JEREMY SHAW | LIMINALS | MONTRÉAL MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS | 6.9.2018–24.3.2019
A rich work, Liminals at first appears to be a black and white 16 mm documentary shot sometime in the 1970s. But we are quickly informed by a BBC-like narrator of a story set three generations from now, when humanity is on the verge of extinction. The video follows eight subjects who are attempting to escape this fate and save humanity through a fantastic combination of Machine DNA brain augmentations and the engagement in long-abandoned spiritual rituals.

Through this behaviour, they believe it will be possible to access a space in between the physical and the virtual – The Liminal – where humans can move towards a higher stage of evolution. As the subjects engage in a series of increasingly cathartic actions, from Kundalini to headbanging, the video evolves from its vérité aesthetic to something caught in between a ritual documentary, music video and utopian science fiction film. At the dramatic climax, an unexpected shift from black and white to psychedelic technicolour occurs, and we witness the dancers transform from analogue to digital, effectively accessing and becoming The Liminal.