Your Arms Outstretched Above Your Head, Coding With The Angels is comprised of film, painting, and sculpture, centring around a trip; a journey through history and myth, life and the afterlife, the factual and the hallucinated.
‘The Neon Hieroglyph’ (57 min.) is the primary piece around which the other works revolve. It tells, in abstracted prose, nine hypnotic stories of this feminist, political, psychedelic mythology. Hallucinatory CGI video and a haunting soundtrack by the Manchester-born composer Maxwell Sterling, draws us into Shani’s trip; an exploration of ‘acid communism’, the equalising experience of hallucination, focusing the mind on primordial sensory and existential instinct.
Nine watercolours line the adjacent wall, illustrating each chapter of the film, following the slow entry into what Shani refers to as the ‘crypt’. The dots permeating each image simulate the invasive growth of ergot on both rye and mind, with constricted blood vessels weaving through mausoleum-like structures. Doors open and close, black abysses are revealed, possibilities within the trip appear indefinite.
In descending down the pink lit stairs, we enter a more physical representation of the crypt, the tangible gut of her narrative. The black holes expand in a series of larger paintings, and emerge outward, in 3D architectural reliefs, which are arial views of imaginary communes. Between them is a sculptural exploration into the mythical and religious history of the divine feminine. Shani uses iconography from religion, such as the altar and eyes of Saint Lucy, alongside visual references from other patriarchal power structures such as the gilded Greek columns. They frame the mausoleum in the nave of the room in which the maiara’s relics lie. A burial ground of myth and fantasy.