Wxtch Craft 2020/21 - Spring Cycle: The poisons, the remedies

Trigger warning: rape abuse

The Spring sessions have emerged from conversations we had with johanna, adrienne, Silvia, Denise, Valentina, Dana, Luanda and melanie in the previous semester. Like a council of elder Wxtches they helped us navigate through the dark night of 2020s' soul. A truly wretched year in which we witnessed a rabid patriarchy on the defense. With every eruption of toxic masculinity the Wxtch feels their scars itch; these that centuries of sexist, racist and ableist violence have left on her body. They know about the poisons, they know about the remedies.

Participation: The lectures are public and open to everyone, also from outside the academy. A link to a ZOOM-meeting will be published on the day of the event. Priority for participation will be given to students of the KABK.

Accessibility: Live Captions will be available and there will be a transcript with the recording. The recordings of the sessions will be published a few days after the live events here.

Recordings - Spring cycle

Showcase with recordings of the Wxtch Craft Spring cycle 2020/21

Curatorial statement

The Spring sessions have emerged from conversations we had with johanna, adrienne, Silvia, Denise, Valentina, Dana, Luanda and melanie in the previous semester. Like a council of elder Wxtches they helped us navigate through the dark night of 2020s' soul. A truly wretched year in which we witnessed a rabid patriarchy on the defense. With every eruption of toxic masculinity the Wxtch feels their scars itch; these that centuries of sexist, racist and ableist violence have left on her body. They know about the poisons, they know about the remedies.

Also in our artistic communities we are dealing with our own episode of patriarchal violence. Last november, two investigative journalists revealed the long term serial abuses and rapes committed by an artist who received support from many Dutch institutions (including the Royal Academy of Art). Falling hard for his ‘bad boy charisma’, many were clearly willing to turn a blind eye to the many bright red flags surrounding his persona. Performatively floundering in their attempt to assuage the collective horror, many institutions quickly came up with vague apologies and installed investigations that fail to fully convince, let alone overturn a culture of unsafety — as of yet.

Because survivors are right to ask: where were you when we needed you? Is it clear to whom you should apologize to and what a real apology entails? As adrienne maree brown said a few days before this scandal erupted: we don’t want call-outs, we want consequences! And so we wonder: how would a truly trauma informed, healing focused, community-led, survivor centered accountability process look like – in this and other situations? What embodied values would we want this process to have? Or in adrienne’s words: how do we shift our individual, interpersonal, and interorganizational anger towards viable sustainable systemic change?

It is in this spirit that melanie, Camille and Staci with Leana — four artists and cultural workers with an incredibly rich embodied practice themselves — will invite a new council of elders into our digital coven. The strong and soft doula energy of these conversations could nourish this pupal stage we are in, while helping us imagine a world free of oppression. For this, we settle ever deeper into our bodies as the site for pleasure and liberation, tending to old wounds and softening scars so we may remain juicy and lively while doing the work. We are aware that as a limited educational program we don’t have the resources to open a courageous space for the deep healing that century old Wxtch pain needs, let alone sustain long and arduous transformative justice processes we wish for our communities. What we can do is offer non-exhaustive educational resources, like this zine and a place, like our digital covens, so we may stay sensitive, resilient and protected while pushing for change. Please, feel free to take from this garden whatever nourishes your practice most, in alignment with your needs and values, while treading only as fast as your slowest part feels safe too.

Some last curatorial remarks — not all programs have been confirmed or fully defined. Please keep an eye on our Instagram for the latest updates and save the dates! It was an intense year for us all, so let’s take some crip time together and trust some amazing people will join us in their own rhythm. You will also find there our new yet evolving code of conduct; please read it before participating in our covens.

To conclude, this semester is inspired by trauma theory and the grassroots-based philosophy of transformative justice and disability justice; which are largely rooted in indigenous and black organizing traditions from Turtle Island, also known in colonial language as North America. As it goes with any cross cultural exploration, we are acutely aware that some parts will resonate with our lives and sometimes radically different contexts and other parts probably not. We are also aware that the global south has some incredible rich traditions in the above mentioned topics and struggles: rest assured that next year we will continue to fly on with this theme, weaving in relevant voices from near and far that are sympathetic to the cause.

Erika Sprey

Contact

Suggestions/Questions/Remarks

Drop us a note at e.sprey@kabk.nl or j.vangilst@kabk.nl or via @wxtchcraftkabk

Colophon

Curator and concept whisperer: Erika Sprey
Coordinator and unmissable production powerhouse: Janne van Gilst
Graphic design, art-direction, program touchstone: Dayna Casey
Current visual communication featuring an image of Alexandra Martens Serrano
Shrine interventions: all participating KABK students
Shrine underlay by Tommy Smits

ZINE
Compilation and editing: Dayna Casey, Erika Sprey
Featured texts: Mia Mingus, and Staci Haines
Editorial design: Dayna Casey
Printing, binding and collating: Niam Madlani, Lara Dautun, Dayna Casey
Printed at: KABK RISO workshop, thanks to Astrid Florentinus

Images are a combination of found images and commissioned student/alumni work by Alexandra Martens Serrano, featured work of Sydney Rahimtoola,
Shana de Villiers, Lorena Solís Bravo, and Josephine van Schendel, and drawings
by Afra Eisma and Marthe Prins

Shrine student work featured: Tammam Azzam, Pam Breedveld,
Daaf Brouwers, Faria van Creij-Callender, Romana Klementisová, Niam Madlani,
Stef Reijnierse, Silke Riis, Sohyun Park, Luca Serafini

… and special thanks to all our followers and brujx’s out there for your
inspiration, warmth and encouragement!