the tabla and dislocation pt. 2

studies in chopping up the tabla

studies in chopping up the tabla

these studies are produced by pushing family photos into images of chopped trees < these trees are located in the Harz Mountains in Germany where the bark beetle has destroyed local forests < amongst the decay and disease wild flowers and grasses < growback >

< the bark beetle is a kind of predatory invader to the forest < “nature” has its own forms of violent destruction < reoccupation of habitat < re-inscription of its role < colonialism >

< normally a tree would be able to ward off the beetle by producing its own resin < but increased heat and drought have weakened this defense < many trees are dying < many trees are being chopped down < chopping >

< roots in the ground remain as the wood is chopped and moved elsewhere> < chopping >

< the stump is a sign of this dislocation < a mark of my departure >

< the stump becomes the image of the tabla face < except it misses the syahi < the syahi is the blackened tuning paste in the center of the drum < the syahi is the pupil of the eye > < in the iris >

< in the iris < my father and his brothers < my grandfather alone < the generational split that I never knew < their relationship with the looking lens < the brothers facing the eye of the camera < the father lost in his work < neither looking at each other < both brothers and father >

< in my eyes >

< in my eyes < as I walk>

< at the rhythm and pace of a tabla>

< through the dying forest < and mystifying growback >

A living God.

Trumu Fetish
A 6:00min Cut of a 1hr performance
Alt text: A Black body covered in black paint.

A God realised. It was meditation to see the transgender God in space/reality. This is the beginning, where I create rituals for its appearance and movement in space. The black paint represents the Universe, a body that holds the planets and the stars and commands space-time. I understand my body as an integral part of this experience. I am interested in finding out: Am I in a trance as a vessel? How do I create transformation for other transgender bodies? How do I open myself to this present moment? I want to be consumed.

The God is nameless at this point; however, Trumu Fetish is the title for the experience of veneration.

A song by E B U. Listen to this while watching. I have added the lyrics too.

Take me back
To the silky black
The silky black of liquid sap
Slate and stone 
I feel at home
With space to roam 
This feels like home
Solace on a hill
Stones standing still
Standing proud
Out of the ground
Quietly
Watching me
Comforting
Company
So take me back
To the silky black
Take me back
To the silky black
Happy to be bound
By the embrace 
Of homeland

Written By - E B U

First Scene

So this is my second draft of the first scene of Episode 1


Sepp : Hey…looks like it’s just us.

June : Looks like it (giggles) 

Sepp : Did you enjoy the ceremony?

June : Hahha fuck no… these traditional meetings feel empty to me especially as they never include me. 

Sepp : Yeah…I know…they are wrong for that…you should definitely be front and center

June : front and center? I don’t think I want to be verified to that extent.

Sepp : well Maybe It would make me pay attention a little more …closely

June: ….oh and why would that make you pay a little more attention 

Their bodies are closer now, almost touching. Almost breathing on each other.

The sky cracks in half as the long forgotten voice of a lost GOD returns to earth.

The air began to resonate as it shifted through the atmosphere of carbon nitrogen and oxygen. The make up of life changed unbeknownst to anyone.




June : What the fuck was that? 

Sepp : (covering her head) Jesus sounds like the whole sky exploded.

June is already running to a window. There are a lot of murmurs in the bar.
June looks out the window but sees nothing

A few others who were in the room have also run to the window. 

No one says anything as they stare transfixed outside.

Sepp : (after catching up) Do you see anything?

Sepp comes close to them and holds their arm. It’s the first time they have touched all evening

June : (wrapping her arm under the waist of Sepp) No…but I feel like…(they look at Sepp and notice the anxiety on their face)…Hey are you ok?

The air was charged. Like a thick soup of static. As the voice wrapped itself around the planet and began to touch the ground the static rose on the skin of their backs. 

June’s hair was floating as though she was submerged in water.

Everyone looked at her but their hair remained normal. 

A buzzing sound could faity be heard.

