Everyone needs to believe in something.
We spend our lives searching for ideas, structures and people to invest our faith in, because we think they will provide us with answers to questions we KNOW cannot be answered.
We have no answers for American Messiahs.
But we have questions. Like: what causes claims of personal divinity, goofy pseudoscience, and communication with the dead or prophecies of worldly glory from spiritual entrepreneurs? This is the modern representation of the most zealous exponents of America’s unofficial national faith: a spiritual smorgasbord of positive thinking, seasoned by the eclectic 21st- century movement known as New Thought.
This multi-channel installed work presents the leader of New Thought as a mysterious but charismatic figure, who calls themselves “The Friend”, delivering seven sermons filled with instruction, divination, personal confession and a sticky mass of ambiguity.

John Sanborn is a key member of the second wave of American video artists. His work has been shown at every major museum in the world. Sanborn’s recent works are media installations addressing questions of identity, cultural truth, memory, mythologies, and humanity’s compulsion to tell stories.

Artist portrait:
Exhibitions in 360°:

The Friend / John Sanborn / USA / 2021 / Video installation / World Premiere
This creation has benefited from a support fund for digital artistic creation Fund [SCAN] Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes in 2021.
Telematic Media Arts
presents The Friend
Created by John Sanborn
Produced by Clark Buckner
Commissionned by VIDEOFORMES
Costumes by Christian Squires
Hair and Makeup by Samuel Richard works
Relics Created by Leigh Barbier & Jamielyn Duggan
Director of Photography: Roger Jones
On Set Assist: Wes Middleton
Music Composed by Danny Clay
Cast: John Cameron Mitchell, Erin Yen, Comika Hartford, Juba Kalamka, KJ Dahlaw, Landes Dixon, Jamielyn Duggan, Carlos Venturo, Jiz Lee
Special Thanks to: Michel Roueau, The Lifestyle Company, Carol Queen, The Good Vibrations Antique Vibrator Museum, Sarah Cahill, Homer Flynn, Agnès Guillaume, David Lawrence, David Blair, Steve Saporito, Stephen Sarazzin, Peter Weibel, The VIDEOFORMES Team, ZKM.