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  • NOVEMBER 10, 2015


Moments during the Performance & Installation at the BIEA.

Hi guys, the last weeks have been kinda crazy, what? Right after the Installation and Performance at the BIEA, (British Institute East Africa) on the 24th I left for France to continue with "Body talk”. I am now am on my to IWALEWAHAUS- Bayreuth for My "MY MOTHER'S MOTHER installation.

THAT ASIDE... I wanted to share with you some moments I had during my performance & Installation piece - COUNTER ACTION (I) at the BIEA's Remains, Waste and Metonymy: A critical intervention into art/scholarship

When I first laid down in the earth, it took my body a while to settle -- the soil was cold on my palms and I didn’t expect it -- at one point an insect crawled down my chest – then, after a I while I didn’t feel it any more. Later on, either the same insect or a new one crawled on my chest, behind my neck, and slowly down my back. I couldn’t feel it after my shoulder blades. We are so used to moving constantly, so I didn't realize what it takes to lie absolutely still.

The first instant I closed my eyes it took a moment for the colour behind my eyelids to settle. I found rhythms that my breathing synchronized: the light of the projector which kept changing; small noises like people mumbling, or a chair scraping against floor. In my trance, the smallest noises became really loud – I jumped out of my skin when I heard them.

I became absolutely still. My body began waking up to strange sensations: At one point I felt my left elbow had somehow detached from my arm and my head had twisted into my shoulder – even though I knew my body was straight.

Deep breathing calmed me and helped me hold onto the trance's rhythm. As the trance grew deeper, my body "sank". When Sam Derbyshire, Sam Hopkins, and Alex Dyzenhaus spoke, I felt as if the soil had completely swallowed me. Not in a suffocating way: more a comforting immersion-- cocooning is probably a better way of describing it.

I opened my eyes for the first time. The room felt really empty and clear. But I felt trapped--The moment became unreal and I felt the need to peel off a layer of armour – to allow myself to become more vulnerable. I sat up: I tried removing the fake nails (which are still stuck on!). Next, I went for the wig: I knew it was a big cover for energy flowing into my head. Then the lipstick... the false eyelashes... the stocking cap on my head. Finally, the shoes. Stripped of all my armor, I returned to my meditation.

My body felt suspended in the air-- it rotated clockwise and counter-clockwise. It shook me. Yet, I let go of the fear in this feeling and dived into it. I stayed in this state as long as I could. In that moment my mind turned off and I felt an instant of pure sensation. I emerged from the earth feeling blessed to create ideas which become reality. I felt blessed with understanding that life and people are deeply beautiful.

Special thanks to BIEA team, as always Damaris, Joost and Neo for all our long jam sessions– all the soil carriers – you know who you are! It was very cool to be part of this and share space with the projects of Sam Derbyshire, Annie Pfingst and Sam Hopkins.

Images © Eric Gitonga