Litourgia: a Collaborative Project

Liturgy. n. The customary public worship performed by a religious group. Derivative of Latin “liturgia”, and Ancient Greek “λειτουργία” (leitourgía) literally “work of public service”.

SCARBO presents “Litourgia”, a digital collection of images made in collaboration with local artists Alec Redding and CJ White. This project merges the disciplines of photography, dance, and fashion to capture an emotional flow-state[1] under the prompt “how do you feel?”. Placed in a computer-rendered empty gallery, this collection explores human expression in its purest form, while mimicking our ever-growing desires to interact with one another in real spaces.

The images from “Litourgia” reveal a truth about our inner-selves during emotionally-rooted deep focus and concentration. With the body a subject, movement is turned into the voice, allowing for the capture of catharsis and mental focus in its purest form. The images are a combination of digital and analog, as local photographer Alec Redding captured mid-motion shots on film, the final products of which appear distorted and faded, as if they were excavated and subsequently displayed. 

Set at historic St. Albertus Polish Catholic Church in Detroit, MI, Dancer and Performance Artist CJ White explored topics of identity, body, spirituality, and more in this collaborative project. 

“We purposefully clothed him with androgyny in mind”, Jacob Ward comments on styling the project alongside colleagues Julio Wagner-Tearney and Jack Merucci: “We use second-hand clothing in every shoot we do, and try to figure out how to use everyday pieces unconventionally. For this shoot specifically, we had to keep movability and comfort in mind for CJ. We use shirts as skirts and scarves as shirts. We always have clips at the ready”.

“Litourgia” is a liturgy in multiple senses of the word. The setting of a cathedral marks these images as a private worship service at the foot of a deity, or better yet, a building. However, a leitourgía implies that this expression, regardless of who or what it’s meant for, is positive and beneficial for more than the people involved. An act of self-expression is, in fact, an act public service. [1]Flow. n. a state of optimal experience arising from intense involvement in an activity that is enjoyable, such as playing a sport, performing a musical passage, or writing a creative piece.