I first heard this word in the context of the anarchive revealed to me through the work of the notable south African academic and scholar, Dr June Bam. At her book launch of Ausi Told Me (2021) June spoke about the invisibility of stories that were still excluded from culture due to colonisation. These stories remain outside of the cultural archive and, as invisible narratives of the precolonial, they need to be 'visabalised'.
I have been dreaming this word. I have had conversations with this word, and wondered what it may look like. In my imaginary perception, there is no closer image than the invisible, threadlike, inter-connecting, communicative and magic of fungal mycelium to visualise this invisibility. Often below surface level and out of the 'reality' of the every day, these mostly invisible web-like threads are weaving their story in the dark.
I captured this image of mycelium on the 25th of January 2022 in my studio. I discovered it by chance, and it has altered my creative direction. Mesmerised by this living process which echoes my gestural sonic drawings (or is it the other way around?) I imagined working with mycelium as a metaphor. It seemed completely right to me to do, and I applied to the University of Johannesburg (UJ) for the research Artist-In-Residence program with Kagiso Kekana, my co-collaborator on this project who is the founder and director of Charismatic Rhythms.
I feel humbled at the start of this 12-month residency, and am expecting to be changed by it on many, many levels. As a white artist and researcher from colonist-descent, I am reading, learning and LISTENING to those who know about the invisible. In June Bam's words:
In our contemporary scholarship on the precolonial, an expert on indigenous history is still considered to be the one who 'wrote' and who works with the extractive archive, rather than the one who 'knows' in the decolonial context of 'knowing', as within the the infinite 'anarchive' (P190).
thank you, June ...