I’m Really a Witch.*
Curated by Christina Battle
Presented in partnership with Satellite Project Space
Saturday October 22, 2016 / Screening from 8-9 PM / Doors open @ 7:30
Satellite Project Space / 121 Dundas Street
FREE / ACCESSIBLE / OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
LOMAA’s Visiting Artist Program is pleased to host our final curated event, and final program of our 2015-2015 Visiting Artist Program, presented by Christina Battle. Battle, originally from Edmonton AB is currently living in London ON and working toward a PhD at Western University. Along with the screening, Battle will have a companion text available for free download on LOMAA’s website. Artist Leslie Supnet will be in attendance. This event is presented in partnership with Satellite Project Space.
[image credit: Leslie Supnet – sun moon stars rain, 2009]
“If you are a woman and dare to look within yourself, you are a Witch. You make your own rules. You are free and beautiful. You can be invisible or evident in how you make your witch-self known.”**
The contemporary image of the witch, one that has reclaimed its original identity of female power and body, has seen a rise within popular culture fuelled by a strengthening of feminist perspectives within society at large. This shift in cultural reference from that perpetuated since the 15th century has been appropriated by Hollywood with representations of witches as strong female characters – consider American Horror Story’s third season Coven (2013) whose overall theme of “girl power” contributed to the further popularizing of this updated image. This reclaimed identity is not new to artists and those identifying with perspectives tied to witchcraft enact a deliberate attempt to empower.
Works in I’m Really a Witch.* position perspectives of witchcraft and the occult within a strong feminist politic. The program includes works by: Christina Battle, Laura Conway, FASTWURMS, Rachel McRae, Nicole Rayburn, Leslie Supnet, and Gwen Trutnau. Preceded by an episode from the web series Bwitches (Johanna Middleton & Martine Moore). Curated by Christina Battle for LOMAA.
* The program’s title “I’m Really a Witch.” references a tweet by rap/pop star Azealia Banks on January 8, 2015. As noted in an article by Sady Doyle: …simply by calling herself a witch in public, Banks had managed to evoke real fear. Rightwingers treated her as if she were actually planning to blight crops and hex her enemies, all the while claiming that they didn’t believe in witchcraft. [Doyle, Sady. “Season of the Witch: Why Young Women Are Flocking to the Ancient Craft.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 24 Feb. 2015. Web. 05 May 2016.]
**from a pamphlet for New York Covens of W.I.T.C.H. [cited from: The Occult Activism of 1960s Group WITCH is Still Relevant By Ashera Buhite – May 1, 2016]
Bwitches Episode #1 – Johanna Middleton & Martine Moore – 2016
How to Identify a Witch – Nicole Rayburn – 2014
When I was 14 (working thru workin thru) – Rachel McRae (performance)
hysteria – Christina Battle – 2006
sun moon stars rain – Leslie Supnet – 2009
Blood Clock – Fastwurms – 2005
They Run! – Laura Conway – 2015
Cloven Sunset – Gwen Trutnau – 2015
Descriptions of Works:
Bwitches Episode #1 – Johanna Middleton & Martine Moore – 2016
Bwitches is a feminist comedy series about two friends who use their magic powers to vanquish the sexism and racism they face in modern Hollywood. Starring and co-created by Johanna Middleton and Martine Moore, Bwitches is a smart and goofy cross between Broad City and Bewitched. The heart of the show is about our experiences as women who are also of different races. It’s a witches brew of comedy, camp, and commentary. You’ll also see some talking cats, floating objects, and magic spells. [http://www.bwitchestheseries.com/]
How to Identify a Witch, Nicole Rayburn, 3:34mins, 2014
How to Identify a Witch references historically documented methods used to identify and prosecute a witch. The methods presented in the video, although seemingly bizarre, are sourced from witch hunting manuals, such as the Malleus Maleficarum (The Hammer of Witches), which were commonly used reference texts throughout the European justice system during the witch craze.
Simple animations created from illustrations and woodcuts derived from this period serve to emphasize the absurdity and popular prevalence of the witch craze event, but also gesture towards the problematic belief systems that fostered the emergence of this frenzied phenomenon that targeted primarily women and the socially vulnerable as ‘others’.
