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Gifts of the Spirit: Prophecy, Automatism and Discernment

January 25, 2018 | 7 & 9 PM

“I made an extreme turning-fifty performance, which was both in line with, and against, Kusama’s “Self-Obliteration” concept. Rather than the erasure of oneself, the gesture is also grand: erasing the singular emphasis and using infinity as a texture. Gifts of the Spirit takes that nugget further: expanding the ‘I’ of my memoir into the randomness of collectively authored text, set with the bloat of an opera.” —Ron Athey

Gifts of the Spirit: Prophecy, Automatism and Discernment is Ron Athey’s vision for an “automatic writing machine” brought to life in collaboration with the composer Sean Griffin as a performance/installation made up of 16 writers, six typists, a hypnotist, vocalists, and musicians. In this work, the artist “completes” his memoir (“Gifts of the Spirit”) together in ecstatic communion with his collaborators. This living machine makes a tightly choreographed and scored visual spectacle bringing together writing, reading and listening into a layered performative action resulting in a collectively authored text and sound score.

Athey has been writing his memoir since 1980 when he moved away from the Pentecostal and Spiritualist practices in which he was raised. His writing describes the experience of having been raised as a living saint within an environment of abuse, vibrating with the energy of the otherworldly, but doing so without faith. The deconsecrated cathedral of St. Vibiana provides the perfect venue for this work, which strips faith from ritual and presents the orchestration of ecstatic states as art.

Gifts of the Spirit is co-produced by The Broad, and has been made possible in part by a grant from the Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts. Guest-curated by Jennifer Doyle.

214 S. Main Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012

$25 | More Info