HAMMER OF WITCHES, Pears of Anguish
Hammer of Witches, Pears of Anguish (BRIC Media Arts Biennial 2017) draws from medieval paintings of torture chambers: depicting dress forms hanging from nooses, chains, shackles, fire, stocks for holding female prisoners, and a widely published 1484 witch-hunting manual, Malleus Maleficarum (Hammer of Witches). The aim of this project was to expose more readers to Silvia Federici's text, Caliban and The Witch. Federici draws direct ties between the rise of early capitalism in Europe, the reproductive labor of women, enclosures of the Commons, and witch persecutions.
In conjunction with the exhibition, Reed curated a series of events to connect the history of Caliban and The Witch to current events and political issues today:
Witch Hunts: Past, Present, Future brought Silvia Federici to speak in direct conversation with practicing midwives, sexologists, female scholars/ historians, and herbalists. All of these practices were historically targeted during the witch persecutions and continue to struggle under this legacy. Panelists: Silvia Federici, Ynanna Djehuty, Zelaika S. Hepworth Clarke, and Lorrayne Carroll.
Mugwort Magic: Plant Medicine for Healing In and Out of Time brought herbalist Sabina Ibarrola to teach plant medicine including sourcing, processing, and dosing of a medicinal herb common to Europe during times of persecution.
Embodied Healing: Magic Ritual with NYC Reclaiming brought local self-identified witches from the NYC Reclaiming community into the gallery for a participatory ritual aimed at the electoral college in response to 2016 election results.