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Divinatory Strategies
Institute of Contemporary Arts
January 2023


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
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.