June : It feels like I’m surrounded by electricity (they stop and listen)…can you..(they listen again)…do you hear something?

The buzzing sound gets louder.

Sepp : Let’s get away from the window.

The buzzing sound can be heard by everyone now. Although it had begun as an auditory experience, its frequency had begun to resonate within their bodies.



June sinks to the floor feeling a wave of nausea as their organs shake with the sound

June : Sepp I…I…

A pulse shook through the ground.

Sepp falls to the ground beside june.

The two bury their heads into each other’s shoulders.

They scream in unison as they expect the building they are in to fall in on them.

And then suddenly 

everything stops

June: Are you still here…

Sepp: I’m with you…im with you

Their heads rise to meet each others gaze.

They are only an inch apart

The other members in the room are all standing against the walls as if the pulse had not been felt by them.

Their gaze fixed on the two holding on to each other

They watch them in silence.



June : Sepp…

Sepp leans in whispering 


Sepp : Don’t leave me tonight


kissing June.

Understanding Shrines

West African traditional religions have pantheons of Gods.
Within these pantheons, there is a hierarchy. The supreme being is at the top, followed by deities, the ancestors, human beings, animals, plants and minerals. Our Spirit/Vital force is what connects us. There are not as many temples for the supreme being or the Gods; however, there are shrines dedicated to the specific deity. These Shrines have different purposes, but this is where the deity resides. Each shrine has a caretaker or caretaker and a priest who can communicate directly to and with the deity. We find shrines in mountains, rivers or seas, at the foot of a village or at the residence of a priest/priestess. Offerings of prayer, alcohol, food or money are given to the deity for goodwill, protection or gratitude.

What I find exciting is these enormous Pantheons still have unknown or undocumented deities. It is a platform for research and discussions on transgender deities and their place in Africa’s transgender society. What rituals safeguard and re-energise our vital force and connection to the spiritual universe? How can we hold spaces for those witnessing our transition? These are the questions I am working on.

MARK OF MY DEPARTURE

All work on my profile is orbiting this piece right here

All of my research, writing and creative work for this program is trying to understand and expand on this that tumbled out of me >>>>>

Mistaken identities

Adversarial.io is a tool created to evade technologies of image recognition and reveal how differently machines and humans interpret images. Subtle noise added to images can completely alter how an algorithm will classify a photo, while in terms of human perception, there is little change to the original image.

I find it interesting in the context of my project because of the high confidence with which the M-10 computer declared its identification of the missiles (which turned out to be sunlight reflecting off clouds).

In my experiments, I gathered photos of nuclear missiles which, through such added noise, became sewing machines, freight cars, obelisks and totem poles in the eyes of computer vision.

Some of the nouns used to describe these missiles were quite obscure! I had to look up the definitions for: a stupa (a dome-like building usually containing relics and used for meditation), a barracouta (type of fish) and thresher (an agricultural machine for separating grains).

A grid of photos showing various nuclear missiles but which have been labelled as sewing machines, trailer trucks, obelisks and other names by an image recognition AI. The background is colourful and pixelated.

the tabla and dislocation

…the first musical instrument I remember touching was

[ the tabla in my uncle’s home ]


this pair of beating eyes, bringing life
the touch of taut skin
flitting
flatting
frequencies
skimming
skipping
sentences of sound
there is no more desperate path out
                                                                                                      (of dislocation out)
than my divine desire to crop my fingers
fold them into pegs
to fling and to follow
to play play play

Un-tabla’d as I am, I dedicate my sound to learning about the music in me that already knows the rhythm of the tabla. This is the first section of Mark of My Departure. Speaking over the tabla loop here felt liberating. The image of the tabla is currently in my mind and everywhere around me all the time.

