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Serena Korda, The Hosts: Ectoplasmic Variations, 2015

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Serena Korda, The Hosts: Ectoplasmic Variations, 2015

The Hosts: Ectoplasmic Variations
Serena Korda
18 April – 10 May 2015
Fri-Sun, 12-5pm or by appointment
Preview – 17 April, 6-9pm

Rhubaba presents an exhibition of new work by the artist Serena Korda. An army of ceramic warriors lie in wait, wounded, amputated and punctured; an itinerant group of mercenaries or a rabble of dissidents. These warriors are waiting to be activated by Serena Korda and the Rhubaba Choir. Over the course of the exhibition there will be a call to arms combining voice and percussion, drawing on a rich history of jugs used as musical instruments, from country blues jug bands to the psychedelic rock of the 13th Floor Elevators.

The Hosts: Ectoplasmic Variations will unfold as a sound experiment fusing sculpture and voice at Rhubaba. Exploring the materiality of object and sound, Korda will work with the choir during Saturday rehearsals to develop a musical score that will be performed on Saturday 2 May 2015. The Rhubaba Choir is open to new members and if you’d like to work with us on Serena’s project, please get in touch at info@rhubaba.org.

Each ceramic vessel bears the face of a bearded man, referencing Bellarmine Jugs of the 16th century that were used as common household objects. During the Witch Hunts of the 17th Century these jugs were transformed into ‘Witches Bottles’, a form of sympathetic magic used to ward off evil. A kind of voodoo ensued as the body of the male vessel was filled with urine, bent nails and votive cloth hearts, hoping to cause pain to any ‘witch’ that posed a threat.

Calling on her fascination with magic and superstition, Serena will use the ‘Witches Bottles’ as a vehicle to explore notions of gender and hysteria through the lens of war. This insurgent army’s sonic journey will consider how ritual is embedded in acts of violence.

The Hosts: Ectoplasmic Variations has been made with the support of Camden Arts Centre, Smiths Row and King’s College London. With special thanks to Kat Buchanan.

To coincide with the exhibition Rhubaba has produced a new publication, The Hosts: Ectoplasmic Variations with writing by artist Catherine Payton. The publication is available on our Shop

Events

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Performing The Hosts: Ectoplasmic Variations Serena Korda
Two performances:
Saturday 2 May 2015, 7pm
Saturday 9 May, 9.30pm

Dong! Dong! Dong! Dong! Dong! Dong! Dong! Dong! Dong! Dong!

Join us as the witching hour draws nigh to witness a resurrection: the quickening of a cankerous army, who are determined and full of a reckoning, malignant spirit. We are pleased to invite you to The Hosts: Ectoplasmic Variations.

Devised in collaboration with the Rhubaba Choir, Serena’s performance animates the Witch Bottles: an army of ceramic vessels inspired by 17th Century Bellarmine Jugs, used during the Witch Hunts to ward off evil forces. Using the voice as a percussive tool, the performance unfolds as a sound experiment fusing sculpture and voice, exploring the materiality of object and sound, awakening a rousing call to arms for these wretched ceramic warriors.

The music made using the Witch Bottles fuses together soldier’s songs, incantations and the testimonial of Isobel Gowdie, the most detailed and well documented confession in the history of the witch hunts of Scotland. Isobel was brutally tortured as all suspected witches were, but her confession is exceptional in its articulation, leading to the hypothesis that she was a performer or storyteller. She appears to have delivered her confession under duress, forced in to moments of what appear to be pure improvisation – a pertinent starting point for Korda’s sound experiment.

With special thanks to all the members of the Rhubaba Choir.