AYA: Awakenings is an audiovisual journey into the world and visions of ayahuasca
shamanism produced by the Undergrowth collective. Adapted from the book ‘Aya: a Shamanic
Odyssey’ by Rak Razam (Icaro Publishing), this experimental documentary has evolved from a live audiovisual performance created as part of a book tour in California in late 2009 which blended spoken word, atmospheric sound design by Buttons Touching and hypnotic psychedelic visuals mixed with documentary footage and photography by video artist Tim Parish (Verb Studios). After two popular performances, it was also invited to perform at the Evolutionary Temple at Burning Man Festival 2009 in Nevada. In 2010 an early version of the documentary was performed at the Cairns Winter Solstice festival in Australia.
The final “video book” (“vook”) merges narration gleaned from select chapters of the book with interviews and innovative sound design, taking the audience on a journey into the jungles of Peru, where the practice of traditional shamanism has an unbroken lineage to the present day. The documentary utilizes interviews with practicing curanderos, and incorporates traditional icaros or magic songs, photographs and video recorded in Peru, mixed with traditional patterns to reproduce the visions seen through the ayahuasca trance.
The project is aimed at funding six high-definition final short videos, already roughly assembled from the tour, which need final animation, sound and video editing mastering, to complete a 90-120 minute “video book” (vook) / DVD, which will also be available as discreet clips for the iPhone and iPad in 2012.
The first two clips are draft completed and were video shorts before the recent Mitch Schultz “Spirit Molecule” documentary tour Down Under in Dec 2010, see http://undergrowth.org/spiritmoleculetour ) and are breathtaking works. Unlike the plethora of indy ayahuasca documentaries coming out, these show the experience from the inside out, alongside a memoir-narrative that guides you through the journey into Peruvian shamanism and helps make sense of it.
To read the critically acclaimed book the video series is based, on, please visit:
And to view some of the video editor’s work (Verb) visit