A MALE KEENING (vi)
Performance, May 2021
‘Keening’ was a Paganic Gaelic funereal practice, a performance of ecstatic grief in the form of wailing. Often unacquainted with the bereaved, the assigned Keener acted as a proxy for mourners to express their grief vicariously. Historically, the role of the keener was assigned to female, matriarchal figures, lacking a direct representation of complex male grief.
Over the course of a year following their father's death, the artist performed five “male" equivalents of keening upon quartz crystals. These reflected the five stages of grief, charging the crystals in a transubstantial manner with the sonic expression of loss. Here, the artist reopens the wound, drinking water as filtered through the same quartz’s accumulated grief energies, expelling them again in a Keening.