COME TO CHURCH
Come to Church is a performative art piece that explores the harm of ableism and the mental consequences of abuse and stigma in an autistic individual. Brennen Cabrera (along with his shadow self Dimitri Bellrock) expressed his overstimulation to an audience of neurotypicals, neurodiverse, and ableists as an act of protest and education to the toxic structures.
Brennen Cabrera (Dimitri Bellrock) covered in filth and wearing a black robe enters a church-like environment of found objects, flooded in red light, and rumbling sound from speakers shaking the entire space. The audience present was neurodiverse and neurotypical. Dimitri sits in a tire that represents a pulpit, pulls out a microphone, and reads a bizarre, disorganized, and emotionally fluctuating sermon. The lights soon start to pulsate and change colors. This sermon confessed sins Brennen is sorry for along with so-called sins he is not sorry for. It also recalled ableist situations as well as mental and physical abuse he has found himself in while also mentioning his disgust with what he sees in the media and the harm to people in his life. Lastly, he mixes neurodiversity information, grief, and bouts of what looks to be a rageful and rebellious mentality against the harmful structures.
Brennen ends the sermon with the lord’s prayer and unrobes. The noise gets louder and the lights start pulsating quicky, dark to light, warm white to cold white. He lifts up the tire and rolls it away and proceeds to walk down a chainlink aisle to undulled barbed wire and a rope. He picks up the barbed wire and wraps it around his eyes, puts the rope around his shoulders, and walks back down the aisle to canvas in front of him. The canvas he confronts is covered in ableist dialogue. He dips the rope in fake blood, whips his back, and returns the blow to the canvas leaving a print. He does this over and over. Lashes seem flimsy at first but pick up. After spending time with the rope, he pulls out an electric wire from behind the canvas and starts back to flagellating. He switches between the two multiple times. The barbed wire came loose during the routine which heightened the risk. The rope started getting caught and at one point pulled at the wire making it twist around Brennen’s eyes.
At midnight he ceased beating and transferring, stood up, and walked back down the aisle covered in blood and half of his head and neck in a spiral spiked metal cage.
Special thanks to:
Documentation: Bill French (Photography) and Karlos Dickerson (Phone Video)
Lighting and Sound Control: Mags Fitzmaurice