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Oct 27, 2023 at 7:00 pm

Healing Portals

With Ruth Somalo, Andrés Senra, Raisa Maudit, Theo Cuthand & Bradley Eros

Doors 6:30p
Program 7:00p

352 Onderdonk Ave
Ridgewood, NY

In tandem with her weekend workshop RITUAL AND MAGIC AS PROCESSES AND PORTALS FOR AUDIOVISUAL CREATION AND HEALING, Ruth Somalo brings us a night of films to expand on the workshop’s themes. We’re so happy to join hands with Storm and Drunk to take part in their series A Dispossessed Academy with tonight’s program HEALING PORTALS!

The artists in this program embark on acts of mythopoesis by creating stories of transformation and rebirth, by recuperating ancestral traditions and performative gestures that confront the ominous undertows that tug beneath the froth of our lives.

Using the tools of cinema they are reaching for some of the oldest navigational tools known to humankind such as sacred ritual and metaphysical speculation.

From the phantasmagoric and the Theatre of Horror as a means to unpack colonial, gendered and psychiatric violence in Raisa Maudit’s THE VAMPIRE MANIFESTO, to the transformative in OPEN SESAME, a ritual shadowplay in 7 hieroglyphic movements from media mystic Bradley Eros, or to the protective in Andrés Senra’s, RITUALES QUEER with a sharing on the creation of talismans and amulets that can be used for protective measures, we’ll get into many of the central themes of the workshop with examples that approach these many possible thresholds for healing. In Theo Cuthand’s MEDICINE BUNDLE the artist discusses his family’s healing medicine bundle which combats disease brought on by colonization, and we’ll close with a work-in-progress excerpt from Ruth Somalo’s forthcoming feature LA GRAVEDAD. Using cinema as means of communication with the dead and as a form of galvanizing new family relationships this segment explores an original maternal wound, the loss of loved ones, and biographical dislocation.

This program will open up the possibilities for how ritual, magic, and the fantastical can support transformative and transitional processes.

We’re delighted to have Ruth in conversation with Bradley, Andrés and Raisa following the program.

The screening and conversation will be available online for UnionDocs members and Storm and Drunk participants.


The Vampire Manifesto by Raisa Maudit

20 min, 2021

The video was shot between 2017 and May 2021. The exteriors were filmed in the now disappeared forests of Cumbre Vieja in La Palma (where I am from), Highgate Cemetery in London (where Marx is buried and where the case of the Highgate Vampire happened) and the interiors were filmed in my studio where the idea of the stalactite and the lava is played with as a metaphor of that systemic revenge. Starting from the entry into the apocalyptic grotto of lava and blood, a video-essay is created in which the text/voice drifts into a layer of information about sexual and psychiatric violence, from content ranging from the rescue of the forgotten history of the Amazonas Auaritas of the island of La Palma, murdered and raped during the Spanish conquest, feminicide, to psychiatric violence related to the Terror in the Night and a statement that alludes to the biographical layers that are also deployed in the novel. The visual part of the film draws from classic and 70s horror cinema, from phantasmagoria and the Theatre of Horror and silent cinema. In it three performers including myself play four characters in a story of transformation and immortality based on resistance to violence and acceptance to communicate on more cognitive layers with the voice/text part. All of us performers have survived sexual and psychiatric violence. On a scenographic level the video itself uses the sculptures as props so that as an exhibition it was conceived to be exhibited with these elements both on and off screen.

Open Sesame by Bradley Eros & Jeanne Liotta

Performance on video, 7 min, 1989

Minotaur of the monitor met a sphinx through the riddles of the LAByrinth.
A ritual shadowplay in 7 hieroglyphic movements & inter-titles that “creates an intense aura in the blue light of the electronic cave, by telegraphing actions of two creatures in conflict, creation, communication, and the urge to liberate.”

Originally performed live at The Gas Station, and taped at Gargoyle Mechanique in the East Village.

Rituales Queer by Andrés Senra

22 min, 2020

“Queer Rituals” is part of a multimedia art installation created by Andrés Senra in 2019, addressing power dynamics, domination, and exploitation by white, European, cishetero men towards nature as a consequence of the legacy of rationalism and enlightened colonialism. The result is a crucible of thoughts and images speculating on issues such as the environmental and pandemic crisis, naturocultural relationships as a strategy towards a new understanding of the world, the body, and being, identity beyond the binary gender as a material-discursive and fluid interweaving, neovitalism in contemporary ritualistic art practices through magic or human-machine-animal alliances, and interspecies alliances as a subversive strategy against anthropocentrism.

