Let's yield the field between the ridiculous and the absurd!
Times of frustration change to times of happiness and then again to times of inspiration. The moment of irritation towards my environment often generates visions of activity or change. In moments of bliss visions of bigger schemes appear, and I can imagine massive amounts of labor constituting wondrous buildings, places and events. In the best moments, when I am inside of the moment, work actually is DONE rather than made, and things are set in motion.
In my active practice I tend to generate a space in which I can open up my sensatory array and in which I wont get punched in the face while doing that. With this opened sensation I try to emit or pass on energy that is already present, but which is at many times not deliberately activated or being related to.
The exchange or activation of energy between two things seems to bring these things back to an original or whole state, and reaffirms both entities of its present existence under the attention of one-another. This attentative affirmation towards a being and even towards the body of his/her/its singular cells charge the energy that is present positively (or maybe it is just re-charged without the additive positive or negative.) This charging can be perceived as Healing.
To approach energy, and the potentiality of energy, I create access points/moments that are simultaneously anchored in traditional methodologies, and also new instantaneous intuitively automated (guided) methodologies.
SJASSA B. LOVEJOY'S PRACTICE
An example of this is Sjassa B. Lovejoy’s Practice in which I transformed a gallery-space into a healing-salon, by placing a massage table, room divider, waiting bench, rug and towel cabinet in the space. I also stocked up some essential oils and sacred liquids from Santeria shops in Rotterdam, as well as assembling utensils and objects that are initiated by frequent use in sessions and shows. (both publicly and privately) In this showroom the light was altered to an overall red light which changed the perceptibility of space and time-of-day. Layers upon layers of burning sage smoke was distributed across the space, as well as cologne and liquids, that were vaporized. The distributing of scents was done by walking in a pattern that could best be perceived as a swastika and an inverted swastika overlapping each other and spreading over the square room as a grid. (see image below). This Swastika pattern was derived from a gush of inspiration, or perhaps an invisible hand that made me walk in this way, to only afterwards be analyzed as this pattern, but was never before conceived consciously.
The massage table also, which hosted various people, was cleansed and consecrated over and over again by incense and liquids. I must add that in both cases described above the actual scents that were released were supported by the visualizing of cleanliness and sacred space, and by a self-convincing visualization of past, processed and/or lingering energies to exit the space.
Upon entering the healing salon people found a sign-up sheet located near the entrance, and were notified by the present visual elements or atmosphere that one does not enter the healing room just-like-that. A visitor could gain access by signing in for a treatment of which the details were unknown. A threshold.
In one-on-one sessions visitors received a healing treatment from my assistant Yelena and my assistant Self. These healing sessions were not pre-conceived treatments other than being based in training in Reiki, and by being rooted on several self-trained methodologies for working with energy and atmosphere. Yelena was very prone on activating the objects in the space to deliver the visitor to a sensuous domain. Since everyone that came had to take of their shoes and outer layers of clothing, as well as being blindfolded after laying down on the massage table, there was already an enhightened receptivity of the body, or of that which is closely surrounding the body.
Elements such as the washing of feet and hands were guided by whispered words that can be labeled as spells or prayers. Especially the treatment of feet became very important for me during this example, for it seemed as though you actually uplift a person from its path, and can offer a moment of rest and re-affirmation to the feet. I especially felt good in offering this to feet, for they seem to be not so accessible in common-day togetherness. This sensation I had with the feet was shared with the sensation of working on the patch behind someone’s head – like a stork you are standing at the origin of a persons life. Similar to the way in which a cat or rabbit transports its young ones by grabbing on to the neck, this area seems very potent for de-constructing of one’s modular energy, a.k.a the energetic suit you wear when being in a city. Simultaneously with the opening up or massaging of one’s energy, good intentions and visions of love were send into the person by self-convincing visualizations.
