Last month, Andrew Zealley was featured in Xtra’s Rhubarb Festival preview for Disco Hospital, a one-to-one performance piece exploring HIV/AIDS and “a new queer shamanism,” and part of his MFA thesis at OCAD.
Now, Zealley returns with Safe and Sound, a new exhibition under the Disco Hospital banner and the culmination of his MFA practice. “Disco Hospital is an investigation of sound and non-Western healing practices glimpsed through the lens of queer theory and rhetoric,” he explains.
His work draws on his experiences collaborating with AA Bronson (of General Idea fame) on a project called School for Young Shamans. Of course, working on recurring themes isn’t the same as repeating yourself, and those who are familiar with Zealley’s work — perhaps through a one-to-one session at Rhubarb — will see something a little different at Safe and Sound.
“Coming from a sound background — film and television scoring, remixing, et cetera — this exhibition will be a surprise for many,” he says. “It consists of wall works, video, installation and performance.”
It also marks the launch of Zealley’s new publication, Faggots: A PSBEUYS Workbook. Zealley uses the word faggot to imply both the gay slur and its original meaning: a bundle of sticks.
“In my practice, the sticks are ritual ‘wands,’” he explains. “I gathered them in the woods during autumn equinox 2012. They are bound with leather and hemp twine and anointed with blood, ejaculate, bells and bobbles.”
Appropriately, Zealley’s show opens March 20, the vernal equinox. “I am generally interested in cycles of nature and have positioned many projects and audio releases on equitnox and solstice dates,” he says. “In this case, the first day of spring is, to me, an ideal calendar point to launch a project as well as to mark my return to regular life [versus student life]. It’s a new beginning.”