Anna Ådahl is a visual artist and researcher working in various media such as film, installations and performance. She uses the editing tools of assemblage and montage where found footage meets newly produced images, where ready-mades are used as props in spatial narratives and the body is used as an investigative tool in staged performances. Over more than a decade, the notion and politics of crowds has been central in her artistic practice. Her fine art practice-based research ‘Inside the Postdigital Crowds’ at the Royal College of Art in London addresses the aesthetics and politics of the digital conditions in which contemporary crowds are operated and governed.
Breathing is a filmed portrait by artist Anna Ådahl of whirling dervish, Didiem, in which we follow her breathing slowly after she has performed the 800-year old Sufi Islamic ritual ‘Sema'. Didiem is the first woman to have officially performed the ritual with the men on equal terms. The Sema ceremony is a ritualistic dance which both evolved from and was inspired by the philosophical ideas of Mowlana, becoming an art of Turkish custom. This sacred dance, not approved by early orthodox Islam, represents elements of shamanistic dance from central Asia and those of ecstatic dance practices of ancient Asia Minor. Movement and dance enables a person to enter the sphere of sacrum and has been a way to attain a unity with God by combining body, mind and emotion. It reflects the structure of the universe and the circle of energy. Today women in Turkey are forbidden to perform Sema.