The Mysteries Project: To Hades and Back Again

Project Description
The Mysteries Project revisits an ancient story via emerging media. This digital narrative work is a playful investigation of the myth of Demeter and the Eleusinian Mysteries, secret rites celebrated in ancient Greece. The fiction tracks an independent filmmaker as she tells the story of the goddess Demeter and her missing daughter, Persephone. The tale is told through fragments of evidence: audio interviews, video projections, location photography, design sketches, and deconstructed motifs from the myth. The Mysteries Project criss-crosses the boundaries between fact and fiction, artifice and authenticity. A student intern traces the project’s demise, on their journey to Hades and back again.

Multimedia Installation October 7 – November 7, 2019
The Watkins Gallery / Winona State University
Artist Talk 5pm on Oct 7 in Stark Hall, Rm 103 Winona State University
Opening Reception Monday October 7, 2019  6pm in Watkins Hall

The Mysteries Project Credits

Many creative people contributed to The Mysteries Project. Thanks to all who entered into collaboration, willing to improvise and play within this fiction of fragmented history and experimental storytelling. Scroll down for full credits.

Featured Players:

Jean Sramek   Julia Hauenstein, Director of “The Mysteries”

Cathy Podeszwa  Dr. Gwendolyn M. Foster, Mythology Expert

Rob Wittig  George R. Smith, Executive Producer

Cheryl Skafte  Sophia Funk, Student Intern

Christa Schultz  Krys Douglas, Demeter

Jamie Harvie  Jonathan Frank, Hades

Emma Harvie  Stephanie Hopper, Persephone

Gary Kruchowski  Sir Ted Stanford, Zeus

Ann Gumpper  Andrea Hardy, Scenic Designer

John Bankson  Huck Anderson, M.A., Entheogen Expert

Mark Harvey  Matthew Hardy, DoP, Beach Shoot

Chris Julin  Hank Shaeffer, Crew

Catherine Winter  Janine Summer, Animal Wrangler

Delilah Effinger  Persephone Understudy

Alison Aune  Costume Dresser

Todd Higgins  Boom Mic Operator

Fire Spinners / Dancers at the Well:

Shaunna Heckman

Jillian Forte

Aleasha Hladilek

Bailey Woodruff

Supporting Cast and Extras:

Theresa Koenig, Kjell Hinkel, Katie Harvie, Ben Harvie, JJ Sivak

Tim Gearnes, Josh Effinger, Margi Preus,

Silhouettes by Madeline Lloyd, Nicole Schneiderman, Hannah Staats, Hanyu Zhang

Audio / Voices:

Words were improvised, some were scripted, others borrowed from the public domain

Audio Scripts by Cathy Podeszwa, Jean Sramek, Joellyn Rock

Audio Recording, Editing and Mixing by Chris Julin

Special Thanks to Eve Browning for reading and commenting on the Homeric Hymn to Demeter. Audio Interview with Eve Browning by Ginny Maki and Lisa Atkinson.

Video Production:

Camera Operators / Duluth

Marina Her, Andy Lindberg, Ryan Holmquist

Audio/ Visual Tech Support from UMD’s Motion and Media Across Disciplines Lab

Visual Art:

Kernos ceramic vessels by Karen Keenan, Joellyn Rock, Robyn Murphy, Ann Gumpper, Vicky Lehman, with Seeds by Cathy Podeszwa

Visual Research / Drawings / Design

Marina Her, Ivana Savic, Joellyn Rock

Animation by Lizzy Siemers


The Mysteries Project was filmed on location in Greece (Athens, Elefsina, Aegina Island, and Naxos Island) and on location in Duluth, Minnesota

Special Thanks to

Scott Wolff for letting us use his house on Park Point

Theresa Koenig for letting us visit her pigs on the farm

The Mysteries Project Installation was created with help from:

Roger Boulay, Art Gallery Coordinator at Watkins Gallery

UMD’s Motion and Media Across Disciplines Lab

Additional support for production of The Mysteries Project came from University of Minnesota, Imagine Grant and Grant-in-Aid programs. Many thanks.

Research and Conversation in Greece

Christina Mitsopoulo and Smaro Touloupa

The Mysteries Project / Music Credits

Tobin Dack, “Persephone Idea”

Scott A. Miller, tone-poem “Demeter Melaina”

Rebetika songs / licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 International License. released July 12, 2012

On A Steady Diet of Hash, Bread, & Salt by Soundeyet

T R A C K L I S T :

01. Daniel Padden – “Adinatisa O Kaymenos”

02. Nettle – “Black Eyes”

03. Costa and Nero – “Rast’e Tou Teke”

04. D Charles Speer – “Aman Yiala Yiala”

05. Andy Moor / Yannis Kyriakides – “Touto To Kalokeraki (This Summer)”

06. Steve Gunn – “Trouba”

07. Ignatz – “Stin Ypoga”

08. Sam Shalabi – “Rebetikaud”

09. CWK Joynes & Son Ensemble feat. William Sathya – “23 Minore Mane”

10. Amen Dunes – “Sousta Politiki”

11. Free Piece of Tape – “Burning School”

12. Astral Social Club – “Efoumernam Ena Vradi”

13. Plankton Wat – “Hash Smugglers Blues”

14. Mike Cooper & Viv Corringham – “New Rembetika/14”

15. Caligine – “Με Πιάνουνε Ζαλάδες”

Album Notes: 

On Track 1 Alex South plays clarinet & bass clarinet. Mastering by Emma Peel. Tracks 1,6,7,8,15 originally by A.Kostis

tracks 5,11 by Kostis Bezos

track 2 by Rosa Eskenazy

track 3 by Jack Gregory

track 4 is traditional

track 9 by Stratos Pajioumdzis

track 10 by Antonis Dalgas

track 12 by Markos Vamvakaris

track 14 by Sotiria Bellou.