"Rituel de Sagazan"

An homage to my favorite performance artist, an emotive ritual of sensory deprivation utilizing clay, paint, dried flora and moss.


I don’t remember how I stumbled upon Olivier de Sagazan, but over 12 years ago I fell in love with his work. It was evocative, grotesque, otherworldly and inspiring. I think of him often in my Butoh movements and how he is able to transcend humanism- blindly creating these characters and imbuing emotion into them that feels fitting in their mannerisms and of their internal story.


I’ve always wanted to try his process, and when I discussed this idea with photographer Alex Townsend, he was game for capturing this madness using his own artistic mediums.


I did not anticipate how deeply emotionally affected I would feel, morphing myself into this thing. I began with Holotropic breathwork to get myself out of this realm and into an altered headspace. As I slathered the clay on myself, I noticed that rather than feeling blocked in by the deprivation of sight, I felt free to let the clay speak and for my body to mould and follow its direction. I lost all track of time.


Afterward, I felt incredibly exhausted by the process in both body and mind. I felt as though I had run a marathon of a million miles and thoughts. My chest felt heavy, weighted with rocks of grief, but I couldn’t bring myself to cry. Later that day, the sky opened up and cried for me. Barefoot in the little storm, I washed the clay and paint bowls with the rainwater, thunder booming overhead. Existence seemed to turn inside out as my emotions roared around me within the elements, as I cleared these vessels that carried the materials meant to subdue, constrict, deprive and invoke.


Thank you Alex, for seeing and supporting me in this form, in this medium and beautifully capturing these moments in time that seemed to pass so quickly.


Now, after having experienced this, I’d like to make it into a series and explore different environments and materials, spending longer durations in this process and thought-space.


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Location: Brent Baca Memorial Disc Golf Course, Albuquerque NM

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