if you got the rhythm I can go with precision
i can flow with the feeling of the water
i can drop unexpected, drop like the t’s in the native speech it’s sorta
sorta slick with these thick lips flip syllables to spit am from L D N
but you can find me in the kiez by canal in the sun, in the rain, in the hail my friend
all praise due
all praise due
all praise due Allah
if i wanna manifest a blessing, my head be pressing the musallah

this language I hate it the colonisers tongue – not very fun
this language I love it, it’s the only one – well I guess that’s done

i can flow with the feeling of the water
cut through the border
what you gonna do with this bricks and mortar when the sea-levels rise
hoarder
that’s me though too much stuff
who come rough round the edges and bluffs
i can float in the cushioning clouds, pushing them bounds
kush and a crown

Shade of pink background. "A Meditation" at the top of the image. Below 10 Black and White images. A black transgender artist is in all these images. Names of body parts are in white in the middle of the images.
This Is My 2022
Acrylic paint, Sea water on Cotton Canvas. 40cm x 30cm.
Durational performance Art (Video)
Commissioned by Pyramidkofi

“This Is My” is a meditation for the body. A meditation that clearly defines the limits and the boundaries. Understanding these limits creates a space for spiritual exploration and an openness to being a vessel. Trumu Fetish calls for a body that is open to channelling multidimensional forces. These forces lay out a body for transformation; transformative artwork for the sin of patriarchy and masculinity.

BEFORE AND AFTER

Homecoming; A Placeless Place / Folsktone Edition.

The above video is just a small taster of the Folkstone public’s contributions to the ongoing project HOMECOMING. I thought seeing a before and after would give good context for how the installation works in a public space.

During the ‘reveal’ event on July 3rd, I thought I had recording the almost 2hr conversation which took place amongst strangers when we all saw, for the first time, what was on these walls. Bare in mind before this no one had any UV lights so no1 knew what was being placed on the walls, where.

Unfortunately my audio device just didn’t record the whole conversation. So I invited some participants to share with me their reflections of the reveal event and here is one response:

>> participant reflections on installation reveal, Folkstone July 2022 <<

It’s like you were afforded dignity’

——————————————————–

This specific social experiment is called ‘Homecoming; A Placeless Place’ and it is a touring participatory installation which has been asking since pre pandemic (2019+) ‘what does home mean to you?’

All languages are welcome, anything you wish to write, anywhere on the surfaces of these spaces.

Where to next?

HOMECOMING // FOLKSTONE // JULY 2022

A black wall is covered in invisible ink that in lit up with a UV torch. 
The text is written with different handwriting, different sizes, directions and fonts.
HOMECOMING – Folkstone July 2022. Inside DNA walls. Anonymous participant contributions written with UV ink on blacked out walls.

HOMECOMING means allot to me. Each time I take it to a new space I am reminded of it’s importance, power and need for shared honest dialogues among strangers.

Above is an image of part of a wall inside DNA space in Folkstone. DNA space is the venue for this latest iteration of the project’s social experiment. The image reads multiple different contributions from the general public in Folkstone to the same question which has been asked since the beginning of HOMECOMING in 2019… “What does home mean to you?

This section alone crosses so many realities…

Sometimes with this work, you are forced to stop. There is no doubt that in the moment which this section was revealed, that is the only thing I could do.

Some of these contributions are overlapping. And here is what some of them say::

home is the sea, which is a graveyard

There are so many people in this town who will never see their families again. They are finding homes with each other, and they will be moved.

To be at home is to be relaxed.

But I still love this place, almost.

G

O

H

O

M

E

my mum works in a profession known for taking people away from their families, it’s more complicated then that.

That last one got me. I cried when we did the group reveal on Sunday 3rd July. It might of been the mention about mothers, or the fact that I felt like I understood what this contributor was saying – that they loved someone, a parent, but it hurt. Maybe I am projecting? Because truth be told there is no judgment in what they’ve said, only the statement explaining it.

Sometimes I’m reminded of the reason why I call this specific branch of HOMECOMING, Homecoming; A Placeless Place. To me, it is the social experiment that just keeps on giving.

