Pastoral Spirit, 2008

Performance at All Hallows Church, London
Photography by Michael Smythe and Joseph Ramirez
Commissioned and produced by Wallspace

Client: Members of the public

Location: All Hallows Church, London, UK

Questions:
When will my success come?
Will my parents die unhappy?
How can we raise our children peacefully when we’re surrounded by violence in the world and the media?
What’s more important: a sense of duty or a life of fulfillment?
Is the safe way the better one?

A series of rituals in the church were performed, accompanied by a choir rehearsed in animal vocal mimicry. Each ritual was undertaken in search of an answer to a single question proposed by a member of the audience. Following each ritual phase, Coates went up into the pulpit and delivered his response, describing the journeys he made and the animals he encountered during the ritual. The experiences of these encounters formed the basis for an interpretation / answer to each question. The questions and answers were written up on a flip chart.

Instructions for the choir