Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Following you here...

Ife Head Lands (still from performance video)

It has been a day of starts and stops. And so I am looking for the connections, the lines and the drawings these lines might possibly become. Yoruba creation myths talk about how we choose our journeys in life, all important events like our own births and deaths, and parents and other major markers and then we must touch the tree of forgetfulness just before we are born. We walk this journey to prove that we have chosen a good path in life. Elegua indeed. There must be a drawing in here somewhere.

I made a new performance video ‘Ife Head Lands’ and burned two copies of the dvd. Two. Today I realize that there may only be two copies in existence forever as I seem to have lost the files into the netherworld of my computer. Is it possible to reconstruct the film in exactly the same way again? It will be an almost-identical twin the second time around. Or maybe not a twin at all. These themes in the work take on a life of their own. A face painted to look like an Ife Head is a way to understand the artifact and the person that came before. And then I suppose the artifact has something to say. I found and it found me. This dance choreographs itself into my body and onto the landscape of paper that surrounds me. Sometimes I want to give away all these creations so that I can start fresh, clean, clear.

But it’s impossible. They always find you. I prayed at the ocean in Miami this spring, thinking I am not ready for all these stories that wake me at 5, 4, 3am. The message was something I should have known already, ‘be thankful for the stories that come to you.’ This breath is a responsibility, this body. The air can pull you to your knees, make you change directions open doors close doors open doors.

Astrologer Anne Ortelee says we are in a time of double negatives. So the unexpected two doors closing is actually an opening. But breathe first. And we are supposed to be writing down our dreams for insight. Last night I remember dreaming about an email that said: Following you here has been becoming. Is it a clue? Or not not a clue? From the same friend who told me ‘I love being around black people’ one evening in Jamaica. I hear that in my core, knowing I have felt that before on the island of Santo Domingo, that specific sensation of my own weight in the world, past and future. It is something that the land absorbs, that is etched so that our very existence resounds, booms. And the sound is deep house. I have never had that, heard that here in the same all-encompassing way. It is deep knowledge.

Like Tisa Bryant’s Autodidact: “Self-knowledge is a disavowal of contested spaces, elbowing a way in. Back door! Disremembering, unremembering as a reasonable response to trauma: either I don’t remember feeling anything about not seeing myself in every book I opened, or I just realize I wasn’t (supposed to be) there. But we look at each other, and know, you and we, are here, and here, and here.”

Following you here has been becoming. As in the drawing has been happening for a long time now? As in when you find it, it will have been waiting for you? They found you here? They did not not find you here. Yes, we looked at each other.

You, me, twin dvds, Ife Heads, what I found when they found me. The body is the axis, mine, yours, not not ours, the weight of it, the drawing of it, the becoming and the sound of doors open doors close doors open.

Jump at 3am

Jump (detail)

Annelize Machado and Surabhi Kukke as Ife Heads
in the workshop performance of Incidents at the Two Two Hotel
at Co-Lab, Austin, TX. 2009

The beginnings in the Co-Lab studio