Rachel Holmes

Research project: The Language of Birds: Lucky Rituals and Nature


Drawing from Dale Pendell's work on chance, and his ‘ecological' methodology concerned with the divination of signs, and the signifying practices of non-human creatures I describe beyond-human and inter-species communication as the 'language of birds', represented as pre-linguistic and instinctive modes of communication, including signification. I thereby generate an aesthetic theory of omens or 'lucky signs' produced by sentient ecologies, and apprehended through ritual practice, which enacts Georges Bataille's conception of sovereign communication, trickery, and 'living myth' in 'The Sorcerer's Apprentice', and Friedrich Nietzsche's description of divinatory intoxication in 'The Birth of Tragedy'. I investigate the status of ritual as 'the mother of culture' whose creative media is social reality, and its capacity for integrating the exiled and invisible. 

  • Research degree: PhD
  • Title of project: The Language of Birds: Lucky Rituals and Nature
  • Other research supervisor: Dr Daniela Perazzo


I am a Chinese/Irish artist, writer and doctoral candidate, with research interests in 'anthropology beyond the human'. My interests are informed by my academic background in philosophy, and practices with visual arts, ritual performance, and creative writing.

Areas of research interest

  • Philosophy of Luck
  • Social Ecology
  • Semiosis
  • Theory of religion
  • Posthumanism
  • Dale Pendell
  • Georges Bataille
  • Friedrich Nietzsche


  • MRes: Art, Theoy & Philosophy (Distinction) from Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London
  • BSc: Philosophy, Logic & Scientific Method (Honours) from London School of Economics

Funding or awards received

  • TECHNE studentship for doctoral study
  • Nordic Culture Point (2019)
  • Nordic Culture Fund (2018-2019)


Holmes, Rachel (2021) The Crow: Nameless Ones of the Dream Zone. In: Connole, Edia and Shipley, Gary, (eds.) Acéphale and Autobiographical Philosophy in the 21st Century: Responses to the "Nietzsche event". London, UK : Schism Press. pp. 125 - 150. ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 979-8524109163

Holmes, Rachel Adeline (2021) The Butterfly Dream. Glasgow, UK : Death of Workers Whilst Building Skyscrapers Press.