Religion & Art Live at Lumen

Tuesday 21 March 2023
88 Tavistock Place
London WC1H 9RS

with thanks to Martin McManus and all at the Lumen community

in order of appearance:

Linda Mary Montano

Linda Mary Montano is a seminal figure in contemporary feminist performance art and her work since the mid 1960s has been critical in the development of video by, for, and about women. Attempting to dissolve the boundaries between art and life, Montano continues to actively explore her art/life through shared experience, role adoption, and intricate life altering ceremonies, some of which last for seven or more years. Her artwork is starkly autobiographical and often concerned with personal and spiritual transformation. Montano’s influence is wide ranging – she has been featured at museums including The New Museum in New York, MOCA San Francisco and the ICA in London.

Ma and the Seven Chakras – Ashes/Ashes. A video-lament for Mother Earth. Made right after Covid lockdown, my art gave me an opportunity to rejoice, grieve and sonically face impermanence via sounds and a Chicken Dance I’ve been performing for decades. The beauty of this video is that it looks like Chicken Linda can finally FLY!! Please interact if you wish and dance, sing, cry, and FLY HIGH.

Linda Montano on Wikipedia

Ariel Albuquerque

Ariel Albuquerque (they/them) is a multi-disciplinary Musical Theatre maker from Lisbon, Portugal. They graduated from the BA Performance, Politics and Society at Goldsmiths and have worked across the music and theatre industries in a variety of roles. Their work explores storytelling, songwriting and live performance, sitting in the gap between gig theatre, musical theatre and singer-songwriter music. They are also an Associate Lecturer in Musical Theatre in the TaP Department at Goldsmiths.

Killing David is an original musical exploring themes of love, insanity and isolation. Inspired by King Saul and King David’s episodes (1 Samuel 16:14-23) and the story of Pygmalion and Galatea (Metamorphosis, Ovid), the show accompanies Saul as he plays through his album, relating his journey of heartbreak and isolation after leaving David and re-learning the modern gay dating world. Ariel acts and plays through a portion of the show as a work-in-progress.


Sophie Hughes

Sophie Hughes‘ work roams the boundaries between the known and the unknown. Looking through spiritual, artistic and scientific lenses, I focus on relationships between humans and the more-than-human world, from the micro to the vegetal to the cosmic. My work takes the form of collage as a celebration of the interconnected ecology of everything. I manifest sound by transforming the electrical impulses of plants into music scores. I record scientists and religious leaders speaking about their belief systems to create interlocking landscapes of how the world is seen from multiple viewpoints at once. I film light refractions on spider webs and moonlit panoramas, I follow roots into the soil and branches into the sky, I trace birds across the clouds and ants on their pathways as a way of evoking the multiplicity of worlds constantly in relation. I have recently completed my MA in Art and Ecology at Goldsmiths, University of London. I am the co-founder of the Walking Trees Collective, a monthly gathering that asks how the intricate technology of art, poetry, sound and movement can form connective tissue between humans and the more-than-human world. I have collaborated on soil projects with Delfina Foundation and run workshops for the Horniman Museum amongst many other pursuits.

CAROUSEL, 2022: An exploration into universal consciousness through murmuration, migration and the dance of the more-than-human world. Voices of Hugh Balfour, Pastor of Christ Church Peckham; Matt Sommerville, Wild Bee Expert; Jason W Chapman, Movement Ecologist; Anneke Westra, Healer; Ivan Coleman, Photographer; Jeremy Jackson and Claudie Planche, Sacred Geometry Practitioners. Sounds of honeybees, nightingales, starlings, bats and rain. Extracts from Irene Papas, Neranzoula; Catherine Christer Hennix, Blues Alif Lam Mim In The Modes Of Rag Infinity – Rag Cosmosis; Lang Lang, Liszt’s Liebestraum No. 3; Tallis Scholars, Spem In Alium by Thomas Tallis.

Dan Byrne-Smith

Dr Dan Byrne-Smith is a trainee psychotherapist living in Lymington, Hampshire. He was formerly a Senior Lecturer in Fine Art Theory at Chelsea College of Arts. He is the author of the 2012 book Traces of Modernity (as Dan Smith) and editor of Science Fiction: Documents of Contemporary Art (2020). Dan is currently writing a book on Tangerine Dream’s album Phaedra for Bloomsbury’s 33 1/3 Global series.

