Mythic Time

A residential workshop exploring the (re-)invention of spiritual practices, the sacred, rites and rituals through performance art.

Photos by Zack Mennell.

The here-and-now is insufficient. The fog of the capitalist deadland is ossifying. We demand something more. Faced with distance, anxiety and exile, belonging feels mythic. FUTURERITUAL asks: how can the technology of ritual be deployed in the divination, manifestation and sustentation of something else - of alternative [queer] futurities, wherein states of belonging (in difference) are felt deeply and more readily?

Breaking with the here-and-now necessitates a series of temporal maneuvers. Ritual is an apt symbolic technology for this, for ritual is a way of entering time and rendering it habitable through communion.

Performance art is a potent modality of ritual, for, within performance art, time operates as material. Rites and rituals involve, typically, a series of practices based on images, words, actions, objects, symbols organised in a performative act. They produce resonance and relations. They cultivate the practice of attention. Live Art and performance art practices have been informed on an essential level by ritual practice, and attention to ritual reveals art as a way of holding that which is magic and sacred.

Inside this workshop, we hope to produce a temporary ritual community within which we may explore the (re-)invention of spiritual practices, rites and rituals through performance art.

What is the place of ritual with contemporary performance culture? What happens when we inhabit liminal spaces and thin places through performance? What possibilities do art and ritual hold for remaking ourselves and our world?

We will begin by engaging with our own identity, desire, memory, history and artistic urgency and use these in the expansion of our own artistic ritual practices. We are particularly interested in the processual and transformative qualities of ritual performance - how they may destabilise the normative order, and how they may become the source of our creative acts.

We will undertake a variety of exercises, tasks, performance jams and discussions, involving both solo and communal exploration. We will be responsive to the locality of ]performance s p a c e[ and the Kent coast, working indoors and outdoors, and at different times of the day and night. We will work towards the realisation of a public sharing on the final night. After that we will re-unite for discussion to understand what we have performed and the possibilities contained within it.

Folkestone, 20th - 25th September 2021. The workshop was supported by ]performance s p a c e[ and the Live Art Development Agency.

some notes on space

As this is an in-person workshop, the number of participants will be limited, and we will work together to set and maintain clear boundaries in view of the pandemic at the beginning of the workshop.

In co-creating this space, we are committed to the principles of ‘braver space’, where difference is acknowledged, where physical and emotional boundaries are respected, where care and inclusion are centred, and where accountability is practiced. We will discuss this further in advance of, and during, the workshop. 

It is important to note that, all too frequently, colonial processes acts of cultural appropriation and vandalism have been practiced within art making. This has been particularly visible in practices where art meets ritual. It has often seemed easy, convenient or acceptable for white artists to fetishise, romanticise and universalise the specific cultural practices or traditions of indigenous people and people of colour. These processes uphold white supremacy. In the curation of other white artists in this workshop space, FUTURERITUAL and VestAndPage seek to amplify the voices of those who engage ethically with these issues, who think critically about their desires and histories, and whose work resists, opposes, or plots an escapes from the capitalist colonial cis-tem.

about the facilitators


Since 2006, German artist Verena Stenke (b. 1981) and Venetian-born artist and writer Andrea Pagnes (b. 1962) have been working together as VestAndPage and gained international recognition in the fields of performance art, performance-based film, writing, publishing, and with collective performance operas and temporary artistic community projects. Since over a decade, VestAndPage have been exploring performance art and film as phenomena through their collaborative creative practice, as well as through theoretical artistic research and curatorial projects. Their works – a celebration of life – have been presented in museums, galleries, theatres, cinemas and a variety of sites worldwide. Their writings have been extensively published and translated for international readers.

VestAndPage's art practice is contextual and situation-responsive, conceived psycho-geographically in response to social contexts, natural surroundings, historical sites and architectures. In their works they move between the unseen and the unforeseen, the unsaid, the forgotten and the repressed. They inquire performance art as an urgency to explore the physical, mental and spiritual bodies, where moments of crisis or extreme situations often see the crossing of boundaries by the break with norms and known orders, to interface with the ephemeral matter of art and existence.

On December 2012, VestAndPage conceived and initiated the live art exhibition project VENICE INTERNATIONAL PERFORMANCE ART WEEK. Between 2012 and 2016, the project showcased in the Trilogy of the Body historic pioneer works on exhibit in conjunction with live programs of durational performances, presenting over 120 international artists and an ongoing educational program. Since 2017, the project presents in the new format Co-Creation Live Factory an international educational platform with residential and collaborative nature.

Besides sharing their pedagogy on collaborative performance making in intensive workshops and co-creation classes. Since 2019, they are tutoring guest artists at the Master of Performance Practices at ArtEZ University of the Arts, since 2020 at MA Performance at the Norwegian Theatre Academy.

Joseph Morgan Schofield

Joseph Morgan Schofield (b. 1993, Rochdale, UK) is an artist working with performance, moving image and expanded forms of writing. Articulating their practice as ‘queer ritual action’, their work is broadly concerned with desire, particularly in relation to ecology and queer futurity. This queer ritual action foregrounds the immediacy of the sweating, wanting, sensate non-binary body. Understanding art-making as a technology of divination, they consider their work to be a tool for the creation of contemporary myth; a site for the work of mourning, yearning, processing and communing.

Understanding acts of gathering and communing as central to their practice, Joseph’s work incorporates curating, producing, facilitating, mentoring and teaching. Joseph organises FUTURERITUAL, a performance and research project considering ritual and queer futurity, and is the co-founder and facilitator of The Sunday Skool for Misfits, Exprimenters and Dissenters, with Martin O’Brien and Shabnam Shabazi.

With Benjamin Sebastian, Joseph is the co-founder and co-director of VSSL studio (London, UK) and the assistant director of ]performance s p a c e[ (Folkestone, UK). Joseph is a member of Chisenhale Dance Space (London, UK) and of the Anam Cara collective (International), and they are a frequent collaborator of Venice International Performance Art Week (Italy).

Future Ritual: Land, Art, Faith, Performance CIC

mailing list //