Andrew Zealley on The Intersection of Performance and Ritual

Today, we’ve got the first in a long series of posts from Rhubarb Festival artists. Over the next six weeks, you’ll be hearing from someone involved in each of the 35 projects in this year’s festival as they discuss the themes, ideas, and process behind their work.
To start things off, we asked [color]Andrew Zealley[/color] to talk about one of the recurring themes at this year’s festival, ritual, and how it relates to his work [color]Disco Hospital[/color].

Disco Hospital at The Rhubarb Festival is a branch of my MFA thesis project, specifically a series of ritual and healing sessions staged in my studio at OCAD University. This series, titled Strictly Clinical, takes place during new and full moon phases (September 2012 to April 2013), approximately every 13-17 days. Sessions offered in context with Rhubarb are off the moon phase grid, however they involve many of the same elements as Strictly Clinical: simple initiation ritual followed by therapeutic touch and sonic work with chakra tuning forks and singing bowls.

The three evenings of Disco Hospital at Rhubarb occur directly before the full moon, February 25, and will harness some of the moon’s waxing energies. I come from a sound background however my thesis project is more about sound than sound in and of itself — with attention more toward silence and disciplined listening, as a correlate of sound.

The issue of queer healing and shamanisms is slippery and I tend to not identity so readily with either label — choosing, instead, to offer my work as art that intersects with relational healing, queer rhetoric, and the histories of queer people as healers and intermediaries of knowledge. The project emphasizes the need for re-interpretation of shamanisms—in particular neo-shamanisms—and indigeneity. While indigeneity is typically identified geographically and culturally, Disco Hospital demonstrates how queer perspectives play key roles in connecting and identifying queer individuals cross-culturally. Evidence specific to male homosexual shamans in diverse regional, historical, and cultural settings suggests that indigenous shamanic healing may be less dependent on geographical identity and embedded more in the ontological specificities of queer seeing and being. This is by no means a refusal of knowledge about other genders and shamanisms, just a focused survey that allows me to draw on the experiential.

I present my MFA thesis exhibition, Disco Hospital: Exchange One, at OCAD University in late March or early April depending on how the wind blows.

Please visit my site, andrewzealley.com, for more information about my studio practice.
Direct inquires: discohospital@live.com.

Disco Hospital takes place February 22-24 as part of the One-To-One Performance Series. Click here for more information.


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