Performing Night at Daytime

I am hardly awake. Yet Kurt Nahar his request, to give context of my work, knocks at my door. He needs this for tours he gives during the exhibition UMA STEN (Female Voices) at Readytex Art Gallery in Paramaribo, Suriname. With, among others, tumpi flow represented in the conversation. She attends the table with several volumes of the series Negro Bible. Even though I am peacefully focusing on my ‘diplomatic mission’ to Rio de Janeiro, it would have been great to physically interact with Nahar’s staging of these voices. His request is perfectly timed, since these series popped up in conversation with Yhuri Cruz this week.

Cruz constructed the concept NEGROTIATION. When I heard about this concept for mid June, I again found another connection between his work and mine. Thus, seducing him into a collaboration was no difficult task. Even though I took the opportunity to get a glimpse of NEGROTIATION #1, presented at Instituto INCLUSARTIZ with the show Gamboa: nossos caminhos, I would be willing to travel back to Rio de Janeiro from Sao Paulo for a day and interact with Cruz’ negotiation of June. Taking in consideration that, like myself, Mbembe’s Critique of the Black Reason has been a manual for inspiration to him. No wonder that during our encounters, it felt as if I was in front of a mirror. That moment Cruz confirmed willingness to co-curate a presentation at Despina was a Levinan encounter: the unconscious appeal that relates to the self as a sensitivity to others, in the sense of a spontaneous involvement (Keij, 2021).

Like he says: “I prefer to perform the night’s mystery during the day.” As seen through the encounter, I see in Cruz a giant reflection. Through this mirror-effect, I find peace of mind and I can begin to unfold what Nahar requested. My contextualization of the Negro Bible:

This series follows the trilogy KROYWARA. The third script of this play remains unfinished. In Dray Baka (to return) the protagonist is a psychopath who thinks he is god and aims at writing a negro bible. In an attempt to continue this storytelling, I decided to produce installations entitled Negro Bible: a dialogue that challenges the intersection of race, gender, and place. In relation to the process PSYCHOMAMIO, this conversation consists of 66 diaries of a journey made between 2016 and 2021. As a whole, the journal reflects on spiritual and socio-political issues based on personal reflections, encounters during artist in residency programs (such as AISA AYA), experimental projects (such as MISSION 21), and process questions (such as COUP 22); the road to my research deeep blue. As a mechanism operating on the basis of writing, color codes, and number languages among other technologies and gestures, this process entangles works of other artists with tumpi’s performances. In bringing visual and written creations together, I bring the political and the spiritual in confluence. Through this mechanism, I am also able to focus on three layers at the same time: the personal that holds what I perceive as spiritual and is the invisible aspect, questions of events related to a national context, and questions of geo-political scale as the global layer.

KROYWARA is a journey that allowed me to decenter myself from my work. As Cruz argues: “I think of the curator as the body that is in service of the art manifestation.” Even though the artist is the vehicle of her practice, he performs at a level that transcends the personal; making the first layer in my work more relevant as an invisible space because it is only a ‘body’ to perceives knowledge that comes instantly and often beyond the conscious. I think of this as a tention between knowing and not-knowing or as one might say knowledge and intuition. The visible aspects of the work are socio-political conversations in space-time. They define the objects and their staging. Even though staging consist of carefully choosing and positioning gestures, it requires enough open space for spectator’s imagination that enforce their participation with the work. In my approach to curating, I quilt. Number 22 e.g. is essential in some instances. Depending on the correlations I find important, specific colors are defined, often related to imaginaries that are chosen to make the conversation specific.

I see Negro Bible as the reverse spell Code Blanc. In this sense, I use experimentation and play to contribute to alter colonization. To be clear: this is not decolonization! Another shared vision of Cruz’ collective pretofagia and my performance persona tumpi flow. In their vision decolonization equals colonization. That’s why I look forward to continue the dialogue with Code Noir in a presentation that intends a longterm relationship, kicked off with my residency at Despina.

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