Witches generate power, or energy, with their bodies as they move and chant within a ritual circle in the form of a cone. This is known as the Cone of Power. The energy from this cone can be directed to cause change—in other words, to work magic.
Cone of Power is a dance film created during the last hours of Witch Hunt (2021), an international group exhibition organized by the Hammer Museum and Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (ICA LA). Beginning in a circle inspired by the Skyclad ritual, dancers slowly splinter out to interact with artist Lara Schnitger’s sculptural installation, Warts and All (2021). Dancers crawl and weave through the sculptures, whispering slogans, brandishing flags, and reciting chants. A single light bulb hangs in the center of the space, signaling a twilight time between the magic and the real—a witching hour. Ritualistic movement, incantation, and shadow play immerse the viewer in a nether world of mystery, magic, and transformation.
Choreographer Kitty McNamee takes inspiration from Schnitger’s distinctive sculptural concepts, blurring the line between live dancers and dancing sculptures. Sound by folk/punk musician Cathy Cooper used text pulled from the sculptures to compose an intimate and eerie soundscape. Dancers Augustine, Kat Chang, Kenzie McClure, Maija Knapp, and Raymond Ejiofor represent the North, South, East, and West of our rich global community. They converge to deliver a kinetic ritual of hope and protection.
Cone of Power was supported as part of the Dutch Culture USA program by the Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York, the Mondriaan Fund, and the Henry Moore Foundation.
Director: Lara Schnitger
Choreographer: Kitty McNamee
Dancers: Augustine, Kat Cheng, Raymond Ejiofor, Maija Knapp, Kenzie McClure
Wise Woman: Cathy Cooper
Director of Photography: Meeno
Editor: Lori Lovoy-Goran
Composer: Cathy Cooper
2nd Camera: Mattie Montaigu
Producers: Lara Schnitger and Kitty McNamee
Production assistant: Tingri Monahan
Sculpture: Lara Schnitger
Lara Schnitger (Born in the Netherlands. Lives and works in Los Angeles)
With a background in the performing arts and a fascination with fashion and DIY culture, sculptor Lara Schnitger has explored the vast possibilities of textiles through painting, sculpture, installation, and costuming. Beginning with abstract experiments in the 1990s, Schnitger’s individual sculptures increasingly became distinct characters, sometimes suggestive of demons, ghosts, and goddesses rooted in stories with themes of metamorphosis, divinity, decay, and sadomasochism. Other sculptures are inspired by topical issues, incorporating slogans and titles that refer to grassroots feminist social movements, both historical and contemporary, and current news related to women’s issues. The figures are hoisted up on large wooden dowels to stand erect or lean against the wall. The wooden armature is often visible beneath translucent fabrics whose concurrent strength and fragility embody a type of femininity and a state of dressing and undressing.