0 / 256
Divinatory Strategies
Institute of Contemporary Arts
November 2022


Divinatory Strategies is a three-part sonic essay tracing some of the aesthetic and affective relationships between ritual and performance art.

In their articulations of ritual, 20th century anthropologists identified a ‘threshold’ zone, a disorienting liminal stage where order dissolved and participants existed in a time between their past self and the self yet to be produced by the ritual. This liminal stage was a place of possibility exactly because of the experience of not-knowing. 

Convened by Joseph Morgan Schofield, and featuring the contributions by Charlie Ashwell, Daniella Valz Gen, Es Morgan, Soojin Chang, Rubiane Maia and Teo Ala-Ruona, Divinatory Strategies is an invitation to enter into this place of not-knowing. 

Drawn from a series of free-flowing conversations, and loosely-grouped around notions of grief, transformation and hope, the essay speaks to the multiplicity of future ritual practices.

Hosted and produced by Joseph Morgan Schofield
Editing and post-production by daz disley

Sounds used in 001: 
Hang sounds by Quiet American Tundra, courtesy of Nat Norland
Birdsong by junior85
‘Approaching Daylight’ by The Time Dilation Orchestra, courtesy of daz disley

Sounds used in 002: 
‘Prelude to Extinct’, composed by Tuukka Haapakorpi, lyrics by Teo Ala-Ruona, vocals by Teo Ala-Ruona & Tuukka Haapakorpi
001: Grief, Death and Healing
Ritual abounds in death, offering a space to process, acknowledge and mourn. In this opening chapter of Divinatory Strategies, artists Rubiane Maia, Daniella Valz Gen and Soojin Chang discuss practices of channelling, their ways of working with and through memory, ancestral healing and communion, belonging, and the kinship between spiritual practitioners and artists. Emerging from these conversations, hosted by Joseph Morgan Schofield, is an articulation of ritual/art as something which has a vital and affirming function in dealing with human experiences of dislocation, alienation and grief.

002: Transformation, Becoming and Desire

Intention is a crucial facet of ritual. Building on the idea of ritual as a technology which produces transformation, in this chapter artists Es Morgan and Teo Ala-Ruona speak with Joseph about the ways in which they have used ritual-performance-art to discover their desires, and work with intention as they move towards the horizon of transition. Ritual is alive, actively changing the very conditions of living.

003: Release date 3 June 2022