Saturday, 18 of January of 2020

Basking in Barcelona

Greetings from Barcelona. I’m here to present my work on Sonic Walks at the International Federation for Theatre Research Conference. Today is the day. I’m on a panel called Memory and Ecologies of Hope at 5:30pm. I’m looking forward to it but I must admit it is a bit daunting listening to academics prattling on in a shared coded language. I have always considered myself a practitioner, an artist. I’ll be laying out the theoretical ground my work rests on and I’ll be describing the work and talking about people’s responses.

It has been an amazing journey and I am privileged to walk with some formidable women. My supervisor Honor Ford-Smith, for instance, is on this panel. Her work links memory and violence. Heather Hermant’s work is about her journey to recovering the story of a historical character who took on multiple identities in order to survive and Nayani Thiyagarajah will speak of her work on creating an intergenerational intercultural dialogue with the women of her family.

So far, the conference has been amazing. I was blown away by its sheer size. Hundreds of people from all over the world have come together to share their wrok. I’ve met artists and scholars from the Caribbean, Europe, North America, Africa and Asia.

So far one of the highlights for me was in as session on Choreography and Corporeality yesterday where Thomas F. DeFrantz spoke about African American social dance as an Afrofuturist space. What I understood from his argument was that Black people in the Americas exist in the in a liminal, in-between non-place and dance expresses and enables a transcendance from this state of being.

Its also been very exciting learning about the myriad ways in which artists are involving audiences in their work. On Tuesday I encountered the work of Brazillian performance company Zecora Ura whose durational performance of Hotel Medea spanned midnight til dawn.

The audience helped the performers get ready for their wedding, atrtended the event, threw rice, danced at their party and hid in terror when cast in the role of the children Medea sought to kill out of despair and rage.

I’m getting ready for my presentation now. I’ll let you know how it goes. In the meantime, here is a photo of a beautiful place where we attended an event that was part of the El Grec festival.

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