Performance – Lauryn Youden: YOU SAY I FOR ME

As part of the international symposium 'Concerning the Spiritual in Art' / With Karen Archey (curator contemporary art, Stedelijk Museum), Carolina Evanesce, a.o.

You say I for me is a performative reading and sound bath by artist Lauryn Youden. This performance includes the reading of Youden’s text Nocebo (2018), which is both a personal narrative about illness and a historical essay. Nocebo depicts the artist's own relationship with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), lucid dreaming as a form of treatment and confronting of personal demons. The artist further presents a timeline of diagnoses related to the changing perception of the female body and plant-based medicine during the growth of monotheistic religions and capitalism.

Sound baths, which are part meditation and part listening exercises, are therapeutic sound healing ceremonies. You say I for me is composed of an immersive light and sound environment, including crystal singing bowls played by Youden. This is accompanied by music produced by artist and musician Florian T M Zeisig from his yet-to-be released album Markings (2018). Designed in dialogue with Youden for her own holistic treatment, the album is composed of subtle frequency modulations of synthesizer and singing bowl recordings. At the beginning of the performance, mugwort tea (artemisia vulgaris) will be served. The audience is invited to enjoy the tea during the performance while taking a comfortable seat, laying down and closing their eyes. The audience is advised to wear something comfortable and to come well hydrated.

In the Middle Ages, mugwort was known as a plant that protected from evil possession. Today mugwort is more commonly known as the “dream” herb. It can enhance the remembrance of dreams while it is primarily used to activate a lucid dreaming state or astral projection while in a meditative trance or when taken before falling asleep. Mugwort’s medicinal effects are particularly beneficial for the female reproductive system. It is a powerful emmenagogue that eases menstrual difficulties, irregularity or a weak menstrual flow. Please note that the herb should not be ingested by any pregnant women or women who are breast-feeding.

Lauryn Youden

(b. 1989, Vancouver) is a Canadian artist based in Berlin whose practice is a methodology of performative ceremonies. The objects, installations and writings comprising her work are both the traces left behind from these actions as well as tools for providing self-care. These derive from Youden’s lifelong navigation through modern Western medicine and alternative healing practices for the treatment of her own mental illnesses. By publicly presenting her personal experiences, Youden’s work inevitably illuminates repressed, marginalized and forgotten practices and knowledge in medicine and care.

Context

Youden’s performance You say I for me stems from a tradition of sound environments pioneered by artists such as LaMonte Young and Laurie Spiegel. The performance continues the Stedelijk Museum’s dedication to sound art, following the recent performance Blue(s) in Green to 31 Limit by Catherine Christer Hennix.


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    Sacred Serpent Sessions: Kunst Sommer Detox, 2017 Sound bath, installation and performance, 45 min. Documentation of performance and installation at Meridian Skyline Plaza, Frankfurt, DE presented by Reflektor-M. Photo: Daniel Stubenvoll