Ablution

Ablution is defined as a ritual purification through water, which involves cleaning or cleansing the body before performing a religious act, like entering a temple or praying. For this performance I washed the participants' hands and feet for a duration of three hours, before entering the gallery and by doing so defining the gallery as a sacred space. For this project I researched rituals of ablution, which are a common thread in almost all religions, and combined them through objects, metaphors and actions to create an amalgamate of rituals.

The piece  began by emptying the gallery, lighting incense to cleanse the air, and performing wudu, the Islamic ablution. After that people entered the gallery one at a time, and where asked if they wanted their feet or hands to be washed. Through this mixed ritual people experienced a process of purification while I  washed, blessed and dried their hands or feet and then offer them a fruit or a nut before entering the gallery. The performance collage the aesthetic in a ritual that included Muslim, Catholic, Buddhist, Sikh, Shinto, Baha'i, Christian, Jewish, Hare krishna, Hindu and Native American traditions. Proposing a possible communion of faiths through art and human interaction for a more peaceful state of awareness. Challenging the position of the artist as idol by being humble enough to wash the feet of the visitors, and establishing the gallery as a sacred space that requires purification before entry, a possible place of catharsis, rebirth and connection with the divine. At the end of the night  I collected all the water used by over a hundred people that went through the process into one recipient and poured it over my body in an ultimate act of purification.




Performed at 221A Gallery
Pact 6; Let
July 17th, 2010