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Oct 27, 2023 at 10:00 am – Oct 29, 2023 at 4:30 pm

Ritual and Magic: Portals for Audiovisual Creation & Healing

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

Please note: This workshop will be held in UnionDocs’ new space in Ridgewood!
We’re now at: 352 Onderdonk Ave, Ridgewood,  NY – 11385

“Rituals are deliberate, mindful and sensational in that they involve the senses and our animal bodies. Rituals and ceremonies can deepen and transform the arc of human life from birth to adolescence to marriage, old age, and eventually to our deaths. Rituals can foster social cohesion and healing… Like lucid dreams, rituals can bridge the worlds of the profane and the sacred, the ordinary and the extraordinary”.

– Mary Antonia Wood

How can we define ritual? How are artists using ritual in their work to affect emotional states and physical processes? Can we think about conscious and unconscious processes being expressed in ritualized actions while embedded and represented through video and cinema?

In this 3 day workshop, we will explore the potential for moving-image to create, portray and document new ways of enacting and understanding rituals and magical practices.

Through screenings, conversations and exercises with artists and practitioners we will be guided through creating a ritual process involving the moving image in order to help us transform, memorialize, and document aspects of our lives.

We will explore questions like:
How can rituals help us close a chapter of our life?
Can we support our healing through the practice of ritual in the creation of moving images?
Can we connect with the otherworldly in our own work?
Can a ritual be magic?
Is ritual a performance of transformation, an unconscious placebo?
How can we do the work of grief by memorializing a loss?
Can we make a piece of art to prepare for or anticipate change?
Can we connect with deceased loved ones through cinema?
Can ritualized practices help us enact social and political transformation?

We invite you to welcome in the concept of ritual as an art form or as a personal practice that can enhance your own work. Throughout the workshop, discussions with each guest will help to connect varying styles of ritual, performance and visual arts with your own experiences and yearnings. You’ll also have the chance to share your own works in progress in a group feedback session, where folks can synthesize some of the ideas from the workshop and peek into each others’ practices!

On Friday, filmmaker, curator, researcher and our lead instructor for the weekend, Ruth Somalo will provide insight into how contemporary documentaries enact ritual and how we can support healing through cinematic processes. She will present an overview and framework of ritual in contemporary film and art practices, with an emphasis on translating intentions into ritual and how to use the language of film to perform or capture it. Somalo will draw on her own practice to offer intuitive ways of working with these tools to connect with creativity and imagination in powerful and unexpected ways. Artist Andrés Senra will join in the session to guide us through queer and feminist approaches, thinking through how some artists and artivists are producing social transformation. In the afternoon, mediamystic maverick Bradley Eros will guide us through his own ritual practices as an invocation to create a transformation or “an act to expose the process to liberate it”. Eros will demonstrate his poetic-philosophical methods, forms and incarnations as acts of critical or ecstatic celebration via myriad media: films, videos, slides, collages, photos, posters, audio, quotations, documents, texts, zines, scores, diagrams, soundtracks, symbols, instructions, essays, designs, actions and magic spells.

On Saturday morning, filmmaker and performance artist, writer and curator Theo Cuthand will guide participants in a discussion of his varying techniques from the more diaristic to more experimental approaches. Participants will be guided in a discussion about different video techniques which demonstrate healing through using props and effects. He will also talk about how film viewing can be a healing art. In the afternoon, artist and curator Raisa Maudit will lead us through the gray road between fiction and non-fiction specifically in her exploration of hyperstition, self-fulfilling prophecies, mysticism and belief as fields of action for the transformation of the world.

On Sunday, participants will be guided by medium Tiffany Hopkins through a session about mediumship for creativity. The class will become a self-contained vessel for creativity and connection where participants will bring whatever materials they like (Ink and paper or your favorite drawing tools). The session will include a conversation about materials and ideas, a meditation, exercises to make contact, music and quiet work. Tiffany’s work supports connection with the dead, planetary bodies, plant allies and all the other quiet members of our world, but connecting with like-minded and like-hearted people along with their art is a tried and true way to feel alive. In the afternoon, Ruth Somalo will be joined by Senra to close out our weekend, facilitating a final session where participants will be invited to share their works-in-progress or ideas for a current project and receive feedback.

On Friday evening at 8pm, we’ll also host a PUBLIC SCREENING that includes the works of Raisa Maudit, Andrés Senra, Ruth Somalo, Bradley Eros and Theo Cuthand.

