“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
Paper and drawing utensils
A notebookand a recording device (phone, camera, recorder…)