Holy Precursor is a meditation on the cycle of presence and absence, the after-life of traces, and nature as a solemn witness of history in the present. The video explores the juxtaposition of the rural everyday and fragments of ancient holy practices in the fabric of buildings in and around a Kurdish village built on the site of the ancient Armenian monastery of Surb Karapet, one of the most important sites of Armenian pilgrimage. In the Holy Precursor the eye touches and the ear sees: deciphering the palimpsest that is the physical world, moving between sediments of ancient and recent history in landscapes, stones and songs, immersed in a rhythm of visual and auditory hallucination. The sonic journey through shifting materialities is accompanied by the wind and underscored by Lucretius’ theory of atoms.
Holy Precursor continues Orlow’s pre-occupation with history as a concern of the present and his exploration of different image-regimes and narrative modes vis-à-vis the impossibility of representation. Focusing as much on what is not seen, Holy Precursor connects with Orlow’s interest in blind spots and forms of haunting through an exploration of the spatial, pictorial and auditory conditions of experience.