Publisher: Platform Projects
Journey to the Lower World is a shamanic performance by Marcus Coates. The book features Coates' DVD, photographs by Nick David and writings by Alec Finlay, Mark Wallinger and JJ Charlesworth.
Featured in British Art Show 6, the film Journey to the Lower World received national coverage.
"...Joseph Beuys would have loved Marcus Coates's film Journey to the Lower World"
Adrian Searle, The Guardian, 27 September 2005
Marcus Coates documents his recent attempt to engage the mystical and transformative power of Shamanic ritual to assist the tenants of Liverpool's Linosa Close, a 24-storey council tower block scheduled for demolition. With their homes condemned, Coates asked a group of residents to participate with him in a recreation of a Siberian Tuvak Shaman ritual, so that animal spirits, via the medium of the artist, might offer them guidance for the uncertain times to come. Journey to the Lower World is an album of words and images reflecting on human and animal consciousness in the contemporary world -- how ancient forms of knowledge, healing and spirituality are adapted to fill a void.
He has insistently considered our relationship to nature: where in previous projects he has adopted the techniques of scientific observation. Drumming and dancing his way into a trance, Coates attempts to channel information from the spirits of the animals he attempts to commune with, hoping to assume the powers of the traditional Shaman.Journey is an album of words and images reflecting on human and animal consciousness - how we
adapt ancient forms of knowledge, healing and spirituality to fill a void in the contemporary world.
Marcus Coates has insistently considered our relationship to nature - where in previous projects he adopted the techniques of scientific observation in Journey he embodies the role of the 'shaman'. The project is a colourful collision of life in a working class Liverpool Tower block and new age spirituality: Journey treads a fine line between pathos and bathos. It is touching because it has enacted the fears and vulnerability of audience, which are real enough if ultimately unknowable, and finds its own strange way to an image of hope for them to take away.