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Cameron Kelly McLeod

first performed on November 21, 2019
ISSUE Project Room, Brooklyn, NY
performed once in 2019


Kelley Shih

Brooklyn, NY / New York, NY


“Ogwu (the healing)” is an immersive purification ritual sculpted through a visual, sound, and scent bath inspired by the element of fire. Cushions and chairs were available for attendees to sit on, and platforms were placed in the space to lie down on as well. The ritual was performed in three movements: laying down of kindling (reading of a prose poem over sound), firestarter (improvisational movement phrase), and bathed in fire (sound bath through voice and electronics).

It is the third in a series of rituals that I created / performed at ISSUE Project Room as part of my year-long artist residency in 2019, where I was exploring how to create a communal-based diasporic healing and spiritual practice steeped in the sensorial. Each performance art ritual excavates connections between the five elements of nature (water, air, fire, earth, and aether / void), and takes into consideration a holistic approach to blending analog and digital creative technologies with spirituality. Staged in collaboration with lighting designer Kelley Shih, the ritual follows “The Cosmology of Water” and “Fast Forward to Silence,” recent commissions that explored the elements of water and air, respectively.

“Ogwu (the healing)” follows a mapping of sacred geometry in the creation of the ritual and the staging. The element of fire is represented by a tetrahedra. Attendees are led through three phrases that end in contemplation and relaxation.