Podcast edit by Reon Cordova.

Witchcraft made Science with Anna McCarthy

This podcast is part of the Witchcraft made Science series, a collaboration with curator Lieke Wouters. In this podcast, we approach the witch as a stereotype as well as a new feminist icon. Making space for the spiritual, the scientific and the sceptical aspects of witchcraft, all seen from an artistic lens. In this episode, we welcome artist and researcher Anna McCarthy.

Anna McCarthy is known for her interdisciplinary, collaborative, and also often humorous, poetic as well as political approach. The artist studied at the Kingston University of Art & Design London, the Akademie der bildenden Künste München and at the Glasgow School of Art. Her works have been exhibited internationally, including at the Haus der Kunst, D-0 ARK Underground, Kunstverein Göttingen, Kunstbau im Lenbachhaus, Goethe University Frankfurt and the Schaustelle Pinakothek der Moderne. In 2019/2020 she taught as a substitute professor at the Akademie der bildenden Künste München and in 2020 received the USA Scholarship of the Bavarian Ministry for Science and Art. Anna McCarthy also plays in the bands MOON NOT WAR and WHAT ARE PEOPLE FOR?

We talk with her about her performance IT’S A STAKE STRIKE, which took place in 2021 during GLOBAL ANGST, part of the Spielart Theater Festival in Munich.

As the grand finale of GLOBAL ANGST, Anna McCarthy staged a radical abstract opera to tame the world’s fears. By igniting the global Angst wicker man with a closing ceremony that manifests new shapes from the fire, symbolically countering its initially destructive nature and often ritualistic affiliations to bigotry (be it witch hunts, book burning or the Ku Klux Klan), Anna McCarthy reclaimed it as an element for replenishment and rebirth. In a theatrical and musical rendition, she took on the persona of Lucy Strike to call out the wicker man to honour current and past victims of bigotry.

Sources: Anna McCarthy, Spielart


00:00:00 Introduction / 00:02:00 GLOBAL ANGST / 00:05:10 Lucy Strike / 00:07:40 Rebellion / 00:08:25 Personal fears in wax / 00:10:00 About the witch / 00:12:00 About the people and things named in the performance / 00:17:40 Emotional performance / 00:22:00 Aftermath. / 00:25:00 Outro

The audio in the podcast is of the performance IT’S A STAKE STRIKE:

Idea | Text Anna McCarthy Musical direction Manuela Rzytki With Susanne Beck, Antenne Danger, Charlotte Huber, Luzi Illustrella, Veronica Katta, Lily Nicklaß, Paulina Nolte, Anton Kaun a.k.a. Rumpeln, Paula Pongratz, Andreas Pöschl & Köşk-Chor Wicker Man Jörg Besser

Listen to the performance here.

Further reading and links

Susilaben and Kamlaben

Witches from Munich

Oury Jalloh