Queer Rituals reflects on the redemption of magic and collective rituals by the performative scene of contemporary queer art. The idea of matter and objects as active agents is framed within a revision of neo-vitalism and magical thinking in its relationship with artistic creation. The film documents the creation of talismans and amulets, the use of psychoactive substances as a method of personal discovery, and the tradition of using amulets during the Spanish Civil War to protect oneself from enemy gunfire.

Medicine Bundle by Theo Cutland

Video, 9:33 min, 2020

Cuthand discusses a medicine bundle in her family and the Bear cub spirit attached to it, as it heals her family through trauma and disease brought about by colonization.

Gravity by Ruth Somalo

Video, WIP, 10 min, 2023

A work in progress sequence for an upcoming feature film. An essay film about familial wounds bound together through the objects that take the place of absence, and about the act of filming as a ritual of communication, honoring and transmutation. A story about the loss of loved ones and the abstract wound that is wrapped around the relationship with the filmmaker’s mother.

Program Duration: 70 mins + Conversation

Watch the conversation between Ruth Somalo, Andrés Senra, Raisa Maudit, & Bradley Eros on the UnionDocs’ Membership hub.


Theo Jean Cuthand was born in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada in 1978, and grew up in Saskatoon. Since 1995 he has been making short experimental narrative videos and films about sexuality, madness, Queer identity and love, and Indigeneity, which have screened in festivals internationally, including the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City, Mix Brasil Festival of Sexual Diversity in Sao Paolo, ImagineNATIVE in Toronto, Ann Arbour Film Festival, Images in Toronto, Berlinale in Berlin, New York Film Festival, Outfest,and Oberhausen International Short Film Festival. His work has also exhibited at galleries including the Remai in Saskatoon, The National Gallery in Ottawa, the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, MoMA in New York, and The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. He completed his Bachelor of Fine Arts majoring in Film and Video at Emily Carr University of Art and Design in 2005, and his Masters of Arts in Media Production at Toronto Metropolitan University in 2015. He has made commissioned work for Urban Shaman and Videopool in Winnipeg, Cinema Politica in Montreal, VIMAF in Vancouver, and Bawaadan Collective in Canada. In 2020 he completed working on a 2D video game called A Bipolar Journey based on his experience learning and dealing with his bipolar disorder. It can be found here. He has also written three feature screenplays and has performed at Live At The End Of The Century in Vancouver, Queer City Cinema’s Performatorium in Regina, and 7a*11d in Toronto. In 2017 he won the Hnatyshyn Foundation’s REVEAL Indigenous Art Award. He is a Whitney Biennial 2019 artist. He has made 32 videos and films and counting. Currently he has a feature film in development. He is a trans man who uses He/Him pronouns. He is of Plains Cree and Scots descent, a member of Little Pine First Nation, and currently resides in Toronto, Canada.

Ruth Somalo is a Spanish visual artist, curator, researcher and educator based in New York.
She is interested in creating a non judgmental non anthropocentric space to discuss and embrace emotions, myth, fragility, death and ritual. Her latest work is concerned with taboos of the female body, illnesses, patriarchal structures & narrative medicine, human remains, tears, ritual healing, experiences of loss and the legacies of the Witch Hunts. Her feature and short films have been shown in theaters, festivals and museums internationally. She currently works as Senior Programmer at DOC NYC, DocumentaMadrid and The Architecture and Design Film Festival. Some of her independently curated programs include “The affection for small things” (Cineteca de Madrid), “Filming One’s own Ghosts”, “Holy Fluids and Absent Wounds” (Union Docs) and “Broken Senses” (Anthology Film Archives). Ruth also works as a mentor, seminar Instructor and as advisor of non fiction projects. She is a PhD. candidate at Autonomous University of Madrid, and she is finishing her dissertation “MENDING OBJECTS: Mourning, reparation and the self in contemporary non fiction”. She is a long standing member of the research group Hist-Ex (Anthropology of Experience) at the Spanish National Research Council, currently working on a project that re-evaluates gesture as a form of community building and as a mark of political distinction.

