The Sacred Categories

Patricia Sazani

April - June 2016


As a Wolfman Art Machine resident, multi-genre artist and writer, Patricia Sazani worked on a project based on her massive, ongoing, speculative world-building-art-project. The residency culminated in a gorgeous edition of drawings and imprints, The Sacred Categories: A Handbook for Organizing Religious Experience, in collaboration with Wolfman Editions.


Artist statement

My art practice involves building worlds and then living in them and making art from the inside. For years now I have inhabited a world built around a fictional sect of Christianity based on the writings of logician and philosopher Charles Sanders Pierce, and inspired by Shaker and Mormon history. I spend most of my time in this world with a group of women that act as spiritual mediums in their community— or, in the Shaker tradition, instruments, who spend their days receiving visions from God in the form of poetry, song, drawing, and dance; discussing experimental methods of religious education; and interpreting scripture.

The framework of this universe allows me to imagine and engage with concepts that are otherwise closed to me: encounters with the divine, moments of conversion, the ways that faith plays out in the daily lives of believers. I am interested in how these experiences are narrated, in the relationship between religion, language, and representation, in the productive power of religious language—that is, moments when language induces belief.

About patricia sazani

Patricia Sazani is from Lompoc, California, and currently lives in Oakland. Her past jobs include teaching math to art students and collecting oral histories from beekeepers. Recent unpaid ventures include perfume-smelling, scooter-riding, and swimming. She is interested in architecture, land use, and botany, but somehow her art always ends up being about religion instead. She likes to imagine a future for herself that includes all of these things: land, art, teaching, stories, scooters.