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The First Ritual Retreat on the Viability of Kidnapping

Performance by Betsy Johnson and Ruby T

Saturday, August 26, 2017

One night only!

Video, courtesy of Betsy Johnson

Mansion Rug Liberation Network (MRLN) and Versus Verses (VSVS) invite you and your most allegiant comrades-in-arms to the First Ritual Retreat on the Viability of Kidnapping. Wrapped up in each other’s wrath, MRLN and VSVS host our first public conference, probing the anatomy of kidnapping as a paramilitary organizing technology.

As militantly erotic, erotically militant attendees of this salacious retreat, you will refine your counter-domination skills, using ritual and poetry to access your body and mobilize your spirit. Founding members of MRLN and VSVS will lead you through workshops and lectures such as “Lethal Verses,” “Eat, Pray, Kill: A Nail Art Tutorial,” “Authority-Enhancing Somatics,” and “Why Kidnapping? Why Now?”

Through a comprehensive program of workshops, panel discussions, and tactical trainings, you’ll learn how to become an actual threat to the Matrix of Domination and all of its attendant Evils, all while building community!

Cultivate a sacred space for reigniting (y)our carnal rage! Expand (y)our capacity to menace!! Learn to leverage like a PRO!!!!


Mansion Rug Liberation Network aka MRLN is a rug-based bristerhood using carpet samples, knives, and a greco-roman/ pinterest.com inspired tile inlay process to make moodboard target maps. With these instrumental floor ornaments, we ritually strike and covet the home spaces of the slimiest politicians, CEOs, and junkbond traders in America. We often get sidetracked by doing our nails, taking valerian-infused baths, making out, talking, drinking wine, and eating popcorn. In the evenings we experiment with objectum-oriented candle-lit circles and haircuts. Sometimes we make a potion in our Keurig 2.0 but then we have to troubleshoot it :( :(

Versus Verses is a burgeoning, underground organization for die-hard Queers with rock-hard, anti-domination politics. Queers who mean business about uprooting Business’s means! Queers who DEMAND the drastic rewiring of the social mind/body! Queers passionate about impassioning the masses to detonate their indifference to global power and oppression!

VSVS is UNFLINCHINGLY devoted to poetry. Our membership is dedicated to shifting the current, massively exploitative paradigm through ACTIONS that provoke our hostages and the public at large to think poetically, to evolve into the poets that will save us all. We are finding ways to weaponize poetry in order to dissolve the world order that strangles the economically and socially vulnerable. We are mobilizing the dormant poets among us. We will use any means necessary to kill the apathy that has killed us for too long! WE MUST NOT STOP UNTIL THEY STOP! AND THINK!

Betsy Johnson, a maker of texts, performances, videos, and objects, is a second-year MFA candidate at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

The pleasures and agonies of queer embodiment, which continuously slide over, through, and away from each other, generate the friction(s) that drive Betsy’s practice. Recent work responds to the sensations of certain doom circulating within the progressive Left. Proposing speculative world-making, listening, poetry-writing, and empathy as urgent political strategies, this work poses questions about the validity of optimism and hope as forms of resistance. Betsy is currently developing a treatise on elision.

Ruby T is an artist based in Chicago. Her work is an experiment in translating fantasy into reality, and she is fueled by anger, desire, and magic. Through drawing, collage, and object-making, she investigates the stimulating, banal, and often infrastructural as sites of power and exchange: nightclubs, domestic appliances, google image search results, broadcast news, brutalist architecture, sex.

Ruby graduated in 2016 with an MFA from SAIC and has shown work at Chicago venues including the Back Room at Kim’s Corner Foods, Ballroom Projects, Hyde Park Art Center, ACRE, EXPO, Roman Susan, Chicago Filmmakers, Chicago Alternative Comics Expo, Woman Made Gallery, and Plaines Project, with a forthcoming two-person exhibition at Roots & Culture in Chicago. For more information visit rubyt.net.

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