I light my altar and fill the air with the scent of wood. Rocks, plastics, crystal glass, bits of steel and collected hair, rearranged to momentary satisfaction. Dripping wet, skin and wax. Baptized in the warm waters of the city. Purified, then spat out in uncanny clarity, falseness. In my fingers plastic cards turn in rhythmic motion, praying under the stars. A voice repeats herself over, and over…only love is allowed in.

There is a tradition in my family of excommunication, a ritual exclusion of one body from the body of Christ. Across Catholic and Protestant churches, spanning generations, many of us have chosen to define spirituality in our own terms. This performance of contrary belief has shaped my messy Midwestern worldview. So, sometimes I still go to that vantage point, I take communion, dressed in Christian drag.

I am staking out new holy spaces. I ornament wood, glass, plastics, and bits of steel in patterns and bodily forms meant to arouse. I invoke my lifelong obsession with sex and the nature of conception. Always something forbidden, enshrouded and exalted. I never stopped worshiping pleasure and that sacred fantasy.

The totems I make are fueled by positive obsession, something akin to addiction. My energy is rooted in the sensuality of my body. I’ve made altars out of etched mirrors, a sex toy out of a family heirloom, and a candle-lit lantern for the performance of prayer. My work connects me to my desire for dissident spirituality. The pleasure I take in making is heretical action. The material bodies I birth are indulgences in my plastic church.

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mikdonnell ︎