On Performative Hierophanies
a presentation given at Trans-States Conference, September 2019
Topography of Myth
I wonder, sometimes, about how I insist on making these connections … how I may have imagined it all, but I continue as a border walker, with my attempts to examine any previous notions around what we consciously perceive as fiction and myth, reality or construct. Looking at the personal phenomenological experience in relation to the liminal state/place, weighing up the collective unconscious in contrast to cultural constructs … times and futures/past
These attempts are often steeped in the psychogeomagickical, as I continue to explore notions of genius loci (spirit of place) the seen and unseen, which contribute to (mind)mapping a forensics of transgressive happenings as essential to maybe some kind of understanding, whereby combining the stratological unconscious with the lay of the land, my praxis continues to focus on notions of heterotopia and hierophany, interweaving the bodily experience with elements of esoteric initiation while questioning the shifting relations between the sacred and the profane in both concrete and apparently abstract states.
Using a site specific methodology, whether drifting or purposefully revisiting certain spaces, I attempt to explore these notions, examining the topography of myth, how the inherently primaeval connection with the land relates to the veiled state, in communion with other archetypes. viewing private rite and performance through the lens of the female body as ‘other’ regarding the experience in relation to nature and place.
What I am trying to communicate relies heavily on the materiality of the work, the permanence and impermanence of porcelain, hair, organic inks and paper which work as signifiers in themselves alongside the at times overtly obvious symbology used – in plain site.
These elements when combined, the weaving together of ‘pseudo scientific elements of the occult world with the concrete empirical experience are my attempt to somehow build on an ‘other’ language of being, to expand on the mystical and if possible achieve some manifestation of gnosis …
As the milky moon creeps across the sky
ash and pomegranate juice painting on textile – part of the ongoing series Marking Time, exhibited at Salong Odengatan, Stockholm, May 2019
I remember when we were still underground, being amongst the roots and grubs and those beautiful fat rhizomic tubers … it seems that, now, I too have reincarnated, along with the hare …we attempted to inhabit another time … did not dare to contemplate, the future that never was, as here we stand on this precipice and gaze up at her, the unwavering full bloated moon, milky white and seeming to mock me as she creeps across the sky and slowly back into my womb …
3 walks – text as footnotes to 3 psychogeographic walks, culminating in a ritual performative piece, Stockholm 2018
SHADOWS LIKE MY STAINS – 3 ANCHOR POINTS – STRATIFICATION OF THE UNFAMILIAR – CUT OUT -TO REPRESENT – PERSONAL EXCAVATIONS – A FINAL CONFIRMATION
THE LAY OF THE LAND – CONSUMED AND DEVOURED – THE DIRT WHICH NOURISHED MY BODY – 2 BLOOD MOONS LATER
HOW LONG CAN A MOMENT LAST – STRIPPED BARE – THE PAST – LUMINOUS, LIKE BIRCH BARK – A BLOOD PROMISE – COLD SPRING, BITTER ROOTS – WHEN THE FIRE HAS BURNT OUT – THROUGH THE ASH, BLACK AS COAL – I RISE WITH THE SUN
Anecdotal Evidence and Magickal Realisms Artist statement from 2012
My practice is intrinsically bound to the discourse around constructs of power, politics and personal free will, around questions of authenticity and authority, often considering the role of memory, place and perception in relation to concepts of origin or cultural norms.
Using sometimes overlooked areas of cultural histories, or otherness, as a starting point – whether physical hinterlands, lives of those on the perimeter or the murky area where the unconscious meets with the unexplained – I place them in relation to current structures of power and societal divisions.
This invariably leads to examination of the increasing alienation from others in society, and our environment – whether natural or urban, the continuing separation of folk knowledge, and how our access to ancestral and cultural understanding is manipulated by the media. I incorporate aspects of western esoteric thought into some of my work, as a valid tool for re-examining these issues rather than as a glib offering to current trends.
By incorporating aspects of ethnography, psychogeography and bricolage I attempt to question accepted thinking around myth and reality. My installations* being a collection of objects, an inventory of artefacts, some found, some fabricated. I interpret these as forensics from a collected cultural memory, archetypes and signifiers whose interpretation can alter according to the experience, belief and perception of the spectator, but the meaning remains the same.
* Human Nature, part II included an interactive performance Ritual which acted as a footnote to the props and artefacts within the installation.
H u m a n N a t u r e ? 2013/2014
the forensics of idealism suspended artefacts fabricated nostalgias
IN THE PAST WE ARE ALWAYS PRESENT
Human nature is an ongoing series of work exhibited in parts –
Part 1 – June 2013
Part 2 – September 2013
Sanitary is a series of work relating to western society’s psychological
relationship with the female body, how this relationship has been
controlled through historical use of language and the subsequent
alienation from our natural environment. Specifically relating to the
English Witch Trials, the causality between persecution of the literate women in the villages, the emergence of the land enclosure act and capitalism .
The trials thus used in a deliberate political act to control and undermine
the role of women in rural societies.
pure clean sanitary spotless unsullied unadulterated innocent virtuous
smutty soiled stained unclean indecent vulgar salacious profane
The human body, the blood, hair,
flesh in all its dirty glory, seems so alien to the constructed,
seems to mock the ordered, logical world of institutions and concrete
building, of manmade religions and controlling shame.
Whilst humankind struggle to
ignore their evolutionary roots, try to leave the wild subconscious
behind, to progress by building ever safer and sanitised false
environments, to wash away the past’ through form, function and
order, the body continues to be.
Technology moves forward with
civilisations, biological evolution continues, but, the social psyche
is somehow still stuck in the divisive aftermath of the witch trials
regarding the female body
Installation – porcelain, soap, hair, soil, branches, twigs
Bookworks – porcelain, soap and screenprint on found material,
The Carnival Is Over 2006
text to a series of prints, projection and found objects
soundtrack – Kicking Against the Pricks, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
Transgressions occur through not necessarily conscious actions, the actuality of the event imagined through evidence left behind.
These clues which, though ambiguous, serve to signify the frustration, loss and alienation experienced through being. When the carnival is over the human condition remains and all that relates, through growth, nature, animality, lust, dirt and subsequent decay.