The Gatekeepers

An eco-mythological, multi-channel video and sound installation
Video by Zen Cohen made in collaboration with Violeta Luna, Yunuen Rhi, Chiron Armand and Walker Fisher.


Since 2015, I have been collaborating with performance artists who identify as gender-fluid, queer, two-spirit or as border crossers. These artists created visual performance personas based on the intersections of their own trans-cultural, political and spiritual identities. The culmination of this footage as an installation is an attempt to magnify and illuminate these personas. To create a mythology inhabited by new idols and archetypes wherein these personas, or gates, are seen as symbolic figures at the threshold between the human and non-human world.

In each projection, the performers appear enacting rituals that merge body and land juxtaposed with layers of visual and auditory symbols. In other moments, the performers directly confront the viewer, staring towards the fourth wall. Through this convergence of projection and viewer, my hope is to initiate a remembrance that Nature is not something outside the Self but inherently linked to persona.

Production credits:

Violeta Luna as Madonna and Aztec Kali. Personas developed in collaboration with Rakini Devi. Costume and make-up by Violeta Luna. Garden scene shot on location in artist, Lauren Elder’s garden in Berkeley, CA

Yunuen Rhi as Coyolxauqui, Coatlicue and Isuini. Ceramic Armor made by Adrian Martinez-Alarcon. Make-up by Sarah Pickles Taylor. Additional costuming and projections by Zen Cohen. Ocean/forest scene shot on location in Pacifica, CA

Walker Fisher as X and the Cosmic Void. Concept and costume by Zen Cohen

Chiron Armand as the Wind. Camera and sound by Chiron Armand