Neo-worlds: Other-directed potentialities of fright”

marie kølbæk iversen, oslo national academy of the arts, the academy of fine art

Through a triangulation of sci-fi, shamanism and feminism, my proposal focuses on the ritual practices, cosmologies and cosmovisions of Amazonian Pano Amerindians regarding fright as other-directed and transformative potential. The Pano linguistic family counts tribes such as Yawanawá and Huni Kuin. While I plan to draw on insights of several tribes in a mapping of the ritual use of fright as transformative potential, my research will be focused on the cosmovisions of the young Yawanawá women, who were behind the feminist breakthrough that lead to the initiation of the tribe’s first female shaman, Hushahu Yawanawá, in 2005.

I intend to apply the ritual and shamanic practices of Sámi Noaide and Southern Scandinavian Sejd as my artistic method to engage with Yawanawá cosmovisions. This is a way of reclaiming the heritage of the defeated (cf. Isabelle Stengers and Philippe Pignarre); in my case, the practices of female Sejd shamans known as ‘vølver,’ which Reformationist and Enlightenment thinking subsequently denounced as witchcraft. The visions born out of the syncretist field between Noaide, Sejd and Yawanawá shamanism will inform sci-fi-inspired artworks spanning film, animation, text, drawing, pottery, etc., to be developed in tandem with my academic research.Thus appropriating Yawanawá insights through the history of Sejd and Noaide is a proposal for the re-indigenising of Western selves for the sake of sustainable futures.

My research takes place at the Oslo Academy of Fine Art. The project is anchored in fieldwork in the Amazon, where I intend to spend several months during my fellowship, as well as academic research in Norway and Denmark to explore the historical practices of Sejd and Noaide.