ξόρκια / incantations
'ξόρκια / incantations' is an on-going project which researches into the traditions and rituals from past and present cultures from all over the world, the ancient wisdom they carry and the relationship between that knowledge and modern day science.
The latest piece of work for this project researches into the phenomenology of landscapes and their importance to indigenous people from the Arctic Circle. I am exploring the non-linearity of time as experienced and described by oral cultures and the indigenous people of the Arctic, whilst simultaneously reading up into the same concept in various theories of physics.
In April 2022, I had the opportunity to visit Svalbard through The Arctic Circle Residency programme (www.thearcticcircle.org). The programme invites artists and scientists to develop their work aboard a specially outfitted Barquentine sailing vessel by exploring the high-Artic Svalbard Archipelago and Arctic Ocean.
This coming winter I will be creating an interactive installation where the incantations from this residency will be first exhibited, before they go online. Previous postcards for this project are available for sale on my Etsy shop: www.etsy.com/shop/ZEMMZEN
General Project Details
Ceremonial magic has a lot to do with clarity of purpose, commitment, preparation, concentration, visualisation, patience and timing: everything neuroscientists and psychologists advise you to consider and practice in order to improve your quality of life. All that, and to step out of the ordinary, out of your routine; to broaden (and surprise) your mind.
Since the beginning of time, humans have created forms of narratives to explain what they understood of their environment and experiences. Ceremonial magic is a form of narrative, laced with anecdotes, adventures, superstitions and riddles from a time no longer relevant to our way of life or means of communication. It’s a language that’s dated and this largely accounts as to why “magic” is now obsolete.
People from both the scientific and occult worlds have come to similar observations that hold universal truths; in the same way, they have all come to conclusions that are false. I am researching into the similarities between these two languages and creating incantations of my own that are conveyed through the combination of photography and text and presented in the form of a postcard.
Rituals and incantations are based on hundreds or thousands of years of observations, on trial and error and on our physical and psychological relationship with nature. Nowadays, nature’s cycles no longer determine our daily routine. Science is the narrative we use today to tell stories about how we perceive the world to work. It is part of our everyday lives: it determines how we nourish ourselves, it constructs our means of transport, our entertainment and health system. Science governs our way of thinking, how we come to conclusions and make decisions.
I create each magical ritual based on my own experiences and by using symbolism or certain elements from a specific culture whilst cross examining how the scientific world supports the process or the components that make up each incantation. It is important that the artwork is passed on rather owned by a few and that it's affordable, which is why the rituals are presented in the form of postcards. Surrealism as a form of expression I use in a lot of my work, to describe emotional states and how I conceive human constructs of reality.