Prelude: The Breath of Charybdis

There is a tale from Aristotle’s Meteorologica that recounts the origin of the mountains. It begins with Charybdis, the daughter of Poseidon “God of the Sea.” Charybdis lives within the ocean, where her exhalations and inhalations cause the tides to rise and fall. When she took her first gulp, the sea drew back and exposed the earth. Charybdis captures and releases: revealing and concealing perceivable worlds. This mythical figure also appears in Homer’s Odyssey, where she takes the form of a whirlpool located within the Strait of Messina and threatens to swallow Odysseus’s ship whole. Later, Edgar Allen Poe encounters a similar phenomenon off the Norwegian coast in A Descent into the Maelström: a terrific spinning funnel of smooth, shining, jet-black water that descends at a forty-five degree angle to an unperceivable depth; its edges are lined in a gleaming vaporous spray; the teeth of its tempest winds emit a shrieking roar.

Prelude: The Breath of Charybdis draws upon the accounts of these poets and philosophers to evoke a dynamic environment. It is not the embodied Charybdis that this program seeks to present, but rather a manifestation of her inspiration.


This program was curated by invitation of Gast Bouschet and Nadine Hilbert, to preceed the premier of Tempestarii, on 25 October 2013 at the CCR Opderschmelz in Dudelange, Luxembourg.

Artists included are Semiconductor, jonCates, and Aldo Tambellini.

- 20Hz (Semiconductor, 2011, 5:00)
- ERRORRUNNINGWWWATERNOISES [RE:MIXXX for Amelia Ishmael] (Jon Cates, 2012, 6:45)
- CLONE [excerpt] (Aldo Tambellini, 1976, 10:00)

• October 25, 2013 at CCR Opderschmelz (Dudelange, Luxembourg)
• December 6, 2013 at University of Iceland Research Centre, under the auspices of NES Artist Residency (Skagaströnd, Iceland)
• February 12, 2016 at Sector 2337 (Chicago, IL)

Following the 2013 screening events, I authored a critical account of Tempestarii, Prelude, and DISintegration that was published by one+one Filmmakers Journal, excerpted at the following link:
"To Raise a Storm: Gast Bouschet and Nadine Hilbert’s Tempestarii and the sympathetic magic of digital video" in one+one Filmmakers Journal 13.1 (July 2014): 32-41.