senVoodoo

senVoodoo was a performance collective founded in Sydney by AñA Wojak, visual artist, and Fiona McGregor, writer. Active from 1999-2007, they reformed in 2008 to present a final work at the Experimental Art Foundation in Adelaide. Their work was almost always site specific with installation a crucial element. They performed in galleries, theatres, cabarets and parties across Australia, both solo as well as in larger interactive pieces with other artists. They performed live in Poland, and their video and installation work was shown internationally.

Spawned in the fertile ground of Sydney’s alternative party and cabaret culture, senVoodoo evolved an idiosyncratic body-based practise where endurance co-existed with a theatrical aesthetic.

Their work drew from diverse sources both within and without the artistic realm; cross-cultural ritual and spiritual signifiers formed a strong part of their vocabulary.

For millenia iconography of the wounded, bleeding or adorned body has been the location of drama, passion, sacrifice and redemption. It continues to have relevance in these times of plague, war and advanced technologies, which both enhance and deny the primal body. The inherent violence of breached skin can be seen as liberating, transcendental, beautiful or brutal; sometimes even comical. senVoodoo created rich theatrical statements using the visceral power of pain: the emotional is physical.

A selection of their performances can be viewed below.

Font

Photos: Waded, Finnbar Featherstone

2007
Aftermath
Artspace, Sydney

A tableau vivant presenting the primal substance of blood as a carrier of sustenance and contagion. Two figures lean towards one another over a vessel of water, bleeding into it and staining it red.

Pain and the breaching of skin, central features in the work of senVoodoo, are vehicles to a realm of intense focus. The body under duress engages viewers on a profound level, confronting notions of mortality, contagion, sacrament and the body’s essential fluidity, within the immediacy of the act of bleeding and the blending of blood and water as a symbol of alchemical union and transformation.

Font also refers to the hepatitis C positivity of Fiona McGregor. A potentially fatal blood borne virus imposes a quarantine. The flow of blood in public becomes a graphic assertion of the Self against external and internal boundaries; the couple stretch towards one another, unable to fully join.

senVoodoo was co-founded with AñA Wojak in 1998. Font was the final performance of the duo, bringing a ten year collaboration to a close.


Arterial

Photos: Jamie James and others

June 2008
live and video installation
Experimental Art Foundation
Adelaide, SA

August 29th- September29th, 2007
scroll
Blake Prize for Religious Art
NAS Gallery, Sydney

June 6th, 2006
live
Galeria BWA
Jelenia Gora, Poland

June 3rd, 2006
video installation
Galeria Wschodnia
Lódz, Poland

May 26, 2006
live
Galeria Manhattan
Lódz, Poland

May 20 2006
live
Modelarnia, Gdansk Shipyards
Night of European Museums
Gdansk, Poland

May 8-15 2006
live
Interakcje 2006 – International Art Action Festival
Piotrków Tribunalski, Poland

May 3-10 2006
video installation
DIAF – Dashanzi International Art Festival
Beijing, China

February 2006
video installation
Asia Pacific Video Film Festival
Gallery 4a – Asia Australian Art Centre , Sydney

Performance

A roll of paper creates a pathway across the space. A figure appears at either end, shrouded head to foot in white; faceless, disembodied. The only visible flesh is an arm emerging from the fabric, bleeding.

As the figures approach one another the blood drips, leaving a trail on the paper. The hems smear the path of blood, becoming stained. The figures meet in the centre and crumple into one, individually indistinguishable.

Installation – remembrance

The bloodbath on paper became an artwork in itself. In some renditions, it remained as part of the video installation for the duration of the exhibition. In others the video installation with bloodbath was exhibited alone, without the live performance. The video installation featured the performance shown on three screens. Each time it was installed differently depending on the space.

Dressing For Pleasure

Photos: Rachael Vincent

October 2004
Dressing for Pleasure (live performance)
Meeting Place, Regional Arts Australia Biennial Festival
Horsham, Victoria

9th Station

Photos: Gary Nicholls, Bradley Hancock
Medical: Bradley Hancock

2004
The 9th Station: Jesus stumbles for the third time
14 – Via Crucis Australis, The Song Company
Sydney Town Hall

A performative version of Stations of the Cross commissioned by Sydney choral ensemble, The Song Company. 14 pieces of music from 14 classical composers was accompanied by the work of 14 artists. In keeping with the tradition of the ritual, audience members travelled through the space from station to station.

senVoodoo’s interpretation of The 9th Station: Jesus Stumbles for the Third Time was an observation of power, control and the silencing of protest. It made direct reference to the imprisonment of asylum seekers in Australia, at that time on hunger strike.

The Kiss

Photos: Tom Fairweather

2003

Wranglers: Rush Electra, Francesca d’Amico

Provoked by the invasion of Afghanistan, The Kiss was performed in clubs and at parties throughout 2003.

Emergency

Photos: Jamie James

Patient: Rush Electra

March 2002
Gurlesque
The Imperial Hotel, Sydney

April 2001
No Holes Barred
Sydney

Vaudevillians Nurse Juice and Nurse Frankenstein. Most of their performances involved a patient coming to them for treatment, and things going from bad to worse …

Art Con

2002
Biennale of Sydney
Arthouse Hotel

Medical: Bradley Hancock
Curators: Bradley Hancock, Alison Moore

Sick Little Games

Photos: Wendy McCaffley

November 2000
Grunt
Bohéme,  Sydney

September 2000
No Holes Barred
Sydney

Specimen

Photos: Jamie James

July 2000
Pinching Flesh
Icebox, Sydney

June 2000
Body Art Show
Museum of South Australia, Adelaide

February 2000
Body Art Show
Australian Museum, Sydney