In summer 2022, EsƨƎ-1 and EsƨƎ-0 were created while I was on residency with OUTSIDEININSIDEOUTINSIDEOUTOUTSIDEIN collective in and out of the Saxony Switzerland National Park in Germany.
EsƨƎ-0 was primarily constructed out of a partial, unidentified mammalian skeleton I had found while searching for a water source adjacent to the burnt forests ravaged by wildfires on the Czech-German border that season. Finding the carcass in the spot where the dried up stream should have been, I gathered and carried the bones with me for the remainder of our wildcamping pilgrimage up to Torhaus Wehlen, and developed a post-anthropocentric universe in which they had become a sacred relic to a spiritually-bypassed death cult.
Around 8 years prior, I was morbidly fascinated & horrified by the news that anthrax was re-emerging from Siberian permafrost as generations’ old corpses were broaching the Earth’s surface and thawing out with rising temperatures; infecting reindeer herds on the tundra. In this present fiction, I imagined a stray herd of Siberian deer migrating from Russia, across central Europe and into East Germany (much as I had crossed the border myself with its remains) infecting more and more of the continent with this reincarnated anthrax, until an extremist faction of spiritual evolutionists had decided, in their delusion, to revere a crop of infected grass - and the carcass splayed on top of it - to fulfil their own deliverance to the ‘next realm’.
I researched the toxic symbiosis anthrax cultivates with grass; the perverse kind of nurture that a pathogenic bacterium inoculates its transmission vessel with to make that vegetation grow tall (up to 45% more) and luscious (not to mention drought-tolerant) above the uncontaminated surrounding crops.
...All the better to attract unwitting hosts with.
The US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention designates B. anthracis ‘Tier 1’ in its Division of Select Agents and Toxins as it presents itself as a bioweapon capable of wreaking the greatest amount of megadeath and economic, infrastructural and public confidence destruction when instrumentalised by humans. I saw it as a potent ecogothic vehicle to process my own fears around the accelerationism of post-truth-ism mixed with new age ideology in a literal climate of devastation - as well as a spicier grappling with my own latent narcissism and tendency towards spiritual zealotry.
In collaboration with Markéta Skalková, I produced EsƨƎ-1: a walking meditation track, voiced by the leader of this death cult, for ̶m̶̶y̶̶ ̶̶f̶̶o̶̶l̶̶l̶̶o̶̶w̶̶e̶̶r̶̶s̶ audience members and quasi-LARPers to immerse themselves in while traversing the ‘Devil’s Canyon’ - a breathtakingly gorgeous natural landmark - as they made their way up to the site where EsƨƎ-0 waited for them:
EsƨƎ-0 (2022) | dimensions vary, performative installation: foraged mammal skeleton, foraged vines, foraged grass, foraged twigs, found pottery shard, shower hose, wire, steel, human hair, wall paint, menstrual blood, site-specific vegetation, yarn, crystal violet, acrylic bead
EsƨƎ-1 and EsƨƎ-0 are site-specific works created for OiiOiOOi’s _~M(-U-)LTI-HO(°ME°)- M(°U°)TUAL-HEAL-(IN)~_ group show, Torhaus Wehlen Gallery & offsite, Stadt Wehlen.