Training Transhumanism (I WANT TO BECOME A CEPHALOPOD)
Miriam Simun / New York, NY, USA
Nkhensani Mkhari / South Africa — Jan 8, 2019
Coronation of the holographic Rainbow Nation: Part 1, EMBAWULA
The conceptual framework takes the form of a rhizomatic exploration of space-time transience, structural exclusion, vestigial healing in the third space and biomythography in the African diaspora and global context, which will conclude in a hybridized series of ritualistic ceremonies geared towards healing in multiple strata’s.
During the course of the residency I’ll be performing and filming a site based healing fire ritual (Magandzelo) dedicated to my native land, Earth. I intend for this ritual to be a cross fertilizing cultural idiom and memetic transfer from my culture to the global sphere using new media.
My grandmother used to be a ghost catcher. Every time I think about this fact the classic movie ghost busters comes to mind. Although this time around I don’t imagine white men with labyrinthine gadgets playing the protagonist, I envision my grandma, valiant, resilient, pensive; her herbs and ceremonial talismans in a sack made of rawhide. She too carries advanced technological artefacts. This image encompasses my legacy, a legacy I’m taught to forget, a legacy shunned and looked down upon.
In this post-apocalyptic political landscape, it has slowly dawned upon us that, we live on a planet in desperate need of quantum disentanglement. A muddy planet soaked in the blood of our ancestors, brothers and sisters. A land in urgent need of healing. Personally this realization has created urgency within my being to recover my agency from an ancestral level, to reconnoitre my identity, to discover and secure my place in the global socio-political context.
In the past two years the scope of my work has focused a great deal on mutation, the epistemology of space and time, ancient technology and healing; unpacking the validity and scope of things the west has taught us to consider as hard facts. Within the scope of my research I aim to envisage and fashion a third space, one where our conceptions of technology, healing, space and time aren’t hard facts, but culturally sanctioned probalistic fractals.
Viewing things from this third space a new reality map can be created. One where time-space is non-linear. One where technology isn’t enveloped in the sauce of the Californian ideology, one where healing goes beyond pharmaceuticals or the human body. Coronation of the Holographic Rainbow Nation is a manifestation of this third space. A series of hybridized rituals geared towards healing cities, the land, histories and bodies that occupy these spaces, with healing considered a process not a moment. This series is concerned with the potentials for intervention within the paradigm of the prognostic, the proleptic, the envisioned, the prophylactic and the future conditional. Articulating the future embedded within the routine forms of the mainstream of black vernacular expression.
I’m from a Rainbow Nation, the 1st to ever be. The term was coined by Archbishop Desmond Tutu after South Africa had its 1st democratic election. This term is supposed to represent unity in diversity. The title Coronation of The Holographic Rainbow Nation came to me in a dream. If I had to decipher it, it basically represents a crowing ceremony or ritual where an intangible/virtual nation is crowned. A hologram is unlike a photograph in that it’s three dimensional, with every fractal storing data from the whole hologram. So that on fractal can be used to recreate the whole hologram.
Embawula is a fire, a fire communities or families sit around where stories and folktales are told. It’s an abstract machine and assemblage, a space for indirect discourse, a space for words, acts and incorporeal transformations. A space for illumination extended on the empirical and intellectual level, in the communion between the deviations of connotation applicable to the impression that
our mind can understand a meaning stretched on multiple intensities of perception, the heat and the corporeal time give the space a decadent and dynamic significance while the lack of verifiable effects provides the idea of light the self-consciousness, immutable and intuitive beyond bio-physical time. Unpacking the syntax connecting this relationship and where the possibility matches the idea with the actual fact.
Swiss Physicist Nassim Harmein abstracts space into geometric shapes, with the simplest representation of 3D space being a Tetrahedron. For this performance I’ll be building a tetrahedron as a symbolic representation of 3D space/reality and I’ll be burning it down during the healing ritual. A symbolic gesture of ascension from 3D to 4D space. My previous body of represented an abstraction of this shift in space, exploring how our bodies have moved from tangible to intangible space (cyberspace), physical to digital. 4D is a representation of the alchemical space between the tangible and intangible. This is the third space of contemporary imaginaries I’d like to evoke.
For Part 1 of this performance art piece I’ll be amalgamating Embawula as a technology created for healing on multiple strata. I’ll be upholding the centrifugal aspect of storytelling embedded in this ritualistic ceremony while simultaneously unpacking the nature of assemblages, technology as expression and expression as style, the machine phylum and technological lineages, machinic assemblage and abstract machine. This will be executed using the modality of performance, the sonic and the sculptural.
This body is to be viewed as an aberrant movement, one that excavates the political moments of vernacular futurologies, the lineage of conflicting worldviews seeking to reorient past and future history. By identifying the development and dissemination of belief systems, it’s become imperative to scrutinize how, in Giloroy’s words, »even as the movement that produced them fades, there remains a degree of temporal disturbance.«
If the purpose of aberrant movements is to confront (common) logic, then what logic do we submit to? Lapoujade posits that that logical doesn’t equate to rational. Could we proclaim that a movement is more logical the further it escapes rationality?
Given the present-day post-apocalyptic political landscape, the climate of disciplinary reconfiguration and geographical dispersal the urgent task has now become to engage new intellectual territories in a way that can revitalize the critical vocabulary of contemporary art.
© 2023 Akademie Schloss Solitude and the author