Objects to bring:
A personal object
A printed page of a text that feels sacred to you
A printed page of your own diary or personal writing
Scissors and scotch tape or glue
A candle
Paper and drawing utensils
A notebookand a recording device (phone, camera, recorder…)


Open to everyone, though the workshop setting is best suited for filmmakers, film producers, choreographers, dancers, performance and media artists looking to develop the cinematic languages with which they can represent and incorporate movement.

$350 early bird registration by October 20th, 2023 at 11:59PM.

$400 regular registration.

For each workshop, UnionDocs will offer the equivalent of 2 full scholarships for participants from historically marginalized backgrounds, who are BIPOC,  living with disabilities, or NYC artists earning under 30% AMI (Area Median Income).

Applicants should reach out to [email protected] in order to fill out a scholarship inquiry by April 3rd, 2023.

The deposit is non-refundable. Should you need to cancel, you’ll receive half of your registration fee back until March 3rd. After March 3rd, the fee is non-refundable.

In order to keep costs down, this workshop is a BYOL, i.e. bring your own laptop. Students must be fully proficient using and operating their computers.

NOTE: To register for a workshop, students must pay in full via card, check, or cash.  After the early bird registration deadline of Oct 20th, course fees are not refundable or transferable and any withdrawals or deadlines will result in the full cost of the class being forfeit. There will be no exceptions. To withdraw from a course please email info-at-uniondocs.org.

In the event that a workshop does not receive sufficient enrollment, it may be canceled. Students will be notified at least 48 hours prior to the start of a cancelled workshop and will be refunded within 5 business days. If we reschedule a workshop to another date, students are also entitled to a full refund. UnionDocs reserves the right to change instructors without prior notification, and to change class location and meeting times by up to an hour with 48 hours prior notice.

Please note: Participants are accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis.


Friday, Oct 27: 10:00AM - 4:30PM

10:00am – 10:30am Welcome & intros – Workshop presentation with Ruth Somalo
10:30am – 12:30pm Intro session with Ruth Somalo and Andrés Senra
12:30am – 2:00pm Lunch
2:00pm – 4:00pm Session with Bradley Eros
4:00pm – 4:30pm Wrap Up Discussion with Lead additional exercises / discussion (tarot card reading asking: “what should I consider while making my ritual piece?”

8:00pm – PUBLIC SCREENING in collaboration with Storm and Drunk:

-THE VAMPIRE MANIFESTO, Raisa Maudit, 20min (2021)
-OPEN SESAME, Bradley Eros, 7min (1989)
-RITUALES QUEER, Andrés Senra, 22 min (2020)
-MEDICINE BUNDLE, Theo Cuthand, 10min (2020)
-GRAVITY (WIP), Ruth Somalo, 10 min (2023)

Saturday, Oct 28: 10:00AM - 4:30PM

10:00am – 10:30am Warm up, inspiring references, case studies with Ruth Somalo
10:30am – 12:30pm Session with Theo Cuthand (Via Zoom)
12:30am – 2:00pm Lunch
2:00pm – 4:00pm Session with Raisa Maudit
4:00pm – 4:30pm Wrap Up Discussion with Lead, additional exercises / discussion

Sunday, Oct 29: 10:00AM - 4:30PM

10:00am – 10:30am Warm up, inspiring references, case study, eye training with Ruth Somalo
10:30am – 12:30pm Session with Tiffany Hopkins Mediumship and creativity
12:30am – 2:00pm Lunch
2:00pm – 4:00pm Work-in-progress with Ruth & Andrés
4:00pm – 4:30pm Wrap Up Discussion with Lead, additional exercises / discussion

Each day follows this general structure, with some minor variations and substitutions:


First Workshop Session




Second Workshop Session


Wrap Up


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.

Tiffany Hopkins began studying mediumship after moving into her great-great grandmother’s cottage in Lily Dale, the world’s largest community of Spiritualists. During the pandemic she developed a curriculum to share her process of mediumship for creativity and this series is an evolution to bring together a larger community of artists and mystics. She is a practicing medium, educator, futurist and she’d like you to join her over at Normalize Talking to the Dead. For Tiffany, mediumship isn’t just talking to the dead, it is developing relationship with spirit – whether that of a loved one on the other side, our own subconscious, aliens, the body, Earth or any other presence that calls to our deepest truths – It involves more than just conversation and brings more than just words.

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.

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.

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Oct 27, 2023 at 10:00 am
Oct 29, 2023 at 4:30 pm


352 Onderdonk Avenue
QUEENS, NY 11385 United States
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