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Egle Budvytyte

Secta (2006) uses the documentary format to unfold a fictional narrative of a utopian community.The video starts by giving a detailed historical background of a secret society, in which the members have reached a state of complete freedom of movement and of thought in their tightly-woven networks. The viewer understands that the Secta is a community where language is a primary tool and the values of togetherness and mutual appreciation are essential. The norms of belonging in the sect have been redefined through shared rituals and through the erasure of boundaries of culture, age, and race. As the camera moves through European cities, the voiceover introduces us to the characteristics of Secta – its smiling women and genderless men – while the images seem to be recorded candid camera-style, exposing people’s private acts in public spaces (showing us people who absent-mindedly scratch their genitals or shave their legs by a canal in Amsterdam).
Budvytyte’s video employs the opaque and paranoid logic of conspiracy theory to make the identifications of her story uncertain: Does the narrator belong to the Secta community? If he is not an insider, how did he obtain such detailed information about them? And who are they really, the members of this strange and influential social body? At times you get the sneaking feeling that the Secta members are not clandestine agents of a secret society but in their enlightened and superior state something much more familiar…