Sarah Schönfeld’s work Shamanistic Travel Equipment/Coats employs printed cowhides to make reference to shamanistic practices of traveling to other realms. The shaman’s coat is a fundamental tool for the journey, which affords encounters with other states of consciousness, entities, realities, and rules. The shaman’s helping spirits are painted or sewed onto the coat; they are intended to assist the traveler with orientation and navigation through other dimensions. The artist combines myths and cosmologies from indigenous cultures with references to today’s technologies, space exploration, and works of science fiction.
The contemporary helping spirit appears as technology. In the process, Schönfeld alludes to Brazilian theoretician and anthropologist Eduardo Viveiros de Castro, who refers to shamanism as “cosmic diplomacy” and holds that the relationship and between nature and culture and the concepts themselves must be rethought.