The continued relevance of this historical topic is manifold. Persecution in the form of repression, exclusion, torture, and execution, premised solely in intolerance of difference, be that physical, behavioral, or spiritual, is still prevalent. As Joseph Klaits poignantly states in Servants of Satan: The Age of the Witch Hunts, “Plainly, we are not dealing with obsolete issues when we consider such problems as the roots of intolerance, manifestations of prejudice against women and minorities, the use of torture by authoritarian rulers, and attempts by religious and political ideologues to impose their values on society”. The witch is a scapegoat blamed for random misfortunes, but more so persecuted for social position, difference, and otherness – emphasizing the continued importance as an issue of contemplation today.
When I was 14 (working thru workin thru), Rachel McRae, performance (10mins)
Simultaneously confessional, sermon, and essay on queer occult practice written in reverse, Rachel McRae’s When I was 14 (working thru working thru) is read aloud from its online Tumblr-blog source, as if newly discovered and re-lived by both audience and reader. Cemented by the testimonial of a teenage witch in a hostile small town, the performance acts as a spell in itself, navigating the ways narratives and rumors can cloak the subject in a conjured protective barrier of language.
hysteria, Christina Battle, 4 mins, 2006
made with the support of lift & the new directions in cinema series 2006
An unstable community leads to accusations and panic. Re-considering the Salem witch trials of 1692. Then doesn’t always seem so far off from now.
In hysteria, Christina Battle refers more obliquely to the contemporary political climate using schoolbook illustrations of the Salem witch trials. She works the surface of the film in distinctive ways, lifting the emulsion to add new wrinkles to the image one frame at a time.- Chris Gehman & Andréa Picard (tiff 2006)
Leslie Supnet – sun moon stars rain, 3.20mins, 2009
sun moon stars rain is a psychedelic elegy, lamenting the death of mother nature’s children.
Blood Clock – FASTWURMS, 11.55mins, 2005
Blood Clock was first exhibited in the FASTWURMS installation of the same name at the Toronto Alternative Art Fair International (TAAFI), 2005.
Blood Clock features original images and sound from FASTWURMS rural home, including the cycle of a full moon with a spring frog chorus and cows playing in a pond as the sun sets in the harvest season.
FASTWURMS original images are mixed with samples from the classic pagan cult film The Wicker Man (1973), including Willows Song by Paul Giovanni:
Heigh ho! Who is there?
No one but me, my dear.
Please come say, how do?
The things I’ll give to you.
A stroke as gentle as a feather
I’ll catch a rainbow from the sky
and tie the ends together.
Heigh ho! I am here.
Am I not young and fair?
Please come say, how do?
The things I’ll show to you.
Would you have a wond’rous sight?
The midday sun at midnight.
Fair maid, white and red,
Comb you smooth and stroke your head.
How a maid can milk a bull!
And every stroke a bucketful.
They Run! – Laura Conway, 7.27mins, 2015
They Run! is a visual retelling of a retelling. It is a fan fiction-animation, an ode to Marion Zimmer Bradley’s 1983 novel The Mists of Avalon. It is primarily a defense of the mythical mother of western story – Moraine Le Fay – the lover, half-sister and vilified priestess of Arthurian legend.
Cloven Sunset – Gwen Trutnau, 3.14mins, 2015
Originally from Edmonton (AB), Christina Battle is currently based in London (ON). She has a B.Sc. with specialization in Environmental Biology from the University of Alberta, a certificate in Film Studies from Ryerson University and a MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. Her works are often inspired by the role of official and non-official archives, our notions of evidence and explore themes of history and counter-memory, political mythology and environmental catastrophe. She has exhibited internationally in festivals and galleries, most recently at: Le Centre des arts actuels Skol as part of Le Mois de la Photo à Montréal (Montreal), Thames Art Gallery (Chatham, ON), Casa Maauad (Mexico City); SOMArts (San Francisco); Third Space Gallery (New Brunswick); RL Window Gallery (New York); Redline Gallery (Denver); Deluge Contemporary Art (Victoria, BC); The ODD Gallery (Dawson City, YT); Gallery 44 (Toronto); WNDX Festival of Moving Image (Winnipeg); The Images Festival (Toronto); MCA Denver; the Aspen Art Museum; and the Ryerson Image Centre (Toronto). Christina is currently working toward a PhD in Art & Visual Culture at the University of Western Ontario.
Satellite Project Space is a partnership between four London, Ontario, arts institutions: bealarts, Fanshawe College, Museum London, and Western University
LOMAA is an emerging, enthusiastic and devoted non-profit artist-run collective that fosters collaboration, investigation and innovation by tapping into the talent and serving the needs of media artists in the London region.
LOMAA would like to thank Canada Council for the Arts and the London Arts Council for their continued support of the Visiting Artist Program.