October 21, 2013

Cotonou - Helsinki

I have (crash)landed back in Europe. If there wasn't a calendar, and people telling me what day it is, I'd find it impossible to say how long it's been. A week, a month, a year? Time is once again proven relative.

During the residency I did indeed continue my transformations. Trying to fit in by standing out, and vice versa. Turns out that transforming oneself into an animal, or something else, is very old vodun magic. For example Togo's former president is told to have survived a plane crash by turning himself into a leaf. These stories all derive from situations when people have been filled with adrenaline: some have turned into leopards when running away from dangers in the jungle, and so on. However, if you do it just to "show off", it takes a lot of energy, and even years off your life (about two years per transformation). Because no one likes a show-off. Needless to say, this freaked me out. But I also felt like I found some sort of origins for what I do in my work, and this I was not expecting. Neither was I prepared for the fact that I was less of a stranger when I wore a mask, than when I was just a plain weird yovo (white person).

Some "behind the scenes" material:

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