Of Roots and Portals: With-nessing

What does it feel like to engage with Indigenous knowledge to build a bridge toward comprehending regret, guilt, and care for the future descendant?

Fileona Dkhar’s project for the web residency »Algorithmic Poetry.« Of Roots and Portals: With-nessing intertwines the personal with mythology and history as storytelling devices, by combining text, sound, and images to form an affective story between remembering and future narratives.

Fileona Dkhar, Rotterdam/Netherland, Shillong/India — Jul 13, 2023

»I speak while we enter portals, guided by a bridge woven from tree roots. This image guides my concept Of Roots and Portals: With-nessing. With-nessing, acknowledges ›being with‹ ancestral beings. First, the living root bridges [jingkieng jri] of my tribe, the Khasis. The root-bridges illustrate inherited intangibility, the Khasis believe in a creation myth where man descended from the roots of a large tree in the sky, Diengiei. But they are also tangible portals, each bridge takes 40 years to shape, each weave on the bridge is an ancestor’s trace.«

For the web residency project, artist Fileona Dkhar will write a series of letters to a descendant – fictional and maybe someday real. Each letter is a reflection on the root bridges, as inheritance, as portals, as remembrance of ancestral makers. These reflections extend to her being an artist, a medium, and an ancestor herself. Somewhere between auto-poem and letter, Dkhar writes the letters in English and her father translates them into Khasi, incorporating familial with-nessing. As this project shapes itself into an audio-visual web poetry installation, the letters are portals as text. Dkhar enters into this residency seeking a with-nessing that guides her through the opacity of writing with intangible and tangible ways of being, making and speaking.

The project Of Roots and Portals: With-nessing will take the form of a website which has videos, sound, and text. What it should feel like is if the viewer were engaging with Indigenous knowledge woven to create a bridge toward comprehending regret, guilt, and care for the future descendant.

This repeats with above — intentional?

This website you are about to access is an artistic work within the online program “Web Residencies by Akademie Schloss Solitude”. © 2023. Akademie Schloss Solitude – Stiftung des öffentlichen Rechts, Stuttgart and the artist(s).

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