Preview: A Day of Ritual Prayer Performance.

Tending The Mighty Dead- Performance Art- Ekalos Reed- Aine McCarthy- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico

“I find that people are really hungering for ritual and prayer, and not in a traditional, religious way,” says Ekalos Reed. Reed and Áine McCarthy’s performance art group is called Time Beings. On Saturday, January 20, they collaborate with Kara Duval—another local performer who explores themes of ritual, reclamation and healing—for a 12-hour performance among the artworks of form & concept’s exhibition Thais Mather: Reckless Abandon. In the multi-part ritual prayer, they will convene other Santa Fe artists and anyone who wishes to take part as they create moments and spaces that redefine the sacred. The piece represents a dynamic response to the exhibition’s themes and a tribute to women and others who have faced persecution. 

“I met with Thais about the possibility of a performance in the Reckless Abandon show about two weeks before it opened, and Thais recommended Silvia Federici’s Caliban and the Witch to me,” says Reed. Federici’s work of literary nonfiction examines the European witch trials from the 16th to 18th centuries, and explores how that history has influenced cultural conceptions of the body in the transition to capitalism. “The book just tied together so many loose threads in my mind and existence,” Reed explains. “Seeing Thais’ work and reading that book at the same time contributed to my feeling that we needed to make a long ritual piece.”  

Red- Performance Art- Kara Duval- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico

Reed and McCarthy have collaborated a number of times under the moniker Time Beings. Through their durational performance artworks, they seek to create moments and spaces that redefine the sacred. It’s an endeavor that takes time: Time Beings’ performances often last hours, and are designed to be viewed for any duration. Reed is a veteran performer who has toured the world with Martha Graham Dance Company, Pearl Lang Dance Theatre, Moving People Dance, Catherine Cabeen and Company, and Robert Wood Dance NY, among others. McCarthy studied Delicious Movement with Eiko Otake of the renowned ‘Eiko and Komo’. Time Beings’ most recent work appeared at the 2017 AHA Festival of Progressive Arts in Santa Fe, which was an 8-hour performance. “At AHA, we invited people to ring a bell or hang a prayer in our booth,” says Reed. “So many people did their own little ritual. When you enter that moment, your experience of time and space starts to change. That’s what we’re trying to do.”

Duval’s ‘Red’ is a visceral engagement with these themes. “Art and ritual is a form of currency that frees us from the confines of efficiency and the machine of consumerism.” says Duval, “It allows us to enter into relationship with the sublime.” The set for ‘Red’ consists of over 300 ft of red fabric that is woven through the artworks in the gallery. Duval traverses the fabric, symbolizing the long journey often taken to return home to the body after experiencing trauma. “‘Red’ is about physically putting myself on the ground, listening to it and feeling it’s pulse and waking up the visceral fluid experience,” Says Duval. “I am often reminded of a Mary Oliver poem called the ‘The Forest’ about a snake molting its skin in the dark of the night. It inches over dead leaves and branches, pulling its old skin off. It does not know why it does this and yet it is compelled to do so.”

Tending The Mighty Dead- Performance Art- Ekalos Reed- Aine McCarthy- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico

Reed, McCarthy’s, and Duval’s new work at form & concept will engage gallery visitors in various ways throughout the day.  “If you’re compelled to watch or join in, you’ll experience your own beginning, middle and end no matter how long you stay,” says Reed. “A big part of it is about bearing witness to things that have happened that are uncomfortable or traumatic. There’s no way we can fix that or say that it didn’t happen, but being there and bearing witness is the beginning of healing.”

Reed and McCarthy perform ‘Tending the Mighty Dead’ from 7 am to 7 pm. Duval performs ‘Red’ from 4:30- 6:30 pm. There is a closing ceremony from 6- 7 pm. From 7 to 10 am, the performance will be visible from outside form & concept, but the gallery does not open to the public until 10 am. Click here for additional information on the sequence of events. 

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Red- Performance Art- Kara Duval- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico


1 & 3: Ekalos Reed & Áine McCarthy, “Tending the Mighty Dead,” durational performance piece, 2018. Photo by Timothy Jason Reed. Pictured artworks by Thais Mather.

2 & 4: Kara Duval, “Red,” durational performance piece, 2018. Photo by Kara Duval. Pictured artworks by Thais Mather.