The Harbinger Suite: Siren

I come from Ireland where flags, banners and drums have historically demarcated territories, borders, clans, cultural and social values and ideological beliefs. They continue to do so to this day. For example, (in relation to the artist Kasimir Malevich) the black square stood as a rejection of the concept of representation. In this sense the black flag represents the absence of a flag, it opposes the notion of different groups or nation states that deny the unity of humanity by paring one person or group against another while embodying a spirit of defiance and opposition to surrender - similarly with the black drum in SIREN. As political, cultural and territorial markers, the flags in CURSE and the black drum in SIREN warn of danger and signal caution. They represent a call to arms, but also function as a gesture of inclusivity rather than a call against otherness. In Ireland, the lambeg drum represents unionism and the Orange Order. This black drum seeks to collapse this political divide while engaging with larger philosophical narratives.

The language in The Harbinger Suite varies. It is predominantly Sumero-Akkadian (from one of the earliest known systems of written language - sacred, ceremonial, ritual, esoteric). The incantations call on the different names of God while declaring that 'the dead will be more numerous than the living' (ELI BALTUTI IMA'IDU MITUTI). This is continued in the third video SIREN where the overlaid voices invoke the Earth Spirits – Namtar (god of death), Sin/Nanna (god of the Moon), Inanna (god of love/fertility) and Utu (god of the Sun, justice, morality and truth), the gate keepers of the underworld.

As a collective, The Harbinger Suite presents fractured worlds. A collaged reality, where different worlds, temporal and filmic realities, visions, aesthetics, romantic and mythical values and pictorial and psycho-spatial sensibilities can co-exist.

Each video presents a suite of moving images that are collaged into meta-narratives. A distant cry from Hollywood, the images are often emblematic and are chosen specifically for their symbolism and links to metaphor and allegory. In this, it is hoped that each work will have multiple levels of access and association for the viewer.

As an ongoing project The Harbinger Suite addresses issues of identity, pluralism and a need for social/cultural tolerance. It offers an alternate perspective on diminished rationalism, science and normalized systems of belief within the current post-factual cultural malaise. We live in a time where fact-based evidence and the merits of data are too quickly dismissed as an inconvenient truth, or are politicized and put to the service of other agendas or ideologies. For my part, this speaks to a diminishing confidence in political governance (e.g. Brexit), and consequently a questioning of faith – personal, social, ideological, philosophical and spiritual. In response, this body of work reactively revisits older systems of belief and incorporates the esoteric, mythological, superstition, magic, symbolism, ritual and catharsis to address a dystopic world populated by predators, victims and scavengers.

  • Stephen Little
  • Stephen Little
  • Stephen Little
  • Stephen Little
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    12 minutes 36 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    April 30, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    1,500 GBP
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
    Black & White
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director - Stephen Little