BLACK MAGIC BABY JESUS is an intuitive storytelling book complemented by an experimental ethnographic film.

This audio-visual journey takes you to the secluded islands of Vanuatu. Through enchanted forests, along lonely beaches and into tiny villages. It patiently tells the story of people living ancient cultures. But nowadays life is changing. Globalisation creeps further and further into the jungle and the conflict between western consumerism, religion and ancient traditions divides families and even whole villages.

a hybridal project by ramin aryaie

The bubbling, yellow volcano. The majestic waterfall and the silent lake. The enchanted jungle and the colorful reefs. All of this is the normal environment of the people living on Vanuatu’s northern islands.

When our sail boat broke I was left stranded on a small pacific island. With all the time in the world I started to explore this magical place more deeply. I got to know it’s beautiful people, it’s ancient cultures and its unbelievable food. But even in paradise life is not always perfect.

Our journey begins here. This intuitive storytelling book is complemented by a one-hour film. It’s an audio-visual journey discovering the island’s music, traditional cooking methods and the effects of domestic violence.

This project was independently recorded, designed and produced for the storytelling project

Photography, Text & Design:
Ramin Aryaie
Self published edition of 200
Signed & Numbered
Dimensions: 22 x 29 x 1,7 cm
Soft Cover
Printed on Recycled paper
Pages: 268 full photo pages
Released: 5th October 2016
ISBN: 978-3-00-053825-4

49,- Euros

An intuitive storytelling book

Limited Edition of 200  |  Signed & Numbered

The Idea

The aim of this project is to discover a whole new way of telling and spreading stories from forgotten places. The approach is fully transmedia and merges films, photographs and thoughts into a fluid narrative. It is told from a subjective point of view and jumps into other storytelling forms such as journalism, poetry, abstract film and photo processing. All this underlines the main narrative: a quiet and slow observation of the life of people which I have lived with and whose friend I have become. In any way trying not to be voyeuristic but to respectfully give a look into their lives, working with them instead of against them.

Part of them money earned with the book will go to Vanuatu, to projects creatively supporting youths in the cities.

Patrik, one of the protagonists, hunting for shrimps underneath a rock. The stream runs down from lake Letas, the biggest lake in the South Pacific, which inhabits huge eels. ~

The hybrid takes you through the topics of domestic violence, the role of the churches in peoples lives and how their relationship to their ancient traditions is changing. The conflict between these three elements that define life there is the central question of book and film: Western consumerism, religion and ancient traditions. The book does not give answers. It watches quietly and patiently and asks questions.

“Months later I sit in the cool shade of a huge Natangura house as the cutting screams of a woman echo through the roof. An uncomfortable tension fills the open room as a low male voice breaks the following silence. He talks decisive, yet quiet. A flat noise, like a hit, then another tearing scream. Crying. More screams. Every muscle of my body is tense, I feel like my intestines are about to explode into a million red, bloody pieces with my lunch dripping from the ceiling. I want to vomit. The screams continue and continue until they finally turn into a desperate and whimsey crying, never ending. As if looped. The repeating sounds turn into patterns, circling in spirals through space. Round and round. A kaleidoscope of pain and horror. Each expressing it’s own indescribable emotion. An eternity of pain and hurt in a universe of love and bravery. A quiet resignation to life.”

The Structure

The structure is the following: It starts with an impression of the ancient ritual of drinking Kava, then it continues with a poem and an angry-sarcastic comment on the cultural of racism that exists so strongly there. A visual study of meat leads to two experiences on the influence of the church on the people follows. One is very judgemental (Baby Jesus), the other is more understanding (Black Magic). A photo series about the life of the family I lived with follows. From there come three different experiences of domestic violence: Admiration, Uncontrolled Anger and Controlled Anger. In the end there is not much black and white left. Only countless perspectives.

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