Etching #2

Close up of my finger brushing the aluminum plate with a mix of white powder and water. The last polishing step.
After polishing, more polishing.
Close up of copper sulfate crystals, the size of sand but so turquoise that seems wet.
Copper sulfate crystals are of a shiny turquoise, like a breeze in summer dusk after a storm.
The oxidation process of the aluminum plate is bubbling nice and I am not prepared for a sound recording of it.

Etching #1

During the last days, I spent quite a lot of energy preparing plates for etching. I am working to prepare a work on paper that will be also a tactile experience, the preparation involves different metals, sanding, and polishing. I am learning how to approach the different surfaces, their acoustic responses, and tensions.

I am curved on a copper plate, secured to a working table with clamps, holding one side firmly with one hand while scraping off the edge with a machinist's file. I am wearing light fabric gloves with rubber palms.
Shaping the edges – bisellature – of the copper plate.
a copper plate and an aluminum one, same sizes on some newspaper. The copper one is more rounded and shiny, the aluminum is sharp edged and opaque.
The plates ready to be polished.
A self portrait in the mirror-like surface of the copper plate right after polishing it, holding my smartphone with two hands, I wanted to document the shape of the plate and its rounded edges.
Very satisfied with the polishing!

Haptic sounds

Is it possible to separate our thinking of sound from the ear? If the ear is not experiencing all of the sonic spectra how can be understood that the human body and the cyborg body can be resonators, captivating vibrations that communicate sounds through a distributed nervous system? I am looking at the digital devices that we are using in our daily life and all of those have a “silent mode” turning sounds into haptic responses. Little bells grayed out logo or crossed out speakers. Still, those feel loud, vibrating, calling for our attention.

Close up of my left hand, open, palm up. I drawn my left ear in the middle of the palm with a special tattoo-ink, and then covered with a foil to protect the ink while absorbing.
There are a lot of tiny details that I can see trough the foil but I did not photograph properly, sadly all of this turned in a stained stamp-looking effect very quickly.

Understanding the sound beyond the ear made me think of disappearance at first. Then I started to reposition my ears on the other parts of my body where I am experiencing sound. Exposing ears all over our skin to remind each other that is not only the tympanic membrane that understands sonic space. Ears all over the body, it is a cyborg’s proposal.

My cat is sniffing closely my left hand, curious about the temporary tattoo.
My cat love to sniff the ink, between companion spaces we both enjoy the plant based liquid. I can feel the breathing and the purring, those are bright sounds.

I am quite unhappy with the first sketches but I wanted to be transparent with the process, I am going to work with different outlines.

Close-up of my left hand, palm up. The ink developed properly and it is quite dark on my white skin. My left ear is recognizable but not sharp as I was planning to.
I will work on a different drawing, the ink lines expanded and the drawing looks more like a stamp rather than an outline. Left me disappointed with the final result, will work more on this soon.

Mixed feelings (working title).

This is a proposal for a podcast series conceived as a meeting point for non-hearing and hearing communities. It can be seen as an attempt to open space to communities that have been excluded since the early development of radiophonic transmission and long-distance voice-based communications. While writing these notes, I cannot stop ruminating about the historical intertwining between the invention of voice-based long-distance communications and the efforts that some of its pioneers dedicated to affirming education models today described as oralism and their eugenics roots. Another stream destabilizes my thinking, its banks I try to summarise as an understanding of progress impossible to tear apart from a general cult of profit and its pervasive spread controlling mass media. I have memories of radio broadcasting being dismissed in my childhood as a historical heritage in favor of television. Now that the internet has created a favorable momentum for digital radio, I must admit that the absence of advertisements relieves me. Nevertheless, my comfort is often unaware of hidden profiling techniques, whose consequences we experience beyond marketing purposes in unprecedented political persuasion.

Is it possible to imagine a podcast, a digital radio, as a welcoming place to share and an enjoyable zone where the agency of the community is perceived outside the systematic targeting of consumers? And how should this place be? I must write that I am feeling many biases while formulating a proposal from my subjective position to imagine a collating space for communities that have been systematically separated during the consolidation of liberalism’s political imaginaries. I can only find myself on an experiential threshold between hearing and non-hearing communities, with an unbalance toward the hearing group having received only an oral education. Somehow I hope this idea will be seeded by collaborative thinking, crumbling this early individuality exercise and taking it to a format that feels more representative of both communities involved.

