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Weekender Lab: Ron Athey

Ron Athey. Photo by Rachel Papo

10.30am-5.30pm both days. £60. This weekender is now sold out and the waiting list full. Please note that we can only offer refunds up to two weeks before the Weekender Lab.

Working with hypnotist Michele Occelli and collaborator Hermes Pittakos, this Weekender explores parts of Ron Athey’s practice and theory which parallel the aims of Georges Bataille’s Secret Society of Acéphale. How, at the absence of God, do we create new celebrations? How with lingering curses and restrictions, can we fight magic with magic?

Over the weekend, participants use automatic writing, hypnotism, as well as Ron’s own practices of word virus, mouthing off, channeling hysteria and dialectics of the sublime to create narratives, movement scores and choreographic practices. Using the tools of make-up, masking and prosthetics, participants workshop the development of their own fantastical persona informed by Ron’s creation, the Acéphalous Monster.

About Ron

Ron Athey is an iconic cultural figure who started in performance in the early 1980s in context of L.A.’s underground music scene as a duo with Rozz Williams of Christian Death. In 1990 during the AIDS pandemic, he started showing individual and group works at art spaces like LACE, PS122, Highways, Randolph Street Gallery, and ICA London. Three major works comprising The Torture Trilogy were AIDS memorials about the nature of healing—tapping into the historical archetypes of religious painting and deity worship. The content of this work looked at the dead at what healing could be. These works toured worldwide throughout the 1990s, with themes such as Christian martyr saints, putting forth philosophical questions about the nature of identity, and questioning the limits of artistic practice. A monograph of his output was published in 2013: “Pleading in the Blood”, edited by Dominic Johnson.

In November 2018 he premiered a new solo work in PSNY’s Posthuman series, “Acephalous Monster,” inspired by the Georges Bataille-led secret society of Acephale, a group of intellectuals that were using magic ritual to unseat fascism. A new collaborative work premieres December 1, 2018 with Cassils and Arshia Fatima Haq at the Biosphere 2, entitled cyclic, presented by MOCA Tucson.

You can let us know your access requirements ahead of time by emailing



Date and time

26–27 October 2019

Please note
This is now a past event.


Toynbee Studios
28 Commercial Street
London, E1 6AB
Tel: 020 7247 5102
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