Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Soundings, Seams and Visual Sonics

Soundings is born from my deep amazement at how we walk in this world. Maferefún Ana-Maurine Lara, Samiya Bashir, Leigh Gaymon-Jones, Kiyana Horton, Amanda Johnston and Senalka McDonald for the beautiful beginnings.

In a few weeks I travel to Miami to do the third performance of Soundings. It’s a public visual performance installation that speaks about memory, history and power as located in the black female body. I have visioned the piece to happen in multiple locations: Brazil, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Nigeria, the United States and on a ship crossing the Atlantic (yes, breathe.....). I am forever in search of the threads, connections and in creating physical evidence of our existence, our power, the movements of our bodies in the world, the mark, the vévé. The performances are all videotaped—the camera is another witness. Eventually the geographies will meet as multi-channel videos that reveal the complete visual sonics: fathoms, seams, syncopation (mother of dissonance?).

I began this project almost two years ago and thought it might quietly disappear as I have felt unsure about the language I am looking for—how do we access collective deep knowledge and then make that physical? I return to the performers to understand the piece. Sometimes we need other people to remember for us. Carole tells me that the work is about connecting that space of erasure between Africa and the Americas. She says, “I’m the summation of what came before me so that I can be here today.” And how to visualize that summation?

What does it look like when you know ‘You are’?

Another performer reminds me that the seams are important.
How to include these?

Performers are asked to 'describe the color of your deepest power'. I create 'fathoms' of these colors.