Monday, 13 June 2011

Carl Valiquet: Blood & Incense

Carl Valiquet is a photographer and a movie-maker who lives in Montreal and Bali, and has produced Blood And Incense, a movie whose trailer shown here is a spectacular fusion of still photography with motion from video, and a remarkable back and forth segue from cock fighting to Balinese religious rituals.

In Bali, certain religious ceremonies require that blood be spilled to pacify the evil spirits, and cockfighting (known as Tajen) is a tradition that is mixed with such religious rituals. Cockfights are required at temple and purification ceremonies.
“In Bali, during certain ceremonies, blood must be spilt to pacify the bhutas, the evil spirits that live underground. A cockfighting arena is built next to the temple. The judge strikes a gong; the fighting starts."
Although Indonesia has legally banned cockfighting because of gambling, some temples in Bali still hold tajen or cockfighting bouts. The local police is loath to prevent such bouts since the prevailing belief is that these are protected by the deities of the temples. There are ancient texts proving that the cockfighting ritual has existed for centuries, so Balinese police can legitimately look the other way.

I have photographed a tajen, a cockfight, in Bali last August and produced Tajen, Bali Cockfights, an audio slideshow, which is also on Vimeo.

Via Steve Huff's Blog