GLOOMY SUNDAY (foto Vimeo)
Ian Kerkhof | Aryan Kaganof | 2015 | 2 min. 59 sec. | South Africa
“The Limbo is a Trinidadian dance practice where the dancer’s task is to avoid the touch of horizontal planes. In the documentary Limbo (1983) choreographer Julia Edwards tells us that the Limbo was traditionally performed at wakes.
For nine nights after the death of one of the members of their community, the descendants of the dead, accompanied to the sounds of drumming and song, pass under the stick. What is significant about this passing, both of the dead and the live body, is the supposition that each time the dancer glides face up under the horizontal material plane the soul of the deceased moves higher into the spirit World. This performance of resisting touch embodies a bridge between foundational ground and a transcendental plane. It is a bodily attempt to get as close to the ground while at the same time not succumbing to gravity’s grave pull. Wilson Harris sees the Limbo as a conscious effort to dislocate a chain of miles: the willingness of a body to re enter, albeit on new redefined grounds, the contortions and cramped state of an ancestral journey, the embodied memory of being in Limbo, the traversing of the Middle Passage.
For Harris, the Limbo entails the wrestling with the sense of a “phantom limb,” a memory of the part of oneself that has been amputated by way of violent contact, the sensation of a missing part still felt present through its absence (Harris 1999, p. 157). In the documentary we see a Trinidadian dance troupe use the limbs of other dancers instead of a stick. The legs of a Limboing dancer emerge through the splayed legs of another enacting a subverted birth, with the body that is “born” through these straddled legs appearing feet first. At one point two dancers Limbo side by side, a twinned movement of synchronous re exit and re entry. In their effort not to touch the tight place they move through, the dancers press against each other, supporting each other.
This doubled emergence of subjectivity is a shared and danced refusal of that historical passage into ratified sovereignty while gesturing toward the allowance of a concurring subjective sociability. This new kind of entering a scene, of encountering, is a sea changing “consent not to be one” (Harney and Moten 2013, p. 97).
Hypatia Vourloumis – Ten Theses on Touch, or, Writing Touch
Vimeo, Friday, February 6, 2015 at 3:04 AM EST