The art group, Housing Spirits made up of two artists, Michelle Eistrup and Marika Seidler. This collaboration started in 1998 in Benin, West Africa with the research and study of practices in the Vodoun religion. Due to our past, and our cultural background, we wanted to understand the connection between the Caribbean religions and West African practices, moreover we wanted to develop a better understanding of the cosmology in this religion and how this affects the philosophy toward life in general.
The project developed rapidly and four months were spent researching and filming Yoruba and Vodoun ceremonies in Ouidah, Benin. A documentary approach was used in order to gather knowledge and material for inspiration to create films, which were woven out of our personal experiences, and the Vodoun cosmology.
The outcome proved to be successful, as we worked in partnership with Lambert Abadagan, an artist and Vodoun practioner, and researcher in Ouidah. It is through his eyes that we were guided and educated in the Vodoun religion. In the end, three videos were produced Appetizer, Cocoon, 8 short stories and Mami Wata.


Appetizer, 5 mins. 1998
'Appetizer leads us into two distinct universes ­ a visual tracking movement through a labyrinth of dusty streets, accompagnied by Michelle Eistrup's voice. The visual part was recorded in Ouidah in Benin, while the film's monologue is Michelle's reconstruction of her encounter with the Voodoo priest Dah Boya.' Arine Kirstine.
Cocoon 8 short Stories, 15 mins, 1999
A stewardess recounts her feelings of loss of time and space. Abstract road images
from Denmark and Benin describes this visual experience.

Mami Wata, 7 mins. 2000
'Marika Seidler and Carrol P. Dalbert tell their personal account of walking along a riverbank seeing a boy's glowing body being eaten by a duck. The narrator is both spectator and present at the time of this event. The duck is transformed into a crocodile, and the storyteller notices she/he has reptile skin.' Arine Kirstine.

Our Method of Work
In all our video projects, we emphasize storytelling and the narrative element in a
visual context. Our text and images are based on assimilating dreams, interviews, documentary, and fictional accounts.
Our objective is to create a forum where a wider range of views on personal experience can be incorporated to mold the development, and structure of making
video films and performances.

Collaborations with people outside the art world have proven to be an essential path for this process of development and growth. This practice has strongly influenced and continues to play a great role in our discourse with one another. Our collaboration continues to be a fruitful test in crossing borders of different areas of interest and expertise, and as a result a team of artists, video makers, and researchers came together in the summer of 2000.

This group consisted of both Beninoise and Danish colleagues, Lambert Abadagan, (B) a Vodoun researcher and practioner, Martine de Souza, (B), a historian, Yahoué Cossi, (B), a traditional healer, Arine Kirstein (DK), a Ph.D. student in postcolonial filmmaking, Torben Johansen (DK) videographer, Michelle Eistrup, (DK), a fine artist and Marika Seidler, (DK), a fine artist. The focus of the group was primarily to investigate the relationship that exists between the living and the dead in Benin. As a result four videos were produced based on the information, and knowledge gathered by the group's research.

Soleil de Minuit, (Midnight sun),15mins. Lang. French, Fongbé and English.
Subtilted. 2002
This film focuses on the relationship between the living and the dead in Benin, West Africa. A young man, Eddie is in the habit of wandering around sleepless at night, entertaining politicians and chasing women at bars and clubs. One night, he meets a woman who changes his perception of dating forever.




Interviews on burial ceremonies in Ouidah, Benin, 27 mins. Lang. French and English. Subtilted. . 2002
Is a brief introduction to the Benin, and the religion of Vodun, practised by ninety percent of the population. A research group conducts several interviews with religious leaders on burial rituals for the Fon, and their daily working relationship with their ancestors. These interviews give an insight into the cosmology, which exists in this religion.

Auditions in Cotonou, Benin, 21mins. Lang. French. Subtitled. 2002, image
Actors and actresses tell their stories of friends and family who have encountered dead people.

The Funeral of Madame Kapatenon, 32 mins. Lang.Fongbé. 2002
We follow the burial of Madame Kapatenon and the journey she takes and the many rituals involved in her burial ceremony.