Rachel Holmes

Research project: The Language of Birds


Drawing from ethnobotanist Dale Pendell and anthropologist Eduardo Kohn to develop a methodology to represent beyond-human communication, in the mythopoetic tradition. Applying this to a semiotic construction of human and non-human relations, gauged in the "language of birds" – chance, fortune and pre-linguistic modes of communication, including dream. Identifying the body as the site of dreaming, and drawing from Georges Bataille to characterize the "lacerated body" as ritualistically cultured.

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


I am a Chinese/Irish artist, writer and doctoral candidate, with research interests in "anthropology beyond the human", ecstatic experience and anti-capitalist theory. I am influenced by forms of rejected knowledge including the occult as a feminist practice, dream theory, and animism. My interests are informed by my academic background in philosophy, and practices with visual arts, performance and creative writing.

Areas of research interest

  • Beyond Human Anthropology
  • Environmental Semiotics
  • Dream and body
  • Exclusion and alienation
  • Eduardo Kohn
  • Dale Pendell
  • Georges Bataille


  • 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.