Marina Tomić: Repairing Social Wounds - On Performance, Shamanism, and Healing

Independent reviewer: Erin La Cour

Enschede, 2009


The moment of entering the performance for the artist and the spectator can have a transformative effect on both individual and communal trauma. At the intersection of performance, shamanic ritual, and the process of healing, the following text considers how artists can affect both individual and societal trauma. One of the first recognizable examples of the relationship shared between performance and the process of healing trauma is evident in the ritual practices of shamanic tribal society. The shamanic belief in the healing effects of group rituals was used as a metaphor by performance artists during the 1960’s and 1970’s, who sought to address the social struggles experienced by humanity during the 20th century. The works of Joseph Beuys and Lygia Clark will be discussed as prime examples of how the process of healing social trauma can be achieved through performance, objects, lectures, and transformation of the spectator.