A Black dancer in a technicolor costume reaches forward to something out of frame. A white woman in the background with her hands raised to her shoulders dressed in similar colors.

Video Still: Ward of the Feral Horses (2013–15). Orit Ben-Shitrit. Courtesy the artist. 

EMPAC Commission to be screened in NYC's Times Square

Dance Movie by San Fransisco Art Institute's Orit Ben-Shitrit is On View from June 10–15, 2020
News Type

As a part of SFAI’s Video Art Projection event in @timessquarenyc, Ward of the Feral Horses (2014–17) by Orit Ben-Shitrit will be projected in Times Square June 10–15, 2020.

Ward of the Feral Horses was commissioned by EMPAC / Curtis R Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2015 for the DANCE MOViES commission series.

Filmed in a stable in downtown Troy, Ward of the Feral Horsesunfolds a cyborg’s schizophrenic upheaval. Distraught and failing to communicate with his pre-oedipal being, his mind cracks and unleashes an emancipatory carnivalesque dance troupe—Jinn—who emerge from his room’s furnishings.

Preoccupied with a familial folkloric tradition involving Moroccan Jinn, and a subjectivity which contradicts the monotheistic belief, artist Orit Ben-Shitrit searched for moments of historical fluidity between Judaism and Islam. Born of smokeless fire, Jinn are first mentioned in the Koran. The incorporation of Jinn into Jewish Moroccan traditions is a symbol for flexibility and tolerance. 

In Ward, the original suppression of urges we practice to become normalized participants in society is further exacerbated by contemporary technological advancements and our ever-beaming, status-obsessed personas. This double act of sublimation pushes the protagonist to crack and erupt into a celebration of his Jinn, the senses, and fluidity of gender.

Three men walking through times square with masks on, a projection in the background of the dance film ward of the feral horses.
June 10, 2020