F U T U R E R I T U A L
all photos by Jemima Yong.
In September 2019, F U T U R E R I T U A L presented three days of free performance, screenings and discussion in London.
The second event was an evening of three performances, hosted by Kunstraum. The participating artists were Charlie Ashwell, with Es Morgan, Kelvin Atmadibrata, and Sandra Stanionyte.
F U T U R E R I T U A L commissioned curator Sara Sassanelli to respond to the performances. Artistic statements and bios of the participating artists may be found below Sara's response.
Spectral formations + gatherings/convenings.
by Sara Sassanelli
Recently I have been interested in the repurposing of objects + sound. Mainly by listening to ASMR, but also through electronic music. The repurposing of half-recognisable samples as a cartographic or architectural exercise. Music that allows me to delve into the spectrality of its sound - struggling through the possibility of constantly evolving layers. Sound that holds subterranean memory.
Charlie Ashwell’s provocation with spells is a direct one. How can poetry - or spells - or ritual practices - be harnessed as technology to propel beyond capitalist desires. The rules are clear: cards delineate the space, a circle; audience sits outside; performers inside. The cards are signifiers that trigger previously arranged poems, spells and political desires. There’s a stack of cards that identically match the circle and Charlie and Es take it in turns to draw a card each. Once the card has been drawn they read out the the triggered poem/spell/political desire and then choose a time frame to dance within. The process becomes alchemy, a manifestation of the poetics of movement, the collapse of time and the inability to harness a stable vision of the future. It’s in this slippage, or instability that I think I am witnessing something clearly. A temporal disjunction where poetic assertion, spell casting and repurposing of sound, movement and divination create a space-time continuum of queer desire. Every round of selection, reading and action becomes a different splintering insight into generative possibility. I get embarrassed in the moment, by my own desire to feel moved by the actions, but then I am moved. Or shifted away from the energy I came in with.
Spectrality became recurring - through spectral architectures and ghost-figures. A solid block of flour looks like transmutation. It becomes concrete, or a flat rock formation, or wooden plank. It creates affect that dissolves and reforms as I watch. Sandra Stanionyte’s intention fills the room, but sometimes breaks as flour dissolves and moves. The body then breaks the architecture. Sandra falls into the solid block, which disintegrates in a way that I can only describe as lowkey. Not soft or subtle, but self-aware and unbothered by the dust it creates in room. Pinning dress to shoulders, the gap between the body and the dress becomes a precarious architecture. A dress is placed on a hanger which is wedged between one of the windows of the room. My desire was to focus on its measurements, the micro relationship between the edges of the hanger and the wall become the most interesting thing, shattered by the weight of the hanger.
Spectral appearances of memories that are not mine appear in Kelvin Atmadibrata’s work. The ghost of a weight, that is actually replaced by an empty white object. The absence of sound, which I think is only due to my attention being so focused on the rings holding the spectral weight. I think I missed the sound, and am now imagining a low drone, that intensifies as I watch. I’m imagining the different possible transmutations of the objects. Weight, metal loops, concrete floor, a different kind of alchemy to the first one occurs. A symbolic alchemy where each object or state of being relies on the next in order to create a whole, or a half-whole (a momentary whole). As everything dissolved, I am reminded of the work required in filling in the gaps + the pleasure of gaps in the first place.
Charlie Ashwell (UK), with Es Morgan (UK), who presented spells, an experiment in the technical potential of dance and language to produce alternative orientations to the world. spells was supported with a micro commission by F U T U R E R I T U A L and a residency at Kunstraum.
Ashwell is a dance artist working with choreography, writing and dramaturgy. As a dancer, they have worked with Seke Chimutengwende & Friends, Dog Kennel Hill Project, Janine Harrington and Florence Peake. They currently work as producer and dramaturg with Seke Chimutengwende and Es Morgan, alongside teaching technique, improvisation and choreography at the University of Roehampton.
Charlie’s practice explores the tensions, ironies and possibilities of witchcraft, bringing it into contact with experimental dancing and feminist politics. Recent solo Banishing Dance was performed at Space Studios, Hackney, as part of F U T U R E R I T U A L, and Wellcome Collection as part of SPLAYED Festival, in partnership with The Place. spells is a new research project in collaboration with queer dance and performance artist Es Morgan, building on their mutual interest in tarot reading, spell-casting, poetry and choreographic scores.
Kelvin Atmadibrata (ID), who presented til they are caught in the trap - a plea for aid from self-inflicted enslavement and abuse.
Atmadibrata recruits superpowers awakened by puberty and adolescent fantasy. Equipped by shōnen characters, kōhai hierarchy and macho ero-kawaii, he often personifies power and strength into partially canon and fan fiction antiheroes to contest the masculine and erotica in Southeast Asia.
He works primarily with performances, often accompanied by and translated into drawings, mixed media collages and objects compiled as installations. Approached as bricolages, Kelvin translates narratives and recreates personifications based on RPGs (Role-playing video games) theories and pop mythologies.
Currently he is based in London, United Kingdom as a Master of Art in Contemporary Art Practice (Performance) student with Royal College of Art.
Sandra Stanionyte (LT), who presented an action work - somewhere between memory and memorial.
Stanionyte is an interdisciplinary artist working in the field of performance art and architecture.
"I look at my work as a triangulation between memory, architecture, and the body as a site. I’m interested in the ways in which a study of space (architecture) is equivalent to a study of body in space.
And how a body, my body, can become a site to express personal memories and psychological states as a conceptual architecture which is both internal and external. Whilst physical architecture itself is transformed into a metaphor for both material and immaterial spaces. In other words: my body becomes a house leaking memories, a site for a research and a tool for action."
Joseph Morgan Schofield Lead Artist
Mele Couvreur Project Coordinator
Ben Normanton Design
The programme was supported by the Live Art Development Agency, Kunstraum and Arts Council England.