Sunday, October 21, 2007

She thought the sea.

She began.

Ogun jí (Ogun wakes up.)

He visioned songbirds.

He stopped a war. He opened ceremony.

She thought the sea.

She moved the road.

She danced.


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The floor of ceremony

still from earth puts on a mask (2007)

Maya Deren created a film with the dancer Talley Beatty in 1945. She first called it: ‘A study in choreography for the camera’, but renamed it ‘Pas de deux’ (step of two) because she considered the camera to be a partner in the dance:

This is the form I have always been interested in, camera as partner. As crossroads, as the floor of ceremony, full of traces and tracings. As colored people we have such complicated relationships to the camera. The taking, the shooting, the cataloguing. Tracking and surveillance.

I first began my journey as an artist as a photographer. I was interested in how to make photographs of people who lived before 1839 (the discovery of photography), how to photograph ancestral memory and deep knowledge.

from Woman who thinks she is Bird Woman (1999)

All begins with the body. The place where everything is infinitely embedded, the history of the world, politics, geography, crossings and returns. I was making glass negatives of spirits and stories, a kind of evidence, a way to talk about my visions, a way to mark history as I know it.

from Crossroads/Blood Diary/Medicine Bag (1999)

So I return to the camera, my partner, my dancer, my floor. Here are four works made in Spain and Austin (‘the return’ and 'infinite return'). (Of course, I stitched as well, but more on that soon!)

belongings and marks

earth puts on a mask

infinite return (bird on the sun)

And the sketches/poems that gave birth to the films, entitled:

456 fathoms the color of the horizon line
611 fathoms the color of the sea at night
with 305 fathoms the color of brown bodies
80 fathoms of Ogun’s colors
97 fathoms the reflection of clouds in water
92 my grandmother’s sunset
435 blood and the earth on the island of Santo Domingo
539 red sun

hold them
hold them
hold them
hold them
it is the sea it is mountains it is the sea
fathoms of black bodies
and two suns
i am carrying two
our world has two
i have drawn them this way
like that hold them hold them
hold them
drawings them sea them
mountains now crawling
am drawing
is moving
black bodies on the page
i cannot even imagine the falling
but your drawing
brings spirits into the room
and they
is moving
hold them hold them hold them
while suns are rising
while these bundles explode
you feel that drawing on your face?
it is the sea it is mountains it is the sea
it is your drawing we are dancing
this drawing
am drawing
am sea
am mountains
and we are wrapping
these two suns
hold them
hold them hold them

my belly drags
i have been pulling
across foothills
but the mountain is too close
my son so close
and where the horizon
covered by a woman on the street
shouting these people these people
this is how they are that is how they smell
how loud how dark how pushing
never want to wait in line
how they move they move
they move
this message in my hand
i am watching the horizon for my son
for a boat on the line of purple
it’s the wood of a boat
folded on the horizon
no it didn’t look like him in the paper
it’s a bird on the horizon
it didn’t look like him
a folded bird
folded crumpled in my hand
black and smelling
it is the wood of boatmakers
wood rotting
folded like that in the paper

flies incessantly cross my body
they tasting my sweat
dirt removed anoche
a big red ant is coming for me
bites edges of chancletas
skin is skin
she is coming for me
this ancestor is angry
she wants to tear my flesh
and spit it out
to rid me of ghosts i am carrying
she keeps asking why how
how whoever who
finds you crossing that desert
who whoever
has told you we haven’t made crossings already and who

back back drummers

who whoever
and you don’t
cruzamos como siempre
cruzamos como porque
ese dictador ya esta muerto
and and
we have made cities of people
of people
and people
who whoever

these flies will not leave my skin
and i am crossing
he burned but i am crossing
porque es lo mio
mi cuerpo
es lo mio lo que moscas
mark traverse forget
es lo mio
sudando quemando sudando

am sea sea
am hands
am threads am earth against earth
am drawings am women
how i always how this
how black my ghosts my drummers
on and on
one palomita ay
palomita ay palomita
these flies
these why
are born
but the flies

and her question?
¿com es diu això en català?
¿on li fa mal?
no it doesn’t hurt
she asked how is your work sacred
y te dijé

am sea sea
am hands am mountains
threads drawings
how this how black my drummers
volando volando
there are thorns and flies in catalunya
and las canarias and gibraltar and and
and serrated mountains and

incessant witnesses are coming for me
there are drummers coming for me