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Behind-the-Scenes of a UFO Arts Collective | City of the Seekers

Welcome, space brothers: Unariuns believe in reincarnation, UFOs, clairvoyance, and the channeling of space aliens for creative purposes.

In the late 19th century, Southern California attracted misfits, idealists, and entrepreneurs with few ties to anyone or anything. Swamis, spiritualists, and other self-proclaimed religious authorities quickly made their way out West to forge new faiths. Independent book publishers, motivational speakers, and metaphysical-minded artists and writers then became part of the Los Angeles landscape. City of the Seekers examines how creative freedom enables SoCal artists to make spiritual work as part of their practices.

The Unarius Academy of Science promotes the study of extraterrestrial intelligence, reincarnation, and free energy, but its fundamental purpose is the channeling of alien beings for creativity. From churning out mind-blowing public-access TV shows to a variety of UFO-themed paintings, music, books, and other ephemera, the Unariuns continue to transmit a legacy of visionary art, most recently as the subject of a new documentary short called We Are Not Alone, produced by female-run cultural journalism and video content providers The Front.

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Starship in The Arrival (1980)

An acronym for “Universal Articulate Interdimensional Understanding of Science,” Unarius is a spiritual nonprofit foundation established in 1954 by Ernest Norman and his wife Ruth. When Ernest died in 1971, Ruth (a.k.a., Uriel from the planet Aries) became the organization's leader, until she herself left this earth in 1993. Under Uriel's leadership, Unarius produced 80 television programs that beamed across the airways of roughly 30 national public-access stations in the 1980s and beyond.

Unarius produced low-budget, DIY outsider films with titles such as The Arrival, Rainbow Bridge to the Inner Worlds, Lemuria Rising, Roots of the Earthman, The Decline and Destruction of the Orion Empire, A Visit to the Underground Cities of Mars, Journey Through the Crystal Mountain Cities, and Love in Action, just to name a few. Headquartered in El Cajon in Southern California, the organization is still making art and films today.

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Uriel in The Arrival (1980)

Director of We Are Not Alone, Jodi Wille tells The Creators Project, "What's so interesting about working with a group that still exists is that they represent this pocket of quiet America that is either ignored, discounted or ridiculed by the larger culture. But the more I go in, the saner they become."

After working with the Unariuns for the past three years, Wille describes the founders of Unarius to have been superpowered clairvoyants. Their students simply believe that the future of the planet Earth is positive and progressive an there’s no greater power in the Universe than love. "The Unariuns seem so conscious and awake and alert," Wille says. "I love that none of them care about money or fame."

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Uriel, Prince of the Realm, with students as cherubim for filming of Crystal Mountain Cities (1981)

The Unariuns hold clairvoyance and the channeling of alien entities as among their core tenets. In We Are Not Alone, veteran Unariuns recount putting on pageants for Uriel, designing everything from the costumes to the sets, and composing the music. They also describe the Unarius practice of staging impromptu "psychodramas" in order to tap into past lives and facilitate healing. Uriel herself is quoted as saying, "The people on the earth world are not aware that we have access to this higher influence and inspiration, and ability. But it's there. There are absolutely no limitations to man whatsoever." And that pretty much sums up the Unariuns’ cause.

However out-there their ideas might sound, there's no doubt that at core, the Unariuns are fundamentally an arts collective that explores the complexities of human nature and the mysteries of the universe. The question is, how do their ideas resonate today? As Wille says, "What I love so much about this material is, I feel like our culture is ready to reconsider it and take it seriously." Check out more Unarius art below:  

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Wall mural by Kevin Kennedy

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Painting by Doug Taylor

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The Unarius "Space Cad"

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Uriel of the Unarius Academy of Science

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Welcome Space Brothers: The Unarius Academy of Science student artwork at the Horse Hospital, London

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Welcome Space Brothers: The Unarius Academy of Science student artwork at the Horse Hospital, London

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Welcome Space Brothers: The Unarius Academy of Science student artwork at the Horse Hospital, London

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Welcome Space Brothers: The Unarius Academy of Science student artwork at the Horse Hospital, London

In conjunction with the release of We Are Not Alone, The Front is exclusively screening a limited release of the original Unarius sci-fi film The Decline and Destruction of the Orion Empire (Pt.4). Learn more about the Unarius psychodrama and listen to Songs for Space Travelers: Inspired by Unarius, a cosmic playlist of songs compiled by Jodi Wille, director of We Are Not Alone.

A photo exhibition featuring 16 prints and a glass-box performance-art installation with Unarius videos and pamphlets continues at the Standard, Hollywood through August 28. Visit the Unarius Academy of Science website here.

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