The figure of the witch offers my practice crystal thinking, many faceted and slick for symbolic projection. In my research this year I have been busy with the historic victims and their trials (accusation, interrogation, execution) as recorded in: court documents, theological debates (Malleus Maleficarum) and in woodcuts (from 1300-1800). These documents are starting points for a practice of speculative feminism (Donna Haraway) of somatic fantasy that searches for the knowledge that was situated in the witch’s body and in the wood that was placed alongside her*.
I will be joined this August in the studio by Josephine Brinkmann, Suvi Kemppainen, Johanna Ackva, a pile of wood (Totholz) recovered from Tegeler Forest and together we will move - thinking through textual offerings from Silvia Federici, Jane Bennett and the others mentioned here throughout. We will invite wooden materiality and give attention to agencies, voices, bodies and the gravity of being together as we stack, carry, lean - piling up. The witch offers a character that can move between binaries or realms, situated in cyclical wisdom - phase existence, intersectional and inclusive. A figure that practices power-within rather than power-over (Starhawk) and was condemned because of wielding an illegitimate (access to) power. If this power was not achieved through the acceptable means of inherited privilege, accumulation in capitalist enterprise, or seized through violent force, it is a knowledge, an agency that our contemporary world urgently needs to imagine or re-discover.
The pile is an inclusive and chaotic mass. It is full of spiders, insects, rotting material, freshly cut wood, mold, bacteria, things fallen, things forgotten. The pyre a rearrangement, an ordering of these agents for the purpose of punishment within human culture. With the inclusion of the human subject, it makes for a penultimate collaboration of human and non-human elements. When the flames finish their performance, a pile appears once more this time containing ash, memories in the bones and branches that did not burn away, dust settles and new agents flourish. Through performance we will explore these forms searching for the choreography of the pile and an aesthetic action of reclaiming.