OUT OF THIS WORLD / 2023
OUT OF THIS WORLD is an interdisciplinary time-based performance /installation, which interrogates a novel form of processing oral wisdom, using the Yoruba Ifa divination system as both scientific and artistic method for time bending, place making and shape shifting, by creating an automated, immersive, sonic and performance space that gathers creative artists-diviners, to collectively contemplate the present with the audience in real time.
The Yoruba worldview conceives of the cosmos as a whole, which consists two distinct, yet inseparable realms, aye – the visible, tangible world of the living, and orun – the invisible mystical realm of the dead, ancestors, deities and spirits. Aye equally includes those invisible otherworldly forces that visit frequently and strongly influence human affairs. The principal interest in journeying Out of This World, is not to seek a moralistic hero journey into the “unknown”, a representation of the non-living, nor am i interested in the anthropo-logical meaning of death. My curiosity staggers on a purely artistic exploration of the aesthetics of the ghost – that which lives with us but not one of us – what it means to be self-convinced of living in a human world, and to lose that conviction to irrational disorder. How do these otherworldly forces, albeit invisible, manage to still influence human affairs?
More than a spectacle, Out of This World will be a time-based installation, a ghostly space – that which is heard, felt but not seen – that is acting on us and activated by us, an invitation for artists to gather with creative audiences in a nonlinear time and be entangled in a brief moment of what remains a fundamentally unknowable reality. The installation will comprise of 16 totems, with digital touch screens carrying a software called Oraqu, through which the audience will explore a collection of oral histories and sonic beauties: the archive of the ghost. The Oraqu sonic experience will present a vast arena for the interplay of thoughts, soundscapes and music, a dynamic world of sonic movements in flux. Here we imagine the art space as a civil space, which impacts human social contracts and relationships.
In the first part the audience will be welcomed into an atmosphere of collective listening as collective action. In the second part we invite them for a communion inside the Oraqu, for an archeology of the present, to collectively meditate on the power of the present, through individual excavation of our mind-sites, a kind of granular dissection of where our collective powers are, what our privileges are, and what artistic freedom is. The last part of the experience will be an interactive, concert where I perform with four live musicians, a portal to the other world. To perceive Time differently makes the future feel uncertain, thereby making the present more immediate, urgent, and constantly unfolding. Taking such risk with a live audience, makes them equal stakeholders in the becoming of the performance, and can help us think of our role as a technology for a broader freedom aesthetics.
The form I am proposing is an incubation space for the cultures to come, a space where we could further ask our public questions that aren’t simply thinking of our audiences as transactional bodies, but as conduits for whatever social vision or utopic future we want to make together. To engage our partner institutions as incubators, for the nurturing of cultural production and promoting the progress of art in a dying world. And maybe more pertinently, what is the point of culture at this time, if cultural institution are not asking these kinds of questions along with the artists and their audience? Of what good is a theater or a museum if it is only a citadel for prefabricated cultures that have attained their limits.