Dan’s practice as a performer has developed as a space for experiential encounters in which there is a desire to establish a temporary relationship with an audience. This desired relationship could be characterised by Martin Buber’s notion of I-Thou, an ethical and spiritual possibility in which the other is experienced through a sense of unity.  The Mourner’s Kaddish will use a recording of Dan’s voice reciting the first line of the mourner’s Kaddish, one of the most important prayers in Judaism. It is a prayer that has been recited by Jews for around 2000 years and is considered a mitzvah, a good deed. It is also a prayer surrounded by rules and ritual, yet the conditions of reciting the Kaddish are quite flexible for many Jews, especially for those who relate to more progressive aspects of Judaism. Participating in the Kaddish is to share a powerful encounter with the other, creating both a temporary and an enduring sense of connection, a collective experience that feels deeply personal. In prayer is the enaction that all Jews are one, a radical sense of unity. This performance aims at a different kind of unity, transforming the words to create a deep listening encounter, turning the fragment of the prayer into new relationship, an experience with a particular and personal resonance for the performer.

Mark Dean

Mark Dean is an artist and priest, currently serving as chaplain to University of the Arts London, and coordinating Arts Chaplaincy Projects. As a youth Dean performed in bands, and music remained an integral part of Dean’s art practice from the 1990’s onwards, with looped and layered sound samples often providing the structural basis for video works, as opposed to being an overlay or backing track. This treatment of music as material is paralleled by a consistent use of film as objet trouvé; however, Dean’s use of appropriation differs from some of the more reductive interpretations of such work in that it is based not on a theory of the emptiness of images, but on a theology of kenosis, or self-emptying.

In 2021 Mark began publishing video albums on chaplachap records; these have a relation to visual albums, but rather than containing a collection of music videos, are offered as a form of video & sound art. For this Religion & Art Live session Mark presents an extract from the recent album Seven Sacraments.

Nina Danino

Nina Danino is a filmmaker and artist. Her most recent film Solitude (2022) is an avant-garde reflection on Nico as poet, icon and screen. It brings together image, sound, poetry and music. It was launched at the London Short Film Festival (it is a long film but the LSFF has a tradition of doing live soundtrack events) in January 2023 as a special event with live music by Gagarin aka Graham Dowdell ex of Nico’s band The Faction. She is Reader in Fine Art, Goldsmiths, University of London.

This Religion & Art Live series is an opportunity to present and try out new performative directions. Mapping myself into songs for different reasons, expression, gender, memory, immediacy. I am performing I’m Dying which is a Yoko Ono late career track.

James Tabbush

James Raphael Tabbush is an artist based in London. Using animation, film, writing and sound, he tends to explore the emotional effects of current systems of image production and distribution. Common themes are the act of looking and being looked at, technological distancing, desire, transience and the self-put-into-question. Recent work often repurposes forms and tropes from software tutorials, ASMR, meditation aids, vlogs and algorithmically created viral content, creating abstracted fictions. His work is exhibited as installations and online on streaming platforms. James studied at City and Guilds of London Art School and then MFA Fine Art at Goldsmiths from 2018-2020. Recent exhibitions include path-traced fog at Somers Gallery, Unthought ASMR at Cosmos Carl and Embedded Tactility at Mullae Art Space, Seoul. He co-runs the screening and critique programme Radiator.

James presents Long Night, a moving image work in progress – narrative sketches for a long dark insomniac night of the soul.

Mimi Nicholson

Mimi Nicholson graduated from Goldsmith’s BA Fine Art in 2020 and has since been reading for her MPhil in Modern Theology at Oxford.  Her work uses limited domestic technology, materials and spaces in order to create performances of self-portraiture, usually in the form of photography or video. She has also worked in set design, installation, writing and painting, both collaboratively and independently. Through the use of persona – often as oblique subversions of well-known icons, characters or actions – Mimi’s work strives to interrogate the interplay of the unified self, before God, and the multiple selves of everyday existence. Jokes often function as a launchpad for the production of her work, and a common feature of their presentation is that they appear urgently fashioned, manically improvised or haphazardly drawn together. More recently, she has become concerned with the more explicitly theological implications of performance, especially in relation to the eucharistic body and the act of confession. Making, for Mimi, is a way of revelling in the wonderful breadth of expression available in the living body; with all its contexts, fleshiness, crude directness and nuance. In 2017, Mimi co-founded Themselves, a multi-disciplinary network providing space for cultural-production and research, with other Goldsmiths peers. She is currently Associate Editor of The Journal of the Oxford Graduate Theological Society. Mimi now lives with her husband and daughter in rural Buckinghamshire.

For Religion & Art Live, Mimi alignins herself with the artistic tradition known variably by the name Maria Lactans, The Nursing Madonna, Madonna del Latte, and Galaktotrophousa. In doing so, Mimi wishes to play with themes of Mariolatry and idolatry, looking at how the different temporalities of images (e.g., painted, digital or performed) impact their status, the status of the subject and the opportunities for the viewer. The work provides an alternative vision of motherhood to the one often portrayed in mother/child iconography in order to enliven the realities of each role and broaden the scope of their application.