Treatments ended with fobbing off all remaining and energetic-fumes that might have come up, or out of the body during the treatment by waving over the body from crown to sole, pushing as it were (or as it is) the damp layer of not interpreted energy away from the body into the anonymous no-were of a place we do not regard with our consciousness in that moment. It is also normative to visualize this damp-fume to return to the earth, or to the core foundation of all energy working in the cosmos. The aura of a visitor is polished by visualizing and stroking over it from the bottom to the top on all sides of the body, in a circular way. The treatment ends by drawing an invisible blanket over the body from the feet to the crown, and thus enclosing the revived charges close to the person.
After a person is re-awakened by the ringing of a bell on 4 sides of the body, he or she is offered a glass of water, and is guided towards them clothes and belongings, before exiting the space. – after which the cleansing and preparing of both space and healers commences, for another round to follow.
Lately I seem to put much effort into the writing press releases, as they seem to become the recipe of the later situation on the one hand, and on the other seem to already be an integral part of the show and its story. For some the show will only take place in their intimate reading of the press-release, when they do not attend the situation on site.
In these press-releases I write about the visit of a person that is either a healer or a doctor or a shaman, with a name that for that moment substitutes my own. Often including words that either in their semiotic quality or in their onomatopoeic quality are meaningful to me, or indicate the promise of the energy of the show or of my agency. Papa-Yaya for instance becomes a promise for the sweet of the papaya fruit, and the presence of a father-figure. Sjassa as derived from Kingsjassa has the promise of authority a leadership a king might have, after which B. Lovejoy attributes an ambiguous quality to the person, and henceforth the practice.
Trouble rose for me, when I was putting up posters that heralded the skills in Reiki and Rune-interpretation of a person named Jasper Griepink. Perhaps a name that cannot disappear as a pseudonym can, and thus can also be traced back to its origin, which might result in the deflation of the authority an unknown king or healer would keep up.
As with the names of the agents, the referring to others places, moments or presence arises in the press-releases also. For instance in the referral to the ‘great parade also known as the young and optimistic explorations of the queer-shaman artist’ in the press-release for Sjassa. In this I refer to an supposedly already known, or better known situation, that in fact is a new as the moment it was written. Though, when considering a time not linear, it heralds the future as a past. It is reading what is written in the stars of Sjassa. Giving name, giving life.
THERE IS A REALM BETWEEN PRODUCTS AND ARTWORKS
In the Sjassa B. Lovejoy Practice, there was also a sale of Cruizing Grounds – Hand collected, Hand selected, which were promoted via the press-release. In the space this existed in the form of little plastic sacks filled with earth, initially collected at one of the oldest Norwegian meeting sites for men interested in homosexuality. Later these soils were replaced by sands without the smell of semen.
In Germany just recently I have been washing peoples hands using a soap that is labeled and sold by Indio products as Helping Hands soap. For the duration of several shows and personal encounters I have been using the same singular soap bar to wash peoples hands and feet. While washing I silently repeat the words ‘you become a Helping Hand, a Helping Hand for others, and a Helping Hand towards yourself. May you become a Helping Hand, and may Helping Hands find you’. Often though, the words form a spelling-less mental hum that seems to relate to the idea of the sentence rather than the sentence itself, perhaps this can be viewed as mental-singing. It varies from case if I give introspect into the silent intentions being emitted to the person receiving the treatment. I do however often tell them that the bar has touched a great amount of people before it touches them.
WHEN WORDS FAIL
During a two month durational inhabitation of a showroom in Rotterdam a lot of material accumulated from sources such as grocery stores, commodity shops and markets, as well as junkyards, forests en swamps. To describe in detail the presented material would be a hazardous task since a mayor function of the display was the eradication of language as a descriptive and enclosing system. In a sense it can be best described as ‘everything was there’, because probably that is most specific.
