KEENING GARDEN DOOR
Performance, November 2019
‘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.
Here, the artist performed a male equivalent of the keener. Over the course of a year following their father's death, the artist performed four "male" keenings upon quartz crystals, charging them in transubstantial manner with the sonic energies of loss. The crystals, carried through successive iterations of the work - each reflecting the first four stages of grief. In 'Keening Garden Door' the charged quartz were set like teeth into a doorway. Over a mix of different soils, including some from their father's grave, the artist keened a fifth and final time - preparing to pass through the Door into Acceptance.