Emblazoned with ‘The Spirit’

Emblazoned with ‘the Spirit’ is the sixth in our Cross-pollination series which invites writers to respond to performances during PAWA. Zoe Crook is an artist and writer based between NZ and Berlin. She responds here to Please Explain Sacred, a performance invitation by Jess Holly Bates and Jazmine Rose Phillips.


Is not an invitation for explanation. Silence is sacred when chosen. Women’s voices are sacred. Women are a nebulous gang of self identifiers. This performance will cultivate a deep sacred feminine energy…bring others into sacred connection with their bodies.

Everyone invited to take shoes off, two naked bodies, with pieces of gauzy fabric over their faces. Washing feet. Sitting on the ground. Audience invited to sit in two opposite facing seats. Dried with tea towels. Sitting on a fitted sheet. A plastic bucket.

Once washed allowed into the space. The space itself presented as a string cave, pixelated into facets. Limiting the audiences height. The object within appears to be littered with various objects, a shrine, candles, salt, chalk, herbal essences. As time goes on the audience gets braver. Thought the level of noise once inside the space remains limited. One figure departs the duo of washing, takes off her veil and begins to do something involving a syringe like object in the back space.

When all the washing is completed, the other figure leaves the washing and also enters the space…

Here the initial moment jars as a PowerPoint begins with infomercial like music, the two quiet figures suddenly come to life in an effort to educate, inform and sell the sacred. They wear blazers over their naked bodies and gold painted nipples. With high heels. As if suddenly emblazoned with ‘the spirit’ they dance energetically to the music and explain the points of the PowerPoint.

Just as abruptly, when this ends, the figures return to their quiet selves. There is conversation between the two figures, each using the other as their amplifier. There are various tropes of siphoning, removing information from the audience. There are whispers, there are stares, long held eye contact. They read words from scripts. They hand out paper and red pens. The audience is getting braver. They have taken on roles of their own. There is ambient electronica, there are vocals.The cake comes out.

Written by Zoe Crook

Edited by Jess Holly Bates

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