For some time, Thomas McKinnon and AyasminA — that’s her name — have been working on a still uncompleted documentary film, entitled In Search of the Divine Vegetal, about the healing power of ayahuasca. AyasminA describes the project as exploring “the nexus between Western and Indigenous cosmologies in relation to plant intelligence.” The goal, she says, is to “help nurture a species of hybrid consciousness consisting of Western science, Indigenous magic, phytospirituality, and the Great Unknown.” The film features Dennis McKenna, Jacques Mabit, Casimiro Mamallacto, Alex Polari de Alverga, and other experts and healers.<
McKinnon is an established visual artist with over twenty-five years of experience as a sculptor, painter, and media and performance artist. He has a BFA in Sculpture and Art History from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, and an MFA in Multi Media from the University of Windsor. He has been featured and reviewed in ArtForum and Art in America. AyasminA is a professional translator, interpreter, legal advocate, and documentarian, fluent in six languages.
The project began as a radio documentary, with the same name, which first aired on November 19 and 26, 2007, on the Canadian Broadcating Company Radio One program Ideas with Paul Kennedy. Due to popular demand, it was rebroadcast on May 16 and 23, 2008. A two-CD recording of the original broadcast is available here. Or you can listen to the two-part podcast version right here:
AyasminA and McKinnon are now in the process of converting the radio documentary into a film, which they plan to finish during 2009. In the meantime, they have prepared a demo-length version, which you can see here:
The film is being produced by McKinnon and AyasminA, with camera work by McKinnon and Carlos Tanner, editing by Kevin Burton, and music by sound healer Richard Grossman. I wish I could figure out a way to encourage them to finish it.