In this show I worked with two other artists week long in the assembly of the material, the construction of the presentation and the development of our relationship with the situation. On every Friday night for the course of 6 weeks the performers went into a state or one-ness with the situation and formed some sort of dance-like chess-game with all the object at hand. Things were used, misused and reused. Things were displaced, misplaced and handled with care. Things were destroyed, and sounds were produced by the performers and by the space and what it contained. I use 'dance' to describe the relationship between two entities who are both controlling and letting go to result in a closer meeting of the two. Visitors could place themselves in the middle of it all, by sitting down and watching the reality unfold around them. There was no center stage, and there was no indicative idea of who or what the audience was. In a sense potentiality itself was actualized and celebrated, and a field in between the ridiculous and the absurd was wielded. Possibilities and impossibilities took place throughout the space, and the paradox of our situation highlighted and revered. The thing with writing about this situation is that any description will become a signifier, and will fail to make the pass over the treacherous mountains of human rationality and decreased acceptability. It was then, and it still feeds us now. Perhaps it was but a beginning, perhaps it will always be the best example - untransferable in the direct sense, but always present via re-mediation and re-cycling into new shows.
The showroom was titled Epicenter for the Contemporary Urban Wizard Practice and intended (as the press-release stated) to host workshops, performances, rituals and installations. Titles such as Big City Buffoon Hunt, Telepathic Bingo, Love-making with Plants and Queer Sweatlodge - Entree Nudee were to attract visitors into coming and realizing these promises together with the artists.
BEWARE: YOUR ENERGY AND ATTENTION FEEDS THAT WHAT IT IS FOCUSSED ON
In a general sense my entire practice usually turns out into a visually festive and ambiguous parade of being, loving and silently hoping. But in another more aggressive or less democratic approach, outside of the desire to please and unify people, arrives a strong voice and perhaps a more focused one. Spare the rod and spoil the child is an indicative saying relating to this alternate approach. Meaning; I am done waiting for you.
THIS IS A LIST
50 Drawings to Murder Magic / The Peyote Dance - Antonin Artaud \ A Thousand Plateaus - Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari \ Art in the Age of Biopolitics (essay) - Boris Groys Awakening to the spirit world: the path of direct revelation / Medicine for the Earth: How to Transform Personal and Environmental Toxins / Shamanic Meditations: Guided Journeys for Insight, Vision, and Healing – Sandra Ingerman (and Hank Wesselman) \ Being in Time / Poetry, Language, Thought. - Martin Heidegger \ Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity – Bruce Bagemihl \ Children of the Jungle - Per Host \ De angst voor vrijheid (the Fear of Freedom) / Liefhebben, een kunst een kunde (the Art of Loving) - Erich Fromm \ De vis in ons (your inner fish) - Neil Shubin \ Het wilde denken (le Pensée Sauvage) / Tristes Tropiques – Claude Levi-Strauss \ Illuminations / Doctrine of the Similar (New German Critique, 1979.)- Walter Benjamin \ Imagevirus - Gregg Bordowitz \ Maske - Phyllis Galembo \ Mesa - Herman de Vries \ Natural Fashion: Tribal Decorations from Africa - Hans Silvester \ Profanations (& I'd say more) - Georgio Agamben \ Queer Spirits - AA Bronson & Peter Hobbs \ Sourcebook Geoffrey Farmer – Witte de With \ Spheres - Melanie Bonajo & Philippe Karrer \ Spiritual Journey Of Alejandro Jodorowsky - Alejandro Jodorowsky \ The Craftsman, Richard Sennet \ The Dream of the Earth, Thomas Berry \ The Human Condition, Hannah Arendt \ The Importance of Sacred Natural Sites for Biodiversity, UNESCO proceedings of the internation Workshop held in Kunming and Xishuangbanna Biosphere Reserve, People’s Republic of China, 2003 \ The Secret Life of Plants, Peter Thompkins \ Thee psychick bible: Thee apocryphal scriptures of Genesis P-Orridge & thee third mind ov psychic TV - Genisis Breyer P-Orridge \ All the books on practical and seasonal and traditional Magic in my library \ Walden; or, Life in the Woods – Henry David Thoreau \ Witchcraft and the Gay Counterculture - Arthur Evans \ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r0jArGJnP3U \ http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=GPbWJPsBPdA \ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4yaJf5rmLJE&feature=player_embedded \ "The Salmon-Colored Boudoir" Installation, 1974 - Manon \ Between the Waves, video, 2012- Tejal Shah \