-Who is Narda Azaria Dalgleish?
I was recently surprised to notice the extent to which the lineage of my ancient ancestral heritage, spanning over 2500 years of Babylonian Hebrew diaspora, appears in my work. I have always been fascinated by the semitic root languages not only because they are sublimely beautiful, but they abound with meanings which can enrich and expand the very context of understanding itself.
For me, for example, the etymology of words in a root language is a metaphor for the “Etymology” of the human soul. If my human soul is inseparably linked to what is meant by Word, ie., my soul is akin to a word, “my personal” identity then is inevitably transcended way beyond the conventions regarding “who” I am. This is so important in my view. Identity in this expanded context is one of the main ideas that occupies me creatively in my life and in my work.
I’ve been trained to approach the imaginal realm of perception through contemplative enquiry for nearly four decades. I’d say that this factor affected me profoundly, especially my poetry and moving-image films – largely in the way they were made.
-What inspired you to become a filmmaker?
My desire to share experiences which I didn’t find in any other films, and possibly the way my brain works and connects things. Though I thought my dreaming about filmmaking was an impossibility, I was extremely fortunate.
Suddenly, a miraculous thing happened in the fall of 2014 while on a poetry reading tour in the UK. I was just sent a cultural bulletin and in it was a call from the local Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival to submit a film under the general theme “Spiritus Mundi”. I knew instantly I’d respond. I was determined to make the film because of this title. I had no idea what a huge undertaking it would become.
The next day I bumped into the creative director of the festival – what on earth is the likelihood? – who immediately agreed to support my unknown project. I was utterly inexperienced, yet my installation project was allocated the largest room in town to fit a six meter diameter circle of 28 silk banners and a large screen. We shot a hundred people standing and facing the camera for five minutes each. So whoever sat to watch the main film inside the circle was surrounded by people projected onto the silk banners by six projectors I bought by taking loans. So it was the title, The Spirit of the World, that really prompted me to go for it. In my view the Spirit of the World is embodied best by mankind or the human potential. Because of this support and great help from the community, I filmed 5 major moving image films that year.
-Do you think the cinema can bring a change in society?
I think so. Films always affect society but the important question is what kind of change? I hope more and more films will have an auspicious impact on us. Of course this largely depends on our readiness and desire to change.
I would love to watch visionary films that address and invoke what is real and universal in us; films that foresee unprecedented new paradigms of wisdom that show human endeavor in a new light; films that establish new artistic and contextual vernaculars. Why? Because these are all crucially necessary now.
-What would you change in the world?
The wise say no one can change anything or anyone. But one can aspire towards essential change – which is necessarily a change of perspective. We can aspire together.
A change in my perspective may or may not resonate with others, but hopefully one does not seek to transform oneself in order to affect or influence other people. Chinese wisdom says that influence extends to others from those who became inspired from/by their essence – I’m paraphrasing. So affecting change better not be the prime motivation in my desire to change, but it may be consequential if real change comes about.
-Where do you see the film industry going in the next 100 years?
I have no idea. Humanity is yet to discover itself anew – that I believe and think it can and should. But whether or not a change in humanity occurs, I imagine the film industry could become a mirror, preferably a well polished mirror, for the possibility of this collective self-discovery, or at least for the coming world.