This was the second performance by the artist, which took place in Tent Gallery on the 14th of February, Saint Valentine´s day. The piece consisted of a blood sacrifice given by the artist to a little birch, the tree was planted later in the grounds of Edinburgh College of Art in a manifestation about climate change.
The focus of the work was to produce a deconstruction of a contemporary myth by rescuing elements of the ancient Roman ritual called Lupercalia, a pagan festivity dedicated to fertility, sexuality and the horned god Louperkos.
By comparing the Christian and the Roman version of the festivity, the work aims to raise questions about the ways we relate to nature, as a generative force (which is a concept that the artist explores in depth through his sculptural practice). While the Roman ritual took into account sacrifice in order to offer the vital energy to nature, the Christian-capitalized version lacks any form of retribution. In change, sexuality was sublimated into romantic love, which is ultimately expressed in economic transactions and over consumerism. The lack of retribution in contemporary social (and mental) systems is a sign of alienation created by the inversion of cultural symbology. “Giving back” to nature was slowly transformed into “taking from it”, in the same way, that sexuality was slowly transformed into a tamed form of happiness.
Photo credit: Harmony Bury