23rd of November 2019 Marit Shirin Carolasdotter and Annelie Nederberg performed a new version of the lecture series Humans & Soil – Body representation within indigenous contemporary art. The performance was a part of the exhibition Motståndets tid – om dekolonisering curated by Antonie Frank Grahamsdaughter from Native Moving Images, Ulrika Flink from Konstfrämjandet with support from Kulturförvaltningen Stockholm Stad.
Thank you to Tegen2 and Gunilla Sköld Feiler for the space and opportunity.
Below you will find a short verbal extract from my artist talk, on the project Humans & Soil and its intention and questioning on representation and exploitations on bodies and soil.
personalhistory of humans soil –>set of rules acting gesture had to invent/obstacle etc not representing humans soil writing come up with ways of writing or not writing/ Human soil s should be a species of politics rather than bada of rules Michael? Reconciliation between political dynamics and humans soil law imperial law law separate from politics (?) –> continuation of politics human -“- of cultural form performatively what words produces indigenous rights subject to indigenous rights Leo-tard? Battleground declaration of ideals instead of cultural rights culture as semiotics humans soil as a cultural form not only a body of law but also culture in itself create a culture of respect building it within the culture of humans soil how to make the ideas real? (civil society)
the ways in which movement arts to answer the question how to create a culture of humans soil claim of rights is it enough for dancers to choreograph movement for the audience? ‘invisible wall’ consuming the work of performance participants of the process of movemen
t thinking talking enacting humans soil? culture as practice to making things mean something semiotic dimension of social structures build a culture of indigenous rights not only a law legal body building it through movement trying to make sense. recreation deconstruction writing wiping doing undoing inhabited by
and deconstructs hostility of culture culture must destroy itself in order to sustain itself displace yourself
from cultural identity essential to the project common community semiotic community cultural ritual choreographic form of community set itself against the religion of what indigenous rights have become stages of how it is performed is a right ritual
being different from law institutional ways of life but with multitude of persons turning to a anti structure communities
of structure sacred holy dissolves the norms that govern indigenous rights/arts concrete and immediate around below social structures participatory community creates compulsory beauty division distribution not structured around the one not only about communications but also discommunicating indigenous rights mediated by the market relation to capital form experience
tied to one that is alienating conform to the commodity form recomposition to confirmed decomposition to the human demolishing humans soil culture humans soil not an object of choreographic practice instance of
choreographic practice contemporary indigenous rights discourse figure of indigenous body citizenship figure for the dancer as such d characterisation of indigenous identity/cultural bound to norms in with with restrictions aesthetic community disconnecting to what the dancer is embodying represents universal body relevance of rights your question not anyone else now in our choreographic practice would we respon keep the indigenous question alive performing unperforming conditions in which we are under in what way am I not performing? existing in the medium global power politics
performing unperforming conditions in which we are under
Dellie Maa – Sápmi Indigenous Film & Art Festival in Daerna/Tärnaby Sweden 17-19/10 is arranged by Marie Persson Njatja, Oskar Östergren, Bauta Film, and Coordinated by Tomas Colbengtsson, Cemipos research centre and other organisations to highlight, spread information and discussing decolonisation through art. I was honoured to be invited as a performance artist and lecturer with Humans & Soil, where I performed my solo developed in AIRY Yamanshi, Japan in 2019. I thank Dans i Västerbotten and Dellie Maa for the support and for Humans & Soil to be able to continue their research here.
The festival is an important platform for Film & Art and freelance artists and organisations with indigenous descent. It is yearly trying to find support to continue this important work, and also be involved with establishing Tärnaby’s Sámi cultural center, Saemien Jarnge Dearnesne. I would encourage all of you who are reading this to show your support by following them on social media and reading the information (links below).
I met artists from Alaska, Greenland, Norway and Sweden – a artist-in-residence programme called Sápmi Salasta. A fairly new residency platform for indigenous research, wit ambition to continue growing up north, and I hope they will succeed with their collaboration with south part of Sweden as well!
In this festival I also premiered with “Human Remains” – a visit to Hokkaido University and its building for experimentation on Ainu remains. The main thematics of our work is to discuss the institutionalised, colonised indigenous body. How it may be represented or not represented within the arts, how we are exposed to non-indigenous fetischism toward ethnic representation, commodification and exploitation of the indigenous body.
