Prehistoria, Hysteria

Prehistoria, Hysteria is a ongoing body of research, using organic material and objects to investigate the spiritual,  alchemic and cultural rituals with nature. This is realised through moving image, audio, performance and sculpture installations. Through daily collections of organic material on walks through the local landscape surrounding Korpulfstaddir, the histories, folklore and mythology associated with place and the material became apparent. Attempts to discuss the patriarchal disassociations with these histories as a means of oppression of women, of indigenous people and of our natural world came to the forefront of the research.

During her time at SíM Residency, Reykjavik in 2021, Skehan began looking at the similarities between Iceland and Ireland's Pre-Christian relationship to the natural world, and how this is intrinsically linked to the 'spiritual'. Through exploring traditional rituals associated with this time she connected the Celtic Spirit, the 'Cailleach' (the witch) with the ‘Völva’ (Norse shaman witch) and their association with the landscape, weather and the cosmos. The rituals that communities would perform within nature through offerings were out of gratitude, reverence or sometimes fear for the deities power over the natural world. These rituals and their symbolic relationship with ecology can be used as a symbol of resistance to patriarchy.

 

Skehan played with modes of display and created hybrid sculptures with domestic objects including black silk rope, water glasses and chain with natural found material she collected. Plants specimens such as dried Lupine (an invasive threatening plant in Iceland) and Icelandic lichen and moss are collected and arranged with fractured bits of lava rock and sandstone. Hanging chain with stones and textiles are gathered in my studio, while collections of dying bunched plants for a full moon ritual were documented. A love letter to the moon then became an 'incantation' audio piece. Throughout the residency, she collected video footage that become a ‘triptych’ video work, viewing the landscapes through a new window, through fractured, shifting perspectives.