In September I will perform and speak at Trans-States: The Art of Revelation, a transdisciplinary conference ‘that will explore the complex interrelationships between contemporary occulture, revelation, non-ordinary states of consciousness, power, structure, textuality and deconstruction.’
My paper will focus on vision and the visionary in my practice and in relation to the body. The performance will be the second in the Apocalypteria cycle, and is a collaboration with sound artist Anji Cheung.
Visitation is a ritual performed within the circle or chorós, the dancing ground. The concept for the dance arose from my desire to see Venus, the heavenly body that rules erotic love and the occult sex of women, inspired and tantalised by imagings of the topography of the mysterious, cloud-veiled planet, and especially the colour photographs of the Soviet space probe Venera 13.
The dance is intended as a chorography of this landscape, and a glimpse of its elusive numina, revealing through the body a clandestine vision of the divine: the visitation.
I am developing the choreography through an experimental process inspired by the affective mysticism of Thomas Gallus, through visionary experiences and entranced, engodded states sought through movement and entheogens, in dreaming, and in a series of ritual workings with Venusian spirits. In process, and in performance, I ask how we see and make visible what is hidden. I consider the body as a place of seeing (theatron) and as the place of the god/dess (theos/thea), and the dancing ground as a space within our commodified, secular culture where the sacred can reveal itself.
Visitation is a collaboration with Anji Cheung, who will create the soundscape for the ritual.
Mantic visions and the subtle eye of matter
Esoteric or occult knowledge is revealed in revelatory episodes, in mantic visions that are felt to descend on us when we are engodded, or, when dreaming or enraptured, we are transported to a visionary realm.
If the living body is, as phenomenology understands, the basis of being and knowing, then all forms of knowing, including the visionary, should be considered in terms of the flesh. In this talk I will explore visionary states in relation to embodiment and animate life, showing the visionary as grounded in corporeality, in the physiology of the living body.
It is through the mediation of the body that the invisible makes itself known to us. I will consider the dark senses of touch and kinesthesia and their synaesthetic involvement with vision, how the tactile kinaesthetic awareness of the living body is in continual conversation with the visual.
I propose that we think of a continuum of embodied states between incarnation and excarnation, from out of body and near death experiences to the weakly embodied dreaming and psychedelic states to the immersive deep embodiment of possession and performance. To each of these states belong distinctive modes of seeing.
These perspectives are drawn from my experience of creating dance; working with dream and visionary states to support movement explorations throughout the choreographic process, and in the translation and transfiguration of images into flesh in performance.