Andrés Senra is a contemporary artist, filmmaker and curator based in Queens, New York.
His latest work revolves around the idea of human communities as ecological ephemeral assemblages, in which political, economic and social tensions in the contemporary world are embodied. In recent works, Senra has addressed issues such as LGBTIQ+ migrations, the consequences of Climate Change in our lives, the archive as an artwork and the political and affective history of the queer communities. His work proposes a critical review of post-humanism from positions of sexual dissidence, putting forward a defense of the monster, hybridization and post-gender politics via speculative sci-fi as a means to rethink the contemporary world. Senra’s artworks have gained recognition through both solo and group exhibitions hosted by international museums and galleries such as Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (MNCARS) in Spain, CA2M in Madrid, Centro Cultural Recoleta in Argentina, Hosek Contemporary in Berlin, Art Center Nabi in Seoul, Contemporary Art Center Matadero Madrid, Interior Beauty Salon in New York, Culture Lab LIC in New York, and BAAD-Bronx in New York.

Raisa Maudit is a multidisciplinary artist and curator born in La Palma, Canary Islands, with training in contemporary art, classical music and composition, programming and robotics. Through multidisciplinary processes she resorts to multiple systems of representation to analyze and show the contradictions and blind spots of the dominant narratives of the system. From a post-anarchist and transfeminist approach, she builds a particular universe in which popular culture and the performative possibilities of identity result in polyhedral works where music, scenography, occultism, performance, text, theory-fiction, video, sculpture, installation, robotics or curatorship intermingle to propose other possible realities that provide a way out for systemic transformations. Her work has been present in MUSAC (Spain), Gitte Böhr Galerie (Berlin), Galeria Códice (Nicaragua), ESTAMPA, SWAB (Barcelona), CA2M (Madrid), Museo El Chopo (Mexico D. F), Fundació Joan Miro (Barcelona), Galería Formato Cómodo (Madrid), MACBA (Barcelona), HOME (Manchester), Kingston Gallery (Los Angeles), Konsthall C (Stockholm) , Swinton Gallery (Madrid), or Kunstraum Flat1(Vienna), Q21 Museum Quarter (Vienna), among others. Since 2014 she runs Storm And Drunk, a contemporary art space, specular laboratory and publishing house in Madrid. Since 2020 she is part of the international research group Visionary Women Research Group focused on the study of the relationships between mediumship, dissident spiritualities, feminism, anarchism and art.

Bradley Eros is a mediamystic maverick, who prefers the night & the perfume of eau de cinema. Bradley is an artist working in myriad media: experimental film & video, collage, photography, performance, sound, text, installation, expanded & contracted cinema. Also a curator, designer, researcher, composer & investigator. Some concepts include: ephemeral cinema, Erotic Psyche, Optipus, subterranean science, cinema povera, poetic accidents, fragmentstein, musique plastique, Ocula, Narcolepsy cCnema, vampÿrates, metaBody, The Owl of Minerva, Artaud-Butoh, Mushroom Archive, Velvet Hermetic System, Oysters of the Id, Black Hole Cinema & Mediamystics.

Presented in collaboration with the program “A Dispossessed Academy” which is a cultural and artistic project organized by Storm and Drunk (Spanish artist space funded by Raisa Maudit) that proposes the creation of a virtual and face-to-face meeting space through different sessions for the construction of collective knowledge. A space accessible and transdisciplinary created through the discussion of processes of artistic creation and thought that include current reflections on the paradigm shifts that have occurred in the first decades of the 21st century and that are marginal or excluded from institutional and official spheres of contemporary thought and art. Shifts that are reflected in the artistic production of a series of agents, collectives, art spaces and national, local and international artists who rethink the relationships between community artivism and the otherness of the dispossessed, the interspecies relationships that build communities of care for the planet, the questioning of the human as an anthropocentric discourse, the feminist and spiritual practices that work from mysticism as a drive for creation, the text and the archive as a form of artistic and plastic practice, magic and ritual practices that propose the creation of communities of affection and individual and collective transformation through performance and its documentary record, the relationships between art and healing in relation to the spaces we inhabit, whether physical or virtual, queer feminism and post-colonialism as currents of thought that are articulating networks of questioning of historical global hierarchies from horizontal and collaborative artistic practices. The series addresses emerging practices in fields of knowledge as apparently diverse as biotechnology, philosophy, performance, architecture, ecology, history, arts, mysticism and metaphysics, performative rituals and magical thinking.

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Oct 27, 2023
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm


352 Onderdonk Avenue
Ridgewood, NY 11385 United States
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