Embodied Archive

A performative paper which examines the African proverb ‘When an elder dies, it is a library burning’.

I am currently preparing to give a performative paper at the 2020 DRHA, titled ‘Curating Embodied experiences: Percipients as conscious prosumers in the 21st Century’. The theme for the 2020 DRHA conference is ‘Situating Digital Curation: Locating Creative Practice and Research between Digital Humanities and the Arts’. This edition of the DRHA conference was to be hosted by the Digital Curation Lab at the University of Salford’s Media-City UK campus this Sept 2020; however due to the coronavirus, the restriction means that this edition of the DRHA conference will be an online only event.

My paper will be a reflective analysis surrounding the concepts of two projects that I am collaborating in. My argument starts with these important questions. The ubiquitous nature of Digital Curation, is fast becoming the excepted way for managers, overseers and keepers of cultural heritage, to remember the work of the ancestors and the living, for the unborn. Now that everyone can