It was an emotional journey, strong, hopeless, hopeful. I do feel very motivated to reach out further with my lectures, as I feel now that the performance aspect and the research methods are slowly merging together into one quite valid and strong communication tool.
11-13th of October, Humans & Soil had their first residency – in Hotagen, Jämtland where Marit Shirin Carolasdotter has her Sámi roots, and is also trying to create an art space/meeting point for the surrounding villages and its spiritual people. Participants: Nina Nordvall Vahlberg, Annelie Nederberg, Marit Shirin Carolasdotter.
This area of Sápmi holds a great history of co-existing between artists, spiritual practitioners, farmers, elder and young – with the mountains and wilderness and its nature untouched. We want to keep the joyful spirit of the people in this area by spreading national and international art combined with rural development in this particular area. This residency was on our own initiative, using the space to experiment with sound composing and jojk, voice and dance. It was our first time working together, using improvisation as a method and experimenting with movement and immersive concepts.
The jojk was echoing through the landscape – although we were working inside a conference room at former Hotagens Kurs och Konferensgård. The glittering sounds of metal bowls and coffee grinder was creating a 360 surrounding sound that reminded us of the wild waters of the lake outside the building.
After we started working in the space on Saturday, we noticed the front door of the building and its surrounding walls was covered with moths, spreading their fragile wings safely over the blue-painted walls. We heard that according to the First Nations in Canada, the months are a sign of ancestors blessing you – and indeed we imagined us being warmly welcomed into the old building, maybe even observed from afar.
The space is hopefully going to be developed by our group in collaboration with local businesses or freelance artists within the area – to see if we can highlight the history of Sámi and Swedish culture in Hotagen, and also give the opportunity for South Sámi culture to be more recognised, established and developed through intergenerational work.
Humans & Soil is working toward not only performance works or artistic processes, but also with collaboration on a smaller scale, with focus on spreading information on land rights and indigenous cultural politics through our research and participating in residencies.
In April – May 2019 I was granted an artistic research trip to Kofu and Hokkaido in Japan by the Swedish Art Council. The aim was to start a cultural exchange between Sápmi and the Ainu people of Japan, with dance and music acting as a building bridge between our two cultures. The questions and discourses on body representation within indigenous cultures I found was connected with the historical and current cultural politics in Sweden and Japan, which made this artistic approach to dance and body highly political – feeling a sense of duty to question activism in relation to choreography and academic research. In essence, I was always “the dancer” in my career, meaning, persisting in my passion and desires to move unconditionally and with full dedication to dance as the dancing is – I found quite suddenly that my own cultural identity in being a double minority instead of feeling a part of the majority in Sweden, had to deepen the way I was analysing my moving body. Wether I was moving on instinct, intuition and passion – outliving desires with my movements, I could not help to start thinking about cultural identity and inherited memories of other moving bodies in the past – feeling a sense of inherited trauma – even – from my indigenous background. This is the real birth of my project Humans & Soil.
How does cultural background affect how the body is seen? How is identity connected with self expression and performativity? How do I put myself, the body, in an in-between representation? How is preservation of culture important to indigenous bodies?
Aside from the personal and soulful, I decided that the aim of Humans & Soil would be to collaborate with activists, academics and artists who wanted to question the institutionalised artistic, indigenous processes and instead go to the core of what it means to demand and fight for cultural rights. What influence did we actually have on the struggle and fight for land rights for the Sámi reindeer industry, the repatriation of bones for the Ainu people through artistic processes? Was my research methods really different from the ones used by journalistic practices? Was I turning into a politician, activist, performance artist, a masters student? How do I keep persisting in my desire to dance, retaining the dancing and the work behind being able to dance? How to I keep the dancing from becoming an accessory to my research?
The only way I found to answer those questions was to plan for Humans & Soil to become an organisation.
The organisation project is open to scholars, activists, artists, dancers, school children, operas, institution to take part in analysing, talking, performing, writing, investing and provoking action toward climate adaptation justice, as long as I keep dancing, as long as we keep dancing, and as long as the body is the main source of communication. The humanity, the human and the soil is the body, and the foundation for communication, catalyst and agent for this work.