Emit Snake-Beings

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Emit Snake-Beings
Snake Beings
Nationalityjoint British / New Zealand citizenship
Known forFilm, Underground film, Photography, Sculpture, Visual arts, Writing, Intermedia, Sound art

Emit Snake-Beings (aka Snakebeings) (born 13 December 1967) is a New Zealand multi-media visual artist and sound artist who works in kinetic art, sacred art,[1] sculpture, noise music,[2] and underground film and is currently residing in Auckland, New Zealand.


Early life[edit]

Born in the Royal Free hospital in Islington, London Emit and his sister Bella Basura were moved by their parents to the new town of Welwyn Garden City, where he grew up under the combined influences of the cold war and social engineering, which was immanent in the excessive structures of town planning. At the age of 20, after studying art and design at the University of Hertfordshire he moved to London to pursue a career in art, where he Lived and worked in the economically depressed Hackney, London between the years 1987 and 1998. During this time he encountered diverse influences, including underground film,[3] Santaria, Anarchism, squatting, outsider art, art collectives[4] installations using found material,[5] and site-specific installation art.[6] All of which was going on in the relative obscurity of one of the poorest areas of London. In 1998 Emit moved to Hamilton, New Zealand, continuing to work with multi-media projects including street theatre and the organisation of a 13-piece Free improvisation orchestra called The Kaosphere orchestra.[7] In 2006 he founded the Hamilton Underground Film Festival and created Karen Karnak, an invented multiple-use name nom-de-plume under which multiple filmmakers could participate.[8]

Portrait of Karen Karnak – private collection of the author


Alchemical Pilgrimage 2002–2011 Ongoing project based on the documents of a pilgrimage of three monk-like figures to the broadcasting antenna at the summit of Mount Te Aroha (north island New Zealand).

On arrival the 'pilgrims' perform a chaotic ritual using the three objects they have brought with them (a silver suit case containing strange alchemical gadgets, a radio antenna and an incense burner made from a VW hubcap).

Filmed in New Zealand Jan–April 2002 re-edited to include older footage filmed between 1990 and 2011.

The Remote Viewers (2008) examines the connection between technology, the mass media and magic. The synopsis from snakebeings website[9] provides a clue into some of the seemingly random imagary of which the film seems comprised:

"Telepaths within the electrical hermitages around Mount Te Aroha work with the local population –
brain washing them through the use of street speakers which transmit alchemical
formuli to keep the population docile. The source of these broadcasts is shown to be the
mass media operating on officially approved frequency bandwidths.
Under the guidance of remote viewing telepaths a technological witch-doctor
called Nana Shamanic becomes the tool of the technicians observing this psychic effect."

One of the first films made was The Shrine (1993)[10] which began as a documentation of the creation, display and destruction of four Shrines made during a journey through Holland and Spain lasting over 6 months between 1990 and 1991. Three nomadic shrines were eventually made during this time, each dedicated to a different element, with the fourth air shrine being the film itself. The first three shrines were destroyed but the super 8mm film, which documented the process, was preserved and exhibited in a series of underground film festivals including the exploding cinema[11] in summer 1993. The preservation of The Shrine led to the beginning of a series of coin-operated shrines, which are described below, as well as the beginning of several super 8mm films. Santa Arson (1995), filmed on super 8mm, was made with Steve Rife, a pyrotechnics artist from Saint Paul, Minnesota.


  • The Remote Viewers – 2008 edit 13:39min
  • Alchemical Pilgrimage – with Spanish subtitles 2008 9:39min
  • Technology and the Occult 2007 {Remote viewers part three} 2007
  • Seven short films for the Hamilton Underground Film Festival 2007
  • Martin and Snakes go to the Zoo (co-writer/actor/Directed by Michelle Saville) 2006
  • The Death of an Orchestra – 2006
  • Several short films for the Hamilton Underground Film Festival 2006
  • The Remote Viewers part one −2005
  • Pylon Pirates – 2005
  • Kill for your Government Kill – 2005
  • Alchemical Pilgrimage – Filmed 2002
  • Cholera Clocks (with Steve Rife USA – 1995
  • The Shrine – super 8 Filmed in Ponferrada/Barcelona/Holland – -1993

Electrical Shrines[edit]

Between the years 1991 and 2001 Emit Snake-Beings created over 30 coin-operated electrical shrines, reflecting a combination of technology and religious deities within a polytheist system. The shrines were made as a series of free standing works and commissioned pieces and ranged from 4 cm X 4 cm to over 2 Meters in height. The Shrine to Nikola Tesla, created in 1995 includes the following text: "Nikola Tesla, the inventor of A.C. Electrickery, and early pioneer of Radio, is placed among the more traditional and pre-electronic saints who like Tesla had experienced a great flash of (electrical) light. The selector switch allows the operator to tune the shrine to the most distant transmissions, the origin of which are in constant dispute between scientists, artists and theologists. Available now for the average person in the street to decide for themselves. Patent # 76399873-150 Made in E8. '95" The piece was displayed in the tattooist shop 'Sacred Art'[12] London N16 for several years-
The shrine: "Tattooist´s Electrical Reliquary Spirit Box" was made in 1998 as a commissioned piece for Temple Tattu in Brighton. The tattooist shop has since moved, and the whereabouts of this shrine is uncertain. (detail pictured here on right)

Detail from Tattooist's Electrical Reliquary Spirit Box – coin-operated shrine made by Emit Snake-Beings
Bascilica of the Tattooist – coin-operated shrine made by Emit Snake-Beings
NSTRA SNRA de las Bombillas – (our lady of the lightbulbs – coin-operated shrine made by Emit Snake-Beings


  1. ^ see illustrated Log (New Zealand) volume 10 "http://www.physicsroom.org.nz/log/archive/10/"
  2. ^ Audio Foundation New Zealand "http://audiofoundation.org.nz/artist/snakebeings"
  3. ^ "http://www.explodingcinema.org/" Exploding Cinema Collective
  4. ^ in the form of the group work of Lennie Lee trevor knaggs and the ARC group
  5. ^ such as influenced by Kurt Schwitters
  6. ^ From the interview 'between technology and magick "http://www.arma.lt/introspect/texts/introspect-interview-Snake_Beings.htm"
  7. ^ see the article "New Zealand experimental film genres" by Martin Rumsby Onfilm (NZ) March 2010 "http://www.onfilm.co.nz/"
  8. ^ from the featured foilmaker 'profile in Onfilm (NZ) June 2010 "http://www.archivesearch.co.nz/?webid=ONF&articleid=51582" or "http://www.onfilm.co.nz/"
  9. ^ http://www.snakebeings.co.nz
  10. ^ The Shrine (1993) "http://snakebeings.co.nz/films/the%20shrine/index.htm"
  11. ^ The exploding cinema "http://www.explodingcinema.org/"
  12. ^ Sacred arts tattoo Stolenewinton London "http://www.sacredskulls.co.uk/sacredart/¨"

External links[edit]