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photo credit: Beatriz M Barrio

 

I am because you are  is a collaboration between myself and Baroque singer, Chloe Lam, (Hong Kong) created during the 2018 OLOS Residency in Góis (Portugal).

 

During our collaboration sessions, I would draw Chloe’s voice (gesturally) when hearing her perform. Over time I had created a collage of sonic drawings which we eventually pieced together collaboratively: first in the form of a circle, and later attached to become the ‘fabric’ of my performative skirt. Chloe also created her performance dress from discarded paper, creating ‘decoration’ by dense writing in Chinese.

 

Shortly prior to the Residency, ravaging fires had devastated the environment and blackened and singed Cork trees were distributed throughout. I decided to work with this medium, and scraping the burned cork off the trees, ground the cork into fine powder. The devastation of the fire and the escalating temperatures (up to 51 degrees Celsius), prompted me to create a work about environmental issues.  

 

We decided on doing our live site-specific performance in an abandoned paper factory in a village nearby, and the performance (8 min) was captured in real-time with no editing to the piece. Standing on a small bench during an endurance performance, wearing the paper skirt and a found piece of bark as a mask, Chloe circles me multiple times whilst chanting “ubuntu”. During her chanting, I blacken my hands and forearms with the Cork soot, demonstrating an imminent environmental disaster.

 

Titled “I am because you are”, the work speaks to African (Zulu) notions of ‘Ubuntu’ which can literally be understood as ‘a person is a person through other people’. In this context, it is through the principle of Ubuntu that we collectively share and collectively care for the natural environment at large. 

Blogpost here

Short info here