Sandra Johnston, Avert Avow, 2022. Image courtesy of the artist.

Ceremony [I]

Sun 23rd June 2024, 12-6pm, Peckham (London)

On the midsummer weekend, Future Ritual presents Ceremony [I], a day of durational performances in a pair of dilapadated Victorian houses in South East London. Slow actions by artists Marilyn Arsem, Sandra Johnston, Helena Goldwater and Devika Bilimoria will unfold in long form performances evocative of memory, decay, and endurance. As the year turns, we invite some long breaths, attuning with these old spaces, and inviting reflection and connection.

Ceremony [I] is the first event in a year long programme of activites curated by Future Ritual, including performances, exhibitions, workshops and reading groups, exploring time, the transferrance of energy and memory and the potential of performance and contemporary art as modes of ceremony.

Marilyn Arsem

Marilyn Arsem has been creating and performing live events for more than forty years and has presented her work in thirty countries around the globe. Based in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, she also teaches performance art workshops internationally.

Many of her works are durational in nature, minimal in actions and materials, and have been created in response to specific sites, engaging with the immediate landscape and materiality of the location, its history, use or politics. She incorporates a broad range of media, and often engages all the senses. Her performances are designed to implicate the audience directly in the concerns of the work, to create an experience that is both visceral and intellectual. Sites have included a former Cold War missile base in the United States, a 15th century Turkish bath in North Macedonia, an aluminum factory in Argentina, the grounds of an abandoned tuberculosis sanatorium in Poland, the site of the Spanish landing in the Philippines, and an abandoned Russian mining outpost in the Arctic Circle.

Arsem is a member of Mobius Artists Group, an interdisciplinary collaborative of artists, which she founded in 1975. Arsem taught at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston for 27 years, establishing one of the most extensive programs internationally in visually-based performance art.

She has been the recipient of numerous fellowships, awards and grants since the 1980s. She was awarded the 2015 Maud Morgan Prize from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, for which she created 100 Ways to Consider Time.  The work consisted of 100 different six-hour performances by Arsem on the nature of time, performed in 100 consecutive days.

A book on her work, Responding to Site: The Performance Work of Marilyn Arsem, edited by Jennie Klein and Natalie Loveless, was published in 2020 by Intellect Books of the UK.


Photos: Bodies in the Land, 6 day/59 hour durational performance by Marilyn Arsem. The Momentary, Bentonville, Arkansas, USA. September 13-18, 2022. Photo by Jared Sorrells (L); Seven Disappearances, Durational performance by Marilyn Arsem. TIME SPACE BODY OBJECT – Part 4, Isles Art Initiative, Spectacle Island, Boston Harbor, MA, USA. August 1, 2015. Photo by Nabil Vega (R).

Devika Bilimoria

Devika Bilimoria (b. Fiji 1985, Gujarati descent) is an X-disciplinary artist who engages performance, image-making and installation to explore notions of queering, materiality and body-ing. Devika enlists chance-based methods of making, participation, improvisation and somatic listening as tools to shift encoded embodiments of separateness, hierarchies and gestures across socio-cultural conditions. Raised in Naarm Melbourne and trained in the South Indian dance form Bharatanatyam, as well as both BA in Fine Arts and Media Studies at RMIT University, their practice spans two decades of exhibiting, tuition, research and commissions. In 2022, Devika earned their BA Fine Arts HONS (1st Class) at the Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne University, and was a recipient of the Rodger Davies Award for their durational performance installation, Offerings.


Offerings is a durational performance installation structured as a ritual-like game of dice. This work collapses shared gestures found across chance methods in art and cultural rites in an activation of randomised choreography with sanctified materials. Here, the substances and gestures of the Hindu offering ritual pūjā are enfolded in a task-based procedure where Devika generates and enacts successive ‘offering scores’ derived from ritualised and quotidian attributes in a perpetual act of offering. The work explores immanence, indeterminacy and suspension by invoking randomisation as an instrument of agitation in an attempt to commune with the haunt of embodied cultural inscription, agentic matter and entangled lineages—to reimagine what is given.

Images: Devika Bilimoria, Offerings, 2022. Photos by Devika Bilimoria (L) and Renee Stamatis (R).

Helena Goldwater

Helena Goldwater makes performance art, installation, and paintings. Since the 1980s, she has worked minimally, focusing on the quality of certain materials inhabiting a space. Her work ponders slowly, through repetition and a dedication to process.

Her work has been shown at many galleries and festivals, nationally and internationally, including, Action: A provisional history of the 90s, MACBA: Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona; gut flora, MOCA, London; 1st Venice International Performance Art Week, Italy; If I Can’t Dance, I Don’t Want To Be Part Of Your Revolution, de Appel, Amsterdam; and at the Tate [Britain + Liverpool].

She also researches and compiles material on UK performance art histories of the ‘70s and ‘80s. She co-curated (with Rob La Frenais, Alex Eisenberg/ Live Art Development Agency) an online resource about 1980s UK-based Performance Art, Edge of an Era, which also commissioned new works, and programmed a series of events:

Goldwater is Course Leader for BA Fine Art, Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London.

Lightly tending, Helena Goldwater, 2022. The Portals Project, Bermondsey Project Space, London. Photo: George Bularca.

Sandra Johnston

Sandra Johnston has been active internationally since 1992 as an artist, researcher and educator working predominantly through performance art, video installations, drawing and writing. Johnston’s practice is rooted in processes of improvisation and typically actions involve a sparsity of materials and attentiveness to context. The physical somatic aspects of the work develop from an ethos of attrition – consciously attempting to use a minimum of available resources, intersecting with a desire to leave little or no trace. This approach of provisionality insists upon a speculative relationship to the emergence of narratives and meanings being formed directly, and conjointly, between artist and audience.

Images: Sandra Johnston, Shutter, Southbank-Centre, 2023. Photo by Pete Woodhead (L); Sandra Johnston, FIX23. Photo by David Copeland.

Funders and support

Future Ritual: Ceremony is supported with public funds by Arts Council England. Further support towards the programme has been given by Mayor of London.

Future Ritual: Land, Art, Faith, Performance CIC

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