The performer marks the sacred space. She dons a Raven headdress. She calls the spirit of the Raven into her body. She makes action gestures to symbolically cut away the old flesh and then to ingest the old/dead body. She drums and raises the energy to alchemically transform the old into something new.
The final action is to wash the body with milk for purification.
The symbol of Raven is one that stands at the threshold between death and rebirth.
Countless cultures point to the raven as a harbinger of powerful secrets.
keeping and communicating deep mysteries
The year after my mother died
I had a dream of a large black bird carrying the symbol of a new time
Flying over the city, deep into the night
I let the bird come into me, I grab my breasts and scream.
Banner photo by Pete Telfer.
I let the bird come into me ...
Site and location shape this durational work
Belfast has walls that are called Peace Lines
The Troubles (late 1960’s to 1998), still haunt this city
We move through a gate to the city center
In places there are still bomb craters, or ghosts of them
The artists re-inhabit the site of The Old Police Station
We are making a group event, and everywhere artists spread themselves into various nooks and hallways, closets, corners
I find my way to the top of the building
There are spirals of stairs going up and a skylight
The light is dim in the evening of winter
I paint my body, and call in Raven
I feel her sharp beak and green eyes
I start to drum, listening for the memories of this building to speak thru me in this city of divided people
I whip the knife into figure eights
Churning up a connection to the eternal possibility for growth and transformation
I kneel and feel the egg in my hands — I whisper prayer for Rebirth
And I repeat the dance
Again and again as the dusk shifts to night.
It is hot. Summer.
The artists re-inhabit a massive old tobacco factory in the middle of Madrid
The place is run-down, peeling paint, broken walls, but it is lively
I hear music and laughter; the air is charged with the energy of experimentation, and
I set up in a space that is large and light
The sunlight of Spain is magnificent and full blown
My performance will run from late afternoon into the long evening of summer
People wandering in and out, waves
I pain my body white silver
I draw my salt circles and start to drum
Calling Raven in
The heat opens a depth of sexual texture
The late summer night stretches into expansiveness. I surrender.
I circle and drum, fly, and the dream mind opens —
This female skin moves to remember — to remember the trauma that sometimes hits and
cracks us open. This performance speaks to the violence we witness, and live with
And this ritual is also about cutting through the old, and re-making.
The scream that is Life, the pain and the possibility of renewal — all at once Birth and
Death — cycles of disintegration and creation, of falling and clutching and crying, and
then rising up and sweeping the wingspan open again — wide and free
deep with the magic of female sex
It is autumn in Wales
The crispness of change, again
I am on the train from London
Into the wilder terrain of Welsh hills, lyrical and fresh, alive
Chapter Arts is a comfortable and buzzing art space in the middle of town
People are gathering from all over the UK and abroad for this festival. There is much
excitement in the air.
This time — I have a large black studio space
I draw my salt circles on the black floor. Red light heats the area with the milk bowl —
When my body is painted, I start my drumming
I measure and stretch my gestures of screaming and clutching, knife whirling, egg caressing, with breathing and heartbeat and increase of rhythm
I move for hours before people start to enter the room, charging the space
And by the time the audience pours in, my skin is glistening and my energy is flexed with fire. I circle and dance, fall and scream, fly, dream, wash with milk —
Into the night.
Costume Design by Fernando Mialski.
Special Thanks to Sandra Johnston and Polyxeni Canditi Dalloway Stavrou for curatorial support & to Clelia Rinaldi for developmental feedback.