Please allow me to approach world-building in radiophonic space as an embodied methodology, for the now, starting from the user’s access needs. A radio station conventionally offers a stereo channel audible mix, and the mixer is in the hand of the producer. I am suggesting offering part of it to the folks that will tune in; this digital radio can be a six channels stream with: 

1 – music stream;

2 – metadata stream, with lyrics, info on the tracks, and descriptive captioning;

3 – oral-based broadcast;

4 – oral full transcript and captions;

5 – sign language based streaming;

6 – sign language full transcript/captions.

I see the imbalance in my proposal where four channels are reserved for creating access-centering oral and hearing-controlled discourse; as anticipated, I am preparing to rework this in the context of a collaborative thinking exercise, inviting d/Deaf broadcasters to articulate this idea better. I can imagine a parallel sign-language-based channel for streaming poetry and storytelling and experimental artistic expression, but I am not taking authority to define a sign-language space; I only feel how much this is needed, along with captions and transcripts to make these contents accessible to the non-signing audience.

Until now, this proposal encompasses a technical format because it aims to dismantle the ableist power of a technologically exclusive medium. I feel this operation is valuable only in the context of curating practices that aim to address ableist circuits of power. I suggest looking at the “working definition of ableism” published and updated on Talila A. Lewis’ blog and “developed in community with disabled Black/negatively racialized folk.” TL helps us see ableism beyond the disabled community, within a proper intersectional approach that is a much-needed filter to explore solidarity around the curatorial thinking of contents to share in this broadcast. As mentioned at the beginning of this proposal, this radiophonic space can exist only if a collaborative thinking exercise happens. I hope this exercise will produce a curatorial kinship in preparing each chapter that does not repeat the usual and unnecessary institutional pledge of creating access to interpreting unidirectionally created content. This is extremely important to me, and I hope it resonates with the title of this proposal. “Mixed feelings” is also underling the necessity of a choral practice where dissonance must be welcome, operating an attunement that does not seek homologations nor blanket agreements.

I hope I will soon have the chance to tune in to a music stream while reading captions from a signing artist, exploring thresholds that aim to bring solidarity across existing cultural barriers.

HOME

Image of a black piece of card with an anonymous contribution written in invisible ink only seen here through a UV light. The contribution is a hand written note from a member of the general public in London UK, in response to the question 'what does home mean to you?'. Under purple light, the faint text reads "home is where they survive. home is not a place and I can't call it by a border. Home is a language I forgot and faces I haven't heard in a long time. Home is a child"

“home is where they survive.

home is not a place and I can’t call it by a border.

Home is a language I forgot and faces I haven’t heard in a long time.

Home is a child”

– anonymous / Oct 2021 / Citizens of Nowhere exhibition – NOW gallery.

>a reading of the above text for those who need it<

I’m in Folkstone this weekend as part of New Queers On the Block and Last Friday’s Folkstone. I’m presenting an ongoing project called HOMECOMING which I started in 2019 the year before lockdown, and have been continuing throughout. The project is based on a simple question

What does home mean to you?

Invisible ink, UV light, blacked out walls / DNA Space / Folkstone UK / July 2022

And anyone, from the general public, young or old, are invited to contribute using UV pens (invisible ink) in any language they want, drawing or writing straight onto the blacked out walls of buildings. This iteration see’s the work being presented at DNA in Folkstone and has in the space both this participator installation and one of my digital iterations (short film) made of the project ‘Homecoming; A Placeless Place‘ on loop. The film was made during the global lockdown and with the general public in Scarborough, UK.

Here’s a little video of the set up of the installation:

On Sunday evening we will do a ‘reveal’ event where UV torches and lights will be offered to participants for us to collectively find out what’s been offered by the public, on these walls.

Really looking forward to Sunday.

DNA space / Folkstone / 6.15pm / Chats, Chai, Film Screening and Baklawa will be shared.

The project is on going and I hope it continues to get to different parts of the UK with ambitions to take the project internationally. We all have a relationship with the idea of Home and for me, this is a conversation I find endlessly fascinating. I want to make more films around this and hopefully, in years to come, put all contributions from so many different towns, cities , countries and spaces, and publish a book about it.

Sometimes, people can be so vulnerable. If you offer them the space to be…

How I (don’t) remember my grandmother

The family gathered around my grandmother (invisible) resting on the bed.
Image description: The family gathered around my grandmother (invisible) resting on the bed.

This was in the early ‘digital days’. I was outside the frame of this image but I was too young to remember what was going on in the moment. It wasn’t her final day (or year), but we all knew the process had begun its course. Although I don’t remember, internally I feel relieved I could be there and that I still have a connection to these moments captured. It’s agonising to rewatch these videos and feel the emotional atmosphere through a lens but then this happy accident happens in the video where one of my cousins covers the frame for the rest of the video completely unaware. I appreciate the sudden invisibility, not just because of the relief, but it’s in that moment I’m reminded that my grief for her is physically embodied and no longer attached to the visual medium or its definitive capture of her.

White trousers with a silver chain covering up the frame of the video.
Image description: White trousers with a silver chain covering up the frame of the video.

‘Computer gaze’: Your interior thoughts are commodified

Carmen Hermosillo aka humdog was a huge advocate for technological innovation and computer networks in the 80s/90s, until 1994, when she published ‘Pandora’s Vox: On Community in Cyberspace.’

Her writing remains relevant to this day when examining the digitisation of our deaths and identity ‘immortalisation’ online. She argued that the use of computer networks do not lead to a reduction in hierarchy, but actually the commodification of personality and a complex transfer of power and information to corporations.

In this sense, all of our interior thoughts (taste, preferences, beliefs, fears) are commodified, and has manifested into what we know today to be the algorithm that caters to our likes and interests. And so, when it comes to our digital death and footprints we leave online, it essentially becomes packaged and sold onto other consumer entities as a form of ‘entertainment’. What I mean by entertainment is that the cyberspace is a blackhole – it absorbs our energy and personality to create an emotional spectacle. This is practiced by businesses and marketers who commodify human interactions and emotions, such as Big Tech corps we already know and exist on.

Screenshot of a person's Facebook newsfeed homepage showing dog photos and emoji reactions.
Image description: Screenshot of a person’s Facebook newsfeed homepage showing dog photos and emoji reactions.

Taking this image of someone’s FB newsfeed as an example which I think is an interface we are all very familiar with, there is a bizarre quality to our online interaction on this platform. In early 2022, I was invited to an online memorial service of a dear friend which was also livestreamed on Facebook. What I found a little bizarre is that this is the same platform where I read daily news headlines, see meme posts, cat videos, friend’s holiday photos, and relationship updates.

Screenshot of 4 tile image videos of cats suggested by my Instagram recommendations.
Image description: Screenshot of my algorithmically generated recommendation of Instagram reels, all featuring cats.

Similarly, this is relays back to humdog’s essay about ourselves becoming commodified and release of agency. I have never learned to mourn or remember someone via an entertainment platform, yet this is becoming the norm.

Spiritual or sacred spaces of worship such as churches, mosques, synagogues, temples, graveyards, contain a certain element of solely fixating on the cycle of life and death with symbolic elements such as praying, worship, repentance, burning of incense, hearing cymbals and gongs, chants, and much more. What’s important about these practices is not the act itself but how it is choreographed with a community.

With these daily practices slowly fading since we have digital platforms to accommodate memorial services and distant attendance, it leads one to wonder whether these traditions will maintain its grip in the next 10, 20, or 30 years, or will it have merged into the chaotic mix of entertainment consumption where we exist under the illusion of a ‘community’ online.