCP, Colour
Running time: 39 min