Loss, care, ritual and transformation

    Workshop by Ruth Somalo
    Wednesday 12 June 2024
    GC Ten Weyngaert

    From the perspective of ritual as an art form this workshop will explore the potential of the moving image to portray, document and propose new ways of enacting and understanding rituals as performances that lead to personal and collective transformation.


    Our griefs overlap, pile up, and accompany each other in a cyclical process of which we are now a little more aware, because if there is one thing we are certain of, it is that we are all going to have to deal with processes of loss and mourning.

    We will discuss how some artists have used non-fiction as a tool to accompany their dying and continue the relationship with their loved ones, to ritualize and memorialize their losses, to prepare for the arrival of death and also to transform their pain, redefine their identity and continue giving meaning to their lives.

    Rituals can also help us close a chapter of our life, transform maladies, mark a new passage, get ready for something, support us through a process, and even achieve social and political transformation.

    How does care manifest itself in the filmmaking process? How does the camera impact the relationships in front and behind the camera? In this workshop participants will be encouraged to think about their losses from a place of cinematic care and to use the audiovisual medium to continue relationships with their lost loved ones, to symbolize their absence and facilitate the proceeding of the important work of mourning through the production process of an audiovisual work. A work that can then become an enchantment ritual acting as a spiritual medium, a healing object, a memento mori that works as a reminder of the fragility of one’s own life, an act of memorialization and a work of art engaging in aesthetic pleasure.
    Filmmaker, curator, researcher and workshop lead Ruth Somalo will present excerpts of some of her recent films and will discuss her PhD research Mending Objects providing insight into how contemporary documentaries enact ritual and how as visual artists we can support our healing through cinematic processes.

    She will also draw on her own practice to offer intuitive ways of working with ritual and magic to allow us to connect with creativity and imagination in powerful and unexpected ways. Ruth will also offer some practical exercises using surrealist and intuitive techniques that will lead us into a discussion about creating our own cinematic rituals.


    About Ruth Somalo

    Ruth Somalo is a Spanish visual artist, curator, researcher and educator based in New York since 2008. She is interested in creating a non judgmental non anthropocentric space to discuss and embrace emotions, myth, fragility, death and ritual. Her latest work is concerned with taboos of the female body, illnesses, patriarchal structures & narrative medicine, human remains, tears, ritual healing, experiences of loss and the legacies of the Witch Hunts.

    Her feature and short films have been shown in theaters, festivals and museums internationally. She currently works as Senior Programmer at DOC NYC, DocumentaMadrid and The Architecture and Design Film Festival. Some of her independently curated programs include “The affection for small things” (Cineteca de Madrid), “Filming One’s own Ghosts”, “Holy Fluids and Absent Wounds” (Union Docs) and “Broken Senses” (Anthology Film Archives).

    Ruth also works as a mentor, seminar Instructor and as advisor of non fiction projects at Union Docs Center for Documentary Art. She is a PhD. candidate at Autonomous University of Madrid, and she is finishing her dissertation “MENDING OBJECTS: Mourning, reparation and the self in contemporary non fiction”.

    She is a long standing member of the research group Hist-Ex (Anthropology of Experience) at the Spanish National Research Council, currently working on a project that re-evaluates gesture as a form of community building and as a mark of political distinction.

    Practical Information

    Date: Wednesday 12 June 2024
    Venue: GC Ten Weyngaert (rue des Alliés 54, 1119 Brussels)
    Time: 10:00—17:00

    Tickets: Fully booked, no tickets left