Concordia University

IMCAFEST



A one-week festival presenting a virtual gallery showcasing Intermedia studio arts students from Concordia University. A collaboration between Club IMCA and IMCA 400, the festival celebrates the works of students past and present as they near the end of their Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees.

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interviews

· philippe vandal

· haal 400
· heather c. vulgar
· alex apostolidis
· benni
· ley lortie
· vanessa moscato
· diego ramirez

acknowledgements


schedule


publication


clubimca video art screening


performance night


archive

(coming soon)


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CONTACT 
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05

Ley Lortie: The Blooming Witch


by vanessa moscato

Note by Ley: I initially started working on a different project for this exhibit, my upcoming: “Seasons of The Witch”, this is what this text is about. My pronouns were also only feminine then but I am now fluid with them.

I initially connected with Ley Lortie in a Performance Intervention class in 2019 at Concordia University in Montreal. Her work was informative, highlighting the spectrum of the LGTBQ+ community in The Spectrum Dictionary. In September 2020, Ley and I reconnected in one of our undergraduate degree's final classes in the Intermedia program. She expressed an interest in capturing images of nature and relating them to her Wicca practice, showcasing how moments in nature, rituals, and divinity coexist. As I've been reconnecting to my spirituality, I looked forward to learning more about her practice.

Ley has been studying Wicca since early 2019 on Imbolc. It is an ancient Celtic holiday celebrated on February 1st, representing healing and new beginnings – talk about synchronicity! She is "an eclectic, solitary, grey witch with heavy Wiccan inspiration, but also from many varied sources...solitary because (she) do(es) not have a coven, and grey because (she) perform(s) both white and black magic, though with (her) personal ethical code." Wicca’s primary code of ethics is "an it harm none, do what you will, which essentially implies karmic philosophies.

When asked about what interested her about Wicca, her response was complex and intriguing, stating, "Wicca is a mystery religion, and revelations come to you as you practice. I never thought I'd be spiritual in any way after rejecting Christianity, but this just made sense and called me". That intuitive response is what I'd love to bring awareness to in Ley's practice, as I very much work with intuition as well. There's something magical about how things come to you, as and when they are meant to. Ley finds the craft incredibly creative, stating that "it is art" and feels compelled to use this acquired knowledge and share it. "Making art is very personal for me. I communicate emotions, thoughts philosophies, and moments. And because it led my life back when I made work on mental health. The continuation of my self-development, and the emotions I have to share, are about the craft. I want to share what I have, to speak about it, and spread a love and respect for the earth", she says, expressin that the connection to nature is the basis of spirituality.

Perhaps due to its neo iterations in western societies, the misconceptions about Paganism sally the practice. As such, Ley finds herself researching documentaries of Paganism and its sub-categories to differentiate them from the "Salem witch trials." She reads instructional and educational books fro significant Wiccan figures such as Raymond Buckland and draws inspiration from Bill Viola. Similarly, Viola was brought up Christian and uses video in contemporary art as a tangible medium to express concepts of spirituality, existentialism, and theology, representing the invisible with raw imagery. In his
(and Michelangelo's) Life Death Rebirth 2019 exhibition, you can see how he integrates some of his beliefs in his works, suggesting embodied transformations and cycles with fire and water elements. In parallel, as Ley develops a framework to apply fundamental principles in building her craft, she choose to explore and merge nature and technology.

Ley documents her witchcraft rituals as they progress alongside the seasons. As most of us are stuck in our homes' during these virtual times, Ley steps out into the world and observes her surroundings, exploring spaces new and familiar in her hometown of St. Hubert. In preparation for this project series, Ley makes a list of things to do, helping her stay organized and accountable to her art. The
equipment used is her tripod, DSLR camera, and her environment. Through videos documenting rituals in and of nature, she captures some real witchcraft moments while living in unison with her practice.

In Seasons of the Witch, Part 1, there is a demonstration of the various cyclical reciprocities of life and simplistic actions in nature. Included are still shots of bees pollinating, and candles sparked to create light in dark spaces. An accumulation and flow of water, rustling leaves, and decomposing bodie demonstrate life and death. Her video includes beautiful shots of nature and ritual, with the lens in and out of focus, lending to the ever-changing interpretations of perspectives, some moments presentin clearer than others. Subtle environmental sounds tell a peaceful tale while the sun shines on fallen leaves as they change colour and move with the wind. The notable Canadian bird, the goose, is seen navigating the subtle waves of its habitat, congruently to the sedentary rocks anchored to the earth. The video ends with two birds, somewhat camouflaged by their environment, looking around, assessing thei surroundings and perhaps their next move.

Ley has given us the space to associate our connection to spirituality by including relatable imagery of the simple gifts of nature we have abstractedly encountered. She creates an overall sentiment of calmness throughout her video, where a wholesome connection demonstrates the cycleof life in conjunction with those in nature. Alongside Ley, I'm looking forward to experiencing the progressive evolution (of life) throughout the seasons as we cultivate our crafts.

Click here to read my full interview with Ley.