How Marcus Coates is Using Art to Help People (and Animals)
Best known for his shamanic performances, Marcus Coates channels the practices of ancient cultures to attempt to communicate between the human and animal worlds. Coates was introduced to shamanism during a weekend workshop in London, where chanting, drumming, and dream-catchers were used to access a psychic dimension. In his performance work—dressed in animal costume—Coates collects questions from individuals or groups, which he answers by communicating with the animal kingdom, invoking animal spirits through imagination and his unconscious. Coates also works with sculpture, photography, and video, in which he reimagines quotidian objects as exotic animals, such as in The Albatross Species, (2012) where 22 standard-sized scaffold boards are representative of the measure of the birds’ wingspans. In 2010, Coates traveled to the Amazon on behalf of a hospice patient to summon answers to his final questions from the natural world.
British, b. 1968