2023  JAGUAR MARY X AKA JOCELYN TAYLOR

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about the Mythic bird

Photo by Eva Mueller

invite the mythic bird to your community,

festival, gathering, artspace or ritual event

The Mythic Bird is an avatar that embodies the liminal threshold between flesh and spirit, exploring potentials for collective liberation through touch, dance and glossolalia. The Mythic Bird appears in ritual contexts as a channeled representation, reconstructed as a make-believe entity that offers a "loving touch" to audience participants.

 

By embodying ritual aspects of bird-like dance and speaking in tongues, I detach myself from a contested historical identity that has been necessarily fixated on survival and assimilation. Through the Mythic Bird, I activate afro-surrealist notions of the black-magical through the art of Sankofa; the idea that it is not wrong to go back and get what one has forgotten. Without first-hand experience of Afro-Indigenous based ritual, I have intuitively gone back to remember and spark those traces of my DNA that still speak to me and remind me of something powerful, mysterious and healing.  I begin to desaturate the idea of a black abject subject for myself and for folks who are present for the ritual I bring. I am a performance artist, dancer, filmmaker, glossolalia vocalist, and intuitive who was raised as a buddhist  and trained in the modalities of Swedish massage, Reiki, sound healing and energy work. I bring all of those technologies into ritual with me. 

 

Using performance as research, I take off one mask, the heavy and dense covering of historical trauma carried by African/Indigenous people worldwide and put on the masked persona of a Mythic Bird who, like the Phoenix, Eagle, Garuda and other mythical creatures knows the potential of flight, of flying.  In "Embodied Avatars: Genealogies of Black Feminist Art and Performance" , Uri McMillian talks about black women artists' engagement in 'avatar production' and its uses as a liberatory practice. This includes the witnessing audience, whose presence is the main alchemical ingredient in ritual. As testifiers to the existence of threshold experience, which includes the suspension of time, connection with others in the circle and feelings of well-being, the audience may reiterate those same sensory affects in their daily lives. Freedom as praxis is a continuum, accomplished everyday through small and large acts.