Mai-Thu Perret

Vous les trouvez aux plus sinistres lieux, isolés, mal famés, aux masures, aux décombres. C’est encore là une ressemblance qu’elles ont avec celle qui les employait. Où aurait-elle vécu, sinon aux landes sauvages, l’infortunée qu’on poursuivit tellement, la maudite, la proscrite, l’empoisonneuse qui guérissait, sauvait ? La fiancée du Diable et du Mal incarné, qui a fait tant de bien, au dire du grand médecin de la Renaissance. Quand Paracelse, à Bâle, en 1527, brûla toute la médecine, il déclara ne savoir rien que ce qu’il apprit des sorcières. 

Jules Michelet, La sorcière


The witch was the Communist and terrorist of her time, which required a “civilizing” drive to produce the new “subjectivity” and sexual division of labor on which the capitalist work discipline would rely. The witch hunts were the means by which women in Europe were educated to their new social task, and a massive defeat was inflicted on Europe’s “lower” classes, who had to learn about the power of the state to destroy any form of resistance to its rule. On the stakes were destroyed not only the bodies of the “witches” but a whole world of social relations that had been the basis of women’s social power, and a vast body of knowledge that women had transmitted, from mother to daughter, over the generations—knowledge of herbs, means of contraception or abortion, the signs through which to read the weather, and the magic to obtain the love of men. 

Sylvia Frederici,Witch-Hunting, Past and Present,
and the Fear of the Power of Women


Autant dire qu'il n'y pas de position neutre de la parole : en sorcellerie, la parole, c'est la guerre. Quiconque en parle est un belligérant et l'ethnographe comme tout le monde. Il n'y a pas de place pour un observateur non engagé.

Jeanne Favret-Saada, Les mots, la mort, les sorts



The aim of this Labzone is to put together a collective performance which will take place on the closing days of my exhibition The Blazing Worldat Spike Island in Bristol, UK, in March 2019. 


We will look at the figure of the witch, primarily working with historical texts about the witch hunts in Medieval and Renaissance Europe, but also considering the ongoing cultural relevance of the witch as fairy tale bogey woman, feminist icon, and working class heroine. 



Object magic





Mother figures

Mary Wigman, Hexentanz
Eiichi Yamamoto, Kanashimi no Belladonna
Eiichi Yamamoto, Kanashimi no Belladonna
Eiichi Yamamoto, Kanashimi no Belladonna
Eiichi Yamamoto, Kanashimi no Belladonna