(today's writing is from an email to a friend)
This place is amazing. It welcomes me in deep, perhaps unexpected ways. It's a sense of belonging that I also feel in San Francisco but of course much deeper here, a longer connection though at the same time so recent. I spent last weekend with my family--sister and brothers--and it was quite lovely. I miss them today, the constant company and laughter is really quite amazing. It's so interesting to feel like such a person of solitude and independence and at the same time like I feel much energy from being around other people. It is a strange realization, to know my own solitude and ability to be alone and to feel longing of company. I feel so lucky to be in this flat. It is spacious and my room is sunny and we are around a courtyard (of sorts) so it feels totally peaceful to come home and do work when I need to, or when I feel I've had enough of these moving, breathing, muddy streets.
The ideas are pouring out of my head and heart and I am excited for what's to come. People say that life is art here but I also believe that there is another place for art. That art allows us to remove from the everyday (even when life and art are so connected). Art is always something more, something just outside, on the edge. I have gone dancing a few times and feel (surprisingly so) that this is where I must spend much of my time. Dancing all night at a bachelor party (one of 3 women there) was the most incredible experience. I would normally (in the US) feel so unsafe at a party with all men drinking, etc. It was truly magical. To feel completely free in my body and protected, taken care of, sexy, moving, awkward and at the same time absolutely perfect. Such a gift. I went with my housemate who is a fulbrighter. She's a white jewish girl--not important except for the fact that i felt/realized it was not important...my u.s. race, racial, racist experiences and defenses come down in lovely ways. How do we fully escape the experience of racism in order to be more fully human ourselves while also acknowledging what is real in the world? My housemate requested a dancehall song from the dj in the midst of some fast moving music; there was a pause from the crowd packed into the garage, a brief silent moment at the party when the music unexpectedly changes, and then an almost audible sound of joy as we immediately shifted our moves to match the rhythm. There is a generosity here that is unparalleled.
Being mixed, of two cultures, races (so-called) I find myself moving between, around perspectives so much. I met an artist last night from Abidjan. She is doing an installation at the CCA and staying here for a few days. We spoke in English and French. My very broken French from high school emerged. It's incredible what the body remembers. It was kind of a spiritual experience for me talking with her. She is also mixed (from Cote d'Ivoire and France) and we've had some similar, perhaps parallel realizations about life, energy, destiny, one's path in life. She was talking about how in high school she realized life is made up of three points: the positive, the negative and the point where you perceive that you are. And that perception can always change depending on the mind. Ha! I had this feeling when we were speaking like, are we really here in the room together, or are we floating in space with this imagined architecture of table, chairs, floor, air coming off the fan, generator hum. She said, Africa is the future of the world, everything is here. She spoke about being black in France and white in Africa. I know this word in French, 'Ironie'.
I am making a list of performances I want to do in Lagos. This includes:
Walking down the street on stilts
Running down the road blindfolded (from a Guillermo Gomez-Pena exercise)
Flying at the ocean