How can rituals guide, mislead or comfort us? For the second episode of our collaboration with The Couch*, Bea Xu’s piece EsƨƎ-1 invites us to follow the leader of an anthrax death cult. Made in collaboration with Markéta Skalková and formed by Xu’s research into melting permafrost, their work imagines a post-anthropocentric future where anthrax spores have become objects of fascination and obsession, containing magical properties, transforming skeletons into talismans and forests into autonomous actors against climate devastation. Together we delve into how the occult can provide tools to process extinction beyond nihilism, a means to navigate death in organic or organised ways and how rituals can engage with technological advancements, through both individual and collective means of relating to the planet.
This episode contains themes of death and suicide.
Bea Xu (they/she/it) is a Chinese-British world-builder, ritualist and psychic worker based in London. Using collaborative play, speculative fiction and therapeutic intervention they design and means-test integral, post-capitalist cosmologies with live participants and fellow LARPers. Bea's work can be seen as a narrative engagement with archetypal shadow - often foregrounding blood magic, decolonized time and non-binary logic with an EcoGothic focus.