the Dark Rift

We are pleased to present the final video in our series spotlighting the work of Michael Betancourt.



the Dark Rift is a 2 minute movie produced from a mixture of archival footage and a NASA video of the Moon rotating, synchronized with music by composer Dennis H. Miller, who also produces visual music animations. The title for this movie is a reference to Maya mythology. They believed the “Dark Rift,” a group of interstellar dust clouds that divide the bright band of the Milky Way galaxy lengthwise, and whose alignment with the Sun marks the winter solstice on Earth, was the road to the underworld. Moon imagery demonstrates this fantasy::reality dynamic throughout my work. The multiple windows and glitches appearing throughout this movie appear not as interruptions, but as shifts in resolution. It is only at the end when an astronomical photograph of the Dark Rift begins to appear ‘behind’ the Moon that these windows become physically present as layers of image—it is through the shifting relationship they have to the black areas on screen that they become physical. This change in perception is a shift between abstraction (the windows as glitched parts of the image) and realism (layers lying in front of a more distant background).


Michael Betancourt

Michael Betancourt is a research artist, theorist and historian. His movies have screened internationally at the Black Maria Film Festival, Art Basel Miami Beach, Contemporary Art Ruhr, Athens Video Art Festival, Syros International Film Festival, Festival des Cinemas Differents de Paris, Anthology Film Archives, Millennium Film Workshop, the San Francisco Cinematheque’s Crossroads, and Experiments in Cinema among others. His writing complements his movie making. He has been translated into Chinese, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Persian, Portuguese, and Spanish, and published in many magazines, including The Atlantic, Make Magazine, Millennium Film Journal, Leonardo, Semiotica, and CTheory. He wrote The ____________ Manifesto, and the books The Critique of Digital Capitalism, Glitch Art in Theory and Practice, and Beyond Spatial Montage: Windowing.