Witchcraft Hysteria: Performing Witchcraft in Contemporary Art and Pop Culture
A public lecture by Johanna Braun, Erwin Schrödinger Research Fellow at UCLA, and Katharina Brandl, University of Basel, followed by a panel discussion with artist and magical practitioner Amanda Yates Garcia.
1840 Henry Heath caricatures - Demonology & Witchcraft 3, cropped. (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
Monday, July 16, 20181:30 PM - 2:30 PM
10383 Bunche Hall
We seem to be living in bewitched times. Witches are everywhere, or rather: victims of alleged witch hunts pop up all over the place, preferable on Twitter or other social media outlets. Pop-stars perform as witches, like Katy Perry in her performance at the 2014 Grammy awards, where she appeared in a cowl before a crystal ball, while later dancing with broomsticks as poles. Beyoncé’s visual album “Lemonade” (2016) made several explicit references to black witchcraft rituals. Azealia Banks proclaimed on Twitter that she practiced “three years’ worth of brujería” (witchcraft) and tweeted, while cleaning the blood-smeared room used for her animal sacrifices, “Real witches do real things” (2016). Marina Abramovic’s performance piece “Spirit Cooking” (1996) was used in the infamous Pizzagate conspiracy theory of 2016 accusing Abramovic and the Hillary Clinton campaign of practicing witchcraft rituals and occult magic. Meanwhile, thousands of people coordinate binding spells against political leaders (#bindtrump) and Silvia Federici’s seminal book “Caliban and the Witch” moved from the bookshelf to the bedside table for many art professionals.
In the lecture “WITCHCRAFT HYSTERIA. Performing witchcraft in contemporary art and pop culture” the artist and scholar Johanna Braun and the art historian Katharina Brandl will examine the current interest in and the (queer-feminist) reception of witchcraft in contemporary performance practices. Subsequently, the magical practitioner Amanda Yates Garcia will join them for a panel discussion to provide a practitioner’s perspective on this phenomenon.
Johanna Braun is an artist, curator, and scholar. She holds an MFA and PhD from the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Austria. Her artistic and academic research was supported by a Federal Chancellery of Austria project grant (2014), an Emanuel-and-Sofie-Fohn Foundation scholarship (2015), and a research scholarship of the City of Vienna (2016). This event is part of Braun’s ongoing postdoctoral research project, The Hysteric as Conceptual Operator, conducted at the University of California, Los Angeles (2018–2019) and the University of Vienna (2019) and is funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF).
Katharina Brandl is an art historian, curator and author. She studied political science (MA) and art history (BA) at the University of Vienna, as well as critical studies (MA) at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. She currently works on her doctoral dissertation on "Gaming Aesthetics in Contemporary Art" at the University of Basel. She has been a tutor at the Department of Art History at the University of Vienna and a guest lecturer at the Zurich University of the Arts. She recently curated the show “Magic Circle” (with Daniela Brugger) on queer-feminist interest in witch cultures at Kunstraum Niederösterreich in Vienna.
Amanda Yates Garcia is an artist, writer, witch, healer and the Oracle of Los Angeles. Recent performance rituals include Capitalism Exorcism at Human Resources and Devouring Patriarchy at the Women’s Center for Creative Work. Her work has also been featured at Side Street Projects, the Hammer, REDCAT, the Getty, Public Fiction, ESMOA, Highways Performance Space, and the San Diego Art Institute, among others. Yates Garcia hosted the Oracle Hour for three years on KCHUNG radio; teaches the Magical Praxis monthly mystery school; has lectured on witchcraft at UCLA, Cal State Pomona, and UC Irvine; and performs private rites of healing and empowerment at her studio in West Adams. Her writing has been featured in publications such as CARLA, Black Clock, the Rough Magick anthology, Entropy, Synema Publikationen, and WITCH. Her book, Initiated: The Wayward Girl's Guide to Becoming a Witch, comes out in 2019 with Grand Central Books. She has obtained a CCI ARC grant, a Kodak film grant, an Ahmanson Foundation Scholarship, and a dual MFA in Film and Critical Theory from California Institute of the Arts.
Cost : Free and open to the public. RSVP not required for admission.
Sponsor(s): Center for European and Russian Studies