My video work and accompanying peformance during the “In Ruins” residency developed from concepts of connected historical mythologies (Atlantis/Sundaland/Java, ancient Greek/Roman/Egyptian, Afrofuturist), in relation to suppression/expression of racial identity and body image (from ritual athletics and classical sculpture to nazi propaganda), and within the context of migration crises and the contemporary rise of fascism in Italy and abroad.
As acknowledgement and response to the sacred history of the site—with its mythical founding by Ulysses/Odysseus, proximity to the birthplace of Pythagoras in ancient Greece, and status as one of the most important archaeological sites in southern Italy—my solo performance began with a sequence of bell and percussive sound improvisations as purification and invocation ritual, performed while walking among the audience as “sadhu” and geomancer. This was followed by a second series of ritual movements from the “kalaripayattu” martial art of south India, performed in juxtaposition with a contemporary sculpture installation by artist Simona Brinkmann.
The third section was comprised of torch-bearing movements and improvisations (culminating in a run to a temporary, site-specific installation by British artist Harley Price) in reference to:
The fourth and final section of the performance included Chinese cosmology-connected movements (from the martial arts choreography of twentieth century baguazhang master Fu Zhensong) improvised on a nearby stage, in front of the epic ruins of the Basilica of Saint Mary of Roccella which unexpectedly lit up, causing its large flock of resident crows—representing the myth and spirit of Athena—to fly dramatically into the sunset.