week 9

the journey

The journey of my sexuality and self-discovery has brought me back to my source. I probably ended up thinking about my History in an attempt to find answers about this contemporary world and my identity. I have been reading a lot about my Algerian culture with its traditions of oral literature, facial tattoos, tribe ceremonies, and cuisine. I have been reading books and articles about the history of Algeria, its wars, and its colonization. I have been connecting to my ancestors by going to Penglais woods and communicating with my ancestors by talking to trees in the same way that my grandma taught me. I have been meditating in silence, walking barefoot, performing in the forest, painting with mud and writing poetry for my ancestors.

Then, the idea of my project emerged, I will be doing a ritual performance with my hair and I will be doing a Buqalah ceremony in honour of my ancestors and Nature, my source. I will make art for connection and the return to Nature.

19 years and centuries

‘19 years and centuries’ is a performance about the journey of healing inter-generational trauma and the experience of the notion of time in History.

concept of the performance : I am sat on the floor while I detangle, moisturize, define and braid my hair.

statement

I am the first woman in my family who got to let her African hair down. It didn’t take 19 years but centuries to do this. I sit with the privilege of committing to the ritual of my hair after the colonization of Algeria by the French. My hair is a political ground that takes up space. By refusing to tie my hair or straighten it, I contribute to a ritual of transgression against oppression. I take part of the healing of intergenerational trauma through a journey to the source. Through the ritual of preservation and decolonization of my body, I stand against the climate crisis of disconnection.

process

failure

This week was a very important week for me. I booked the project room and I was finally going to be able to do the recording of my performance. When I am about to do a performance, I always feel some sort of intensity, I am extremely focused on the performance, my emotions and sensations are heightened as I put myself in the mental, physical and emotional conditions of the performance. I waited for it this whole weekend and preparing myself mentally. I had booked the lights for the project room, prepared my camera, my tripod, my bowls, my hair products, my blanket, etc. I went to the project room with Matt who helped with the documentation of my performance by taking photos. I asked him to come to challenge myself and perform in front of someone. Things didn’t go according to plan at all : I realised that I forgot my European plug, one of my bowls, I started to feel anxious so Matt and I had a little disagreement and then I realised I even forgot my brushes ! I felt like the performance was so close to failing each time. After such events and the intensity of sensations that I felt for the performance, I decided to let it go and I started to cry. It was a means to let go of the things I didn’t need to feel for during the performance such as the arguments we had and that was solved, the equipment I forgot to bring, etc. Crying de-escalated the situation, it released a lot of what was unnecessary and it felt amazing. This was the first time that I cried before a performance (usually it happens during or after) and it felt very instinctive. Crying was like a strategy that enabled the creative process to find its course. I felt a lot better after crying all the excess that distracted me from the essence of the performance. I was focused and ready to perform. The performance went well, I felt calm, present and absorbed completely by the performance. It was probably the performance that succeeded the most. I walked back to the camera at the end the recording. A messaged was written on the screen, it said something about the footage. After feeling really anxious for the rest of the day, I manage to open the footage on my laptop and I see that the end is missing. It failed.

the end

That’s the story of how I failed and my reflections of this week could have ended there, in failure. Yet, I saw such a huge potential of progression here. Surprisingly, ending a very exhausting day with failure didn’t put me down. It motivated me. The reason for it is because I think that I have never felt like I failed so much in such a short amount of time and it really stimulated my mind. It triggered my interest and curiosity. I found it fascinating. I could easily end my project here as it is or I could push it further.

And I am pushing it further obviously because I feel like my journey has just started now. It just became so interesting because I clearly reached a limit.

pushing it

After my failure, I was so shocked that I encountered so many hurdles. My first thought was that I would like to do the performance again. I have no interest in doing the exact same performance so I decided to push it further. This performance allowed me to get in touch with some of my weaknesses. I know where my boundaries are. I also know what I am trying to avoid because of fear. And as usual, this is exactly the direction in which I am going.

I like the feeling of transgression. Doing the exact same performance especially without the fear of the unknown would not stimulate me. It would also be of no interest.

So I decided that I would read my poetry. And I also decided to perform in front of an audience because I always dreamt of it. I have been performing and practicing by myself and around friends but now, it is time for me to commit to an audience in person.

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