As part of Shape’s latest commissioning project, #ShapeSustainabilitySeason🌎, today we are premiering a new filmed performance-to-camera from artist Alicia Radage.

‘Quake’ (2021) is the outcome of a six-month Arts Council England-funded project exploring the relationships between neurodivergent experience and Shamanic practice. In light of recent weather events and in the build up to next month’s COP26 conference addressing the climate crisis, the conversations opened up by Alicia’s latest work are not just timely but imperative.

A main focus of the project was exploring interspecies communication through Shamanic practice. Alicia discovered that the action of repetitively and rapidly treading ground prompted worms to come up to the surface. They call this the ‘Worm Dance.’

A hat was conceived with milliner Rosanna Gould to be worn whilst performing the dance. Attached to the hat are old iron nails taken from Alicia’s floorboards, making a sheer curtain around the body. Whilst performing the Worm Dance, the nails vibrate and jingle, transforming the hat into both costume and instrument. Performing the Worm Dance to the point of exhaustion forces the body to shake vigorously. 

I found this shaking had a profound effect on the body.

"I began learning about TRE (trauma/tension release exercise): the induction of neurogenic shaking which relieves stress as well as induces pleasure and joy. Shaking has a history in ancient and euphoric ritual practice, used to bring about altered states of consciousness and heighten spiritual awareness. As a neurodivergent artist I found the practice of shaking also channels and alleviates sensory overload, stimulating and focusing the senses."

The phrase “as I ran wild and claw backwards” was written during a meditation around interspecies communication, human rewilding, and the process of remembering and decolonising. This phrase became the lyrics to the song, which is repeatedly sung throughout the performance. Within the framework of spiritual practice, repetitive singing and chanting are communally practiced as a ritual to communicate with the spiritual realm, reaching beyond the individual, and can be used to enter altered states of consciousness. This song is an offering and connection to the collective consciousness. Furthermore, the vocal vibrations also act as other forms of communication; a human offering to the more than human.

This piece is performed in Alicia’s garden. It was filmed by Baiba Sprance and Marco Berardi. 

This performance is the culmination of a collaboration between Shape and Alicia Radage in which Alicia also published several blogs diving into the project's themes. Read all three now.

About Alicia Radage

Radage is currently based in the UK. Their work springs from a well of queer(ed) sensitivity at the occupied intersection of the Female Body. Manifesting through visual languages of performance, photography, and digital collage; Radage works to unpack histories of colonisation pertaining to the gendered body & geography – seeking alternatives to a reflexive politics of occupation.

In a rejection of repro-sexuality as a mode of late capitalism; Radage explodes fertility narratives placed on the female body in an attempt to interrupt constructed requirements of (re)production - opting instead for shared practices of re-fashioning and exchange. 

At its limits, Radage's practice reaches beyond the body and its political histories to a spiritualism that explores our collective human-animal position within a universe which has no prescribed purpose other than the sentience of being.

Alicia has taught at Universities on Fine Art and Theatre courses for both MA and BA courses. They have been supported by The British Council and Arts Council England. They co-organise Assembly with Jasper Llewellyn, a workshop and residency for Action Artists in Provence, France. They are one half of the collaboration Radage â–½ Hardaker with Ro Hardaker. Alicia graduated from The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in 2011 with a Distinction in Advanced Theatre Practice. 

Follow Alicia on Instagram