HILDERGARDIS! … AN HOMAGE TO SAINT, SCIENTIST AND REBEL HILDEGARD OF BINGEN. (1098-1179).
Fascinated by the life achievement and medieval music of the holy figure Saint Hildegard, I began an ongoing project “Homage to Hildegard of Bingen” in 2016 and created a 38 hour durational performance on five consecutive days at the Wave Hill Winter Program in the Bronx, New York, embodying the spirit of Hildegard of Bingen.
Hildegard of Bingen (German: Hildegard von Bingen), also known as Saint Hildegard was a German Benedictine abbess, polymath, composer, artist, philosopher, female Medicus, and Christian mystic. It took more than 800 years for the church to formally canonize Hildegard of Bingen because she was a woman. She was far ahead of her time and often was misunderstood by the hierarchy during a time of patriarchal religious institutions. Hildegard proclaimed the special dignity for women in her songs, music, speeches, and books.
In my conceptual performance “Homage to Hildegard of Bingen,” I explored religious-based activities, and psychophysical body limits through significantly slowed-down speeds of motion, hyper-controlled micro movement, repetition of actions, restrained emotion, theta brain wave activation, and holistic body conditioning.
In 2017, wanting to embody her even more, I stayed at the Benedictine abbey of St. Hildegard in Eibingen, Germany and lived with the nuns, who still lived on Hildegard’s way. I was researching the identity of a woman during the 12th century Germany in an abbey and also encountered timekeeping through canonical hours and life-long meditation, finding similarities in a Benedictines nun’s life practice and the practice of a time-based performance artist. Time perception and the concept of time scale are very relevant challenges in both worlds and of great value.
“Homage to Hildegard” started as a site-specific performance project with live performances and performance-based video works and throughout time became a research-based cathartic journey studying the Feminine, feminist spirituality, the healing arts and independent, nonconformist female thinkers.
Finally, in 2019, combining all my research, I brought the project, as a provocative and modern multidisciplinary solo piece named “Hildegardis,” to stage at the New York Butoh Institute Festival in the East Village, curated by Vangeline. I combined olfactory art, sculpture, sound art, light design, costume, movement, and Butoh Dance.