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Installation view
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Installation view
, costume of the woman of knowledge
  mushrooms

small ritualistic object of the indigenous tribe in musem display
           



Anthropological museum display (Onions, flamingos and mushrooms), 2008
Installation
Unveiling of the woman of knowledge, 2008
performance
o`artoteca, Milano, artist in residence october-december


The "anthropological museum" at o`artoteca showed displays of shamanistic dresses and other artefacts of an indigenous tribe. In the display one could see the dress of a woman of knowledge and that of a sorcerer (flamingo mask).

In addition various sacred ritualistic objects connected to the mushroom cult of this tribe which signifies the cult´s strong connection to the powers of nature have been exhibited.


                   
mushroom pipe   mushroom pipe   EAR RINGS   MUSHROOM PROLIFERATION   pagoda
mushroom pipe       earrings   sacred mushroom proliferation   mushroom pagoda
 
mural
 
cfc
   


   
shamanistic   acssw    
 
  animal trap
flamingo mask of a sorcerer           shoes of sorcerer   animal trap


   

On the opening evening, the „onion costume“ was be worn by a woman. In the beginning it will be a closed form out of many layers of fabric and will slowly be unveiled like a ritual,
accompanied by music and light. In the end she could be seen for only a few minutes - symbolizing the "woman of knowledge", a mythical figure.
The big hat of the onion costume signifies (a part of) the 
invisible but nevertheless very powerful energetic body of knowledge that surrounds every human being in several layers.
The physical body of a person is just one part of her/his existence.
Like the mushroom, who consists mainly out of a huge underground fungus mycelium. Only the smallest part of the mushroom is actually sticking out of the ground to be seen.

     
  efwd
   
unveiling of the woman of knowledge, with Kasia Zon (woman) and Ramuntcho Matta (organ)    

 

   
     

Inspiration

This installation/performance has been inspired by the life of María Sabina García (1888 - November 23, 1985), a Mazatec medicine woman who lived her whole life
in a modest dwelling in southern Mexico. Her practice was based on the use of the various species of native psilocybe mushrooms.
Sabina was the first contemporary Mexican curandera (shaman) to allow Westerners to participate in the healing ritual known as the velada,
where all participants partake of the psilocybe mushroom as a sacrament to open the gates of the mind. The velada is seen as a purification
and as a communion with the sacred.
She revealed the long kept secrets of her tribe to the world (a western anthropologist called Gordon Wasson.
By doing so she accidentally attracted huge crowds of hippy magic mushroom tourists and travellers to her village,
who treated it „as a little rural Disney land for New-agers“ * and who were seeking a personal short cut trip to god/spiritual enlightenment.

While she was initially hospitable to the truth seekers, their lack of respect for the sacred and traditional purposes caused Sabina to remark:
"Before Wasson, nobody took los niños (the mushrooms) simply to find God. They were always taken to cure the sick."
She also felt that the ceremony of the velada had been desecrated and irremediably polluted by the hedonistic use of the mushrooms:
"From the moment the foreigners arrived, the 'holy children' lost their purity. They lost their force, they ruined them. Henceforth they will no longer work.
There is no remedy for it."

(*„Clock Woman in the land of mixed feelings: the place of Maria Sabina in mexican culture“
Heriberto Yépez, ubu-web)

Another inspiration for the project had been my visit to the famous anthropological museum in Mexico D.F.



   
onion costume test