Sunday, 26 June 2011

Letter to a cameraman at Afrika Burn

I have written in a previous post about my disjointedness about seeing a performance of myself at AfrikaBurn on youtube. The cameraman, Gilles Chevalier, a charming man with  a wonderful eye and spirit has posted the youtube video a bit more than a week ago. I saw some great footage of his of the AfrikaBurn experience. Initially when i saw the video of me performing i was very positively moved, but since then people have been questioning me about nude AfrikaBurn photos/videos that is doing the rounds . thanks to all for the interaction. yet it has all made me feel more unresolved than before. the best thing i could think of doing was to write to Gilles.

Dear Gilles,

i knew somewhere along the line you would read my "dilemma" blog i posted a few days ago. it has been such whirling times in my soul the past week. contradictory times. it is my first week that i have been so fully present on facebook, watching videos and surfing the net. i used to be very anti social media, mainly because of the "unreal" spatial aspect of it. but now i see more of the good qualities in it, like its brilliant power of communication.

in the past week i have had so many conversations about the nudity thing  that my brain is so split. i know you say the problem is not me being topless in the video, but my performance itself and the sound quality of the video. yet i think it ALL plays a role in my mental uprootedness.

(to see the video of me and Justin inserted in the Fata Morgana youtube film by Herman van Wyk that i have seen after your one, did not challenge me – and strange – there i was in the complete nude. maybe the reasons for this is that the video is mainly centered around the burning of the Fata Morgana, it is quite celebratory and  the inserted footage of me and Justin is rather fleeting. the video is much shorter, just under 2 minutes and it is less intense and raw.)

to view your video stirs a few things. it is my first full-on youtube appearance of a raw performance piece – a piece that literally goes back to the soil of the earth to discover a more primal, elemental power of being. even if i did it as a public performance at AfrikaBurn, it was a very personal and intimate journey with my own Self, within the universal theme of heritage and creativity. i had my reservations about performing it. you mention that the sound quality is not the best, one does not hear my voice completely -  that could not be helped. it is one of those things with performing the way i do in the Tankwa -  the space is SO big and scattered and people are all over the place. it is impossible with an unplugged voice to reach everyone (and the camera mic). And the other thing is that the video is a shortened version (about 11 minutes) of the whole 30-40 minute performance, not conveying the complete narrative< but hey, i understand youtube exhibits videos that are  striking, short and sweet (-;

my main statement in my "dilemma" blogpost of seeing your video was me feeling uprooted and out of place > it is not the video and the nudity that made me uneasy  - it is the context in which it is placed - one of the wi(l)dest platforms of social media - youtube. there has been one person verbalizing to me that i make too much fuss of it all. yet i believe my feeling about this displacement is valid. to take nudity out of its natural context and paste it onto a wider "Public Wall" will stir many. it has stirred me. if i stand naked it may appear as a confidence in myself. which it is. yet it is a vulnerable confidence - a naked and expressive body and soul that still craves to feel "together, protected and contained".

all the good friends i have made at AfrikaBurn, including you, have given me such a solid sense of belonging. i have never felt quite so inspired, challenged, free, loved and so incredibly happy as at Afrikaburn. it is a very kindred connection that joins the AfrikaBurners together. that connectedness is not present in cyberspace. that is exactly one of the reasons for creating festivals like AfrikaBurn -  to bring people together in REAL time and REAL space, to unlock mythical and primal energies in ourselves; to express our souls in an extraordinary togetherness in an age where our souls are being so challenged and chopped up to fit into "default" roles ruled by distorted and unnatural man-made norms and systems.

as i told you in my previous mails, the visuals of your video is so incredibly striking, the composition and editing so beautifully done. forgive me for not mentioning the good qualities of the video in my previous blog. that was pure neglicence on my part by being so spaced out by all these external dialogues happening. i have been so exuberantly alive and expressing myself at AfrikaBurn. to be back in the post-AfrikaBurn space, unleashes so many afterthoughts and questions from varied people. lines have been blurred there. i love the blurring! yet i am back in the default world and somehow i need to function here as well; it is hard, but i do. is the InterNet part of the default world? do i need to care so much? i want to be so ferociously myself in ALL spaces. so i have to make peace with my full being being present in ALL these spaces. i can not be so fussy. i should relax about all of this. be cool and let myself flow, as i know i can.  this is why i have joined the cyberspace and facebook community. there is value to be got and added there.

if you ask me the question now: would i like to have the video on youtube, i would answer "Yes". man has recorded their journey since time immemorial – from rock paintings all the way to youtube. let me not be fearful of this story of mine being told and recorded.

seeing that i mentioned my "dilemma" with this youtube video in a previous post, i think it necessary to post this letter as a resolution. Gilles, no hard feelings from my side. i am happy that you made a great video.  i am simply a feral woman fearing any form of captivity. but then, one is only free when one has stopped fearing.


1 comment:

  1. Gilles is an old and dear friend removed 20+ years. He was one in a million then, now he is one in 3 billion. Glad he had such a positive influence.