"Ferskt Kjøtt", Kurant, Tromsø 2014
Ritual remedy for felon, goat, sores and blisters found on fishers and artists.
1. Choose a small bowl
2. Apply the remedy to the wounded place, in stroking movements out and away from the body
3. Do NOT use the whole dosage of the remedy. Keep a small amount!
4. Empty your bowl into the big bowl.
5. The remaining leftovers must be poured back to nature. The artist will take care of this finalizing part of the
“Ritual remedy for felon, gout, sores and blisters found on fishers and artists" is an artwork based on an old herbal family recipe and my grandmother’s memories about the application methods conducted by her great-grandfather (“medicine Jacob” b.1875-d.1972 in Lofoten Islands). The remedy was made and presented as an interactive piece: the participating audience could apply the remedy and conduct the embodied rituals connected to it by following instructions given at site. Or trade what they wanted for one remedy-bottle of private ritual.
In the past, people of North Norway would often hide the fact that they used natural remedies. Secrecy surrounded participation in such practises as they were seen as sinful or in the more recent past “primitive” (a.k.a. stupid or simple minded). The practitioners did not know how other people would react or judge them and therefore kept silent. It could also be said that natural remedies were enhanced by secrecy and silence, as not wording gives more power or voices disagreement.
Silence. One fear amongst North Norwegians or Samis that had assimilated into being perceived as Norwegians, was that the majority Norwegian population would see that they had Sámi ancestry. Therefore, people would keep silent about having things or qualities that would be perceived as “Sámi”. Knowledge of plants for healing would be one such trait. In this silence there is a stronger power which somehow made some of the knowledges and stories able to survive or come bubbling up again in the future. Silent ancestry is the loudest ancestry.
The embodied ritual survived but the reason or the meaning behind it was not talked about loudly. Therefore my grandmother remembers seeing the application method and the most crucial aspect; throwing out the leftover medicine for it to take effect. Why back to nature is a mystery in which you can put your own thoughts. What you do not explain in words is what really holds meaning and power.
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