Samahadi and other Films

The video Samahadi and other Films is a collection of works that were created by Jordan Belson. This video combines excerpts from his early classic films with more recent work. The images are synchronized and combined with music composed by John Luther Adams. The video is 22 minutes long and it captures the feeling of Belson's work throughout his career. The video contains excepts from Re-Entry (1964), Samahadi (1967), World (1970), Chakra (1972), and the complete Northern Lights (1985) and Thought Forms (1987). The music provided by Adams is excerpted from Far Country of Sleep and Northern Suite (performed by the Arctic Chamber Orchestra), and from Night Peace (performed by the Atlanta singers).

The first part of the video is an excerpt from the film Re-Entry. This excerpt contains images that contain gaseous colors that fade into each other. The colors seem to drip down the screen and the images seem to transform in front of you. The images are hard to explain but they are visually hypnotizing.

The excerpt from the film Samahadi focuses on the circular figure. The word Samahadi means the union of subject and object or the fusion of the breath and mind. It is said to be the goal of all that practice Yoga. This work and his other works can be described as a meditative vision. The circular object turns different colors that flow in and out of each other. The object is then transformed into the image of an eye and then this image flows into a planetary circle. The planetary circle develops illuminating rings of fire. The images are all tied together because each image feeds off of the previous. The images flow together, rather than changing abruptly.

The next excerpt comes from the film World. This excerpt is filled with a mixture of symmetrical and atmospheric images. There are color flickers, spiraling, comet-like shapes, and expanding rings of dots.

In the excerpt from the film Chakra, there are swarming dots, a galaxy, and circles and spheres. It is said that this film ends the phase that Belson began with Re-Entry. This film is a reorganization of imagery that Belson used in most of his other films. Chakras are the psychic centers in the body and are usually depicted as being arranged along the spinal column. Each chakra has it's own unique characteristics. Belson transferred the traditional order of the chakras into this film, starting with the first (lower) chakra and working up to the seventh (top) chakra. This film allows us to peek into Belson's mind and experience his beliefs and ideas.

The film Northern Lights contains similar images that were in Belson's other films. The film contains colors that combine and flow into others. Snow-like objects can also be seen falling over the screen. Although when Belson made the film he did not intend to capture or recreate the aurora borealis, Belson soon realized when he was done making the film that the film did just that. For that reason Belson gave named the film "Northern Lights." After finishing the film, Belson saw footage of the aurora borealis and realized just how close he came to capturing what the northern lights actually look like.

The film Thoughtforms contains images that are galaxy like. The colors change fluidly and fade and change into each other. A strange technique is used in this film that is not seen in many other films. This image is one that contains images on the top of the screen moving in one direction and images at the bottom of the screen that are moving in the opposite direction. It gives the impression that forces are pulling in opposite directions even though it is a single frame.

The excerpts on this film are all so similar that it is hard to tell when one ends and another one begins. Belson uses similar images throughout his films, but they are presented in a different way each time. Belson's work is abstract and contains no narrative. It is hard to even make out any realistic images in his works. This however is not important. His work is not one that you need to analyze, but one that you need to experience and enjoy. All the images that he presents are beautiful and captivating. Throughout his works Belson's ideas were focused on the spiritual experience of the earthly human being. His work emphasizes the universal and the general and not the specific. The nature of his work is sacred and he strives for the intuitive rather than the intellectual. His works are philosophical reflections on life, death, and the universe.

This video is hypnotizing and innovative. The images capture the viewer and bring them into a disoriented stated. When I first viewed this video, I was moved. I found it unbelievable that these simple images could provoke so many thoughts and emotions from within myself. The images combined with the music provided me with a breathtaking experience. Belson is a talented man who is in touch with his spirituality. Belson's many years of yoga and Buddhism allows him to create films that have a heightened sense of emotion and mysticism. These films show us some of what Belson's beliefs and emotions are. I have not seen any other video like this and I doubt that anyone else's works can compare.

--Erica Ferry, 2000

This was an interesting film consisting of a disc in the center of the frame. Belson uses different colors for the disc as well as background. The beginning of the film held more of a flowing of color ...waves...recreation .
--John Bartruff, 2000

I enjoyed the use of the color and light. This was fascinating video because it has amazing technical aspects to it. An example is the use of music that is synchronized to the image on the screen.

. . . [the] Brakhage and Belson movies have a similar feature to them. This feature is the cosmic connection that displayed in the movie. The cosmic feature in Belson movie is the solar flare. The disk is the cosmic feature in Belson movie. They have similar shape and size to them. The material they stand for is different.
--Helene Dacey, 2000

Throughout this film, I found an appreciation for the cycle of life. Not just life as in beings, but life as a whole. Belson has given a generalized view of life that reaches out to the universe. The shapes and colors of the light show an appreciation for everything on which the surrounding environment lives.

I also saw much of Buddhist thought and philosophy within the film. The light patterns and repetitions could be indicative of the cycle of creation and reincarnation. With the cycle of reincarnation comes the philosophy regarding karma. Belson demonstrates the cyclical fashion in which these philosophies are believed to be through the use of colored light.
--Eva Jones, 2000

The images were beautiful. I sensed water, ice, clouds and fire within the images. The colors and color combinations were magnificent. Although the music worked nicely with the film, I would have liked to view the images without the accompanying sound, at least in certain sections of the film.

The screen, at times, seemed too small to hold the images.
--Donna Albano, 2001

I loved this one! I thought the music went extremely well with the images. I believe it added a lot to the film. I saw so many images in the clouds and water and mountains. but mostly what I saw was scenery from the great outdoors! This was one of the better films we have seen. although I tend to like films with plots or something to follow, I'm starting to open my mind to many more types of films. and they are all so different.
--Alyssa Miklinevich, 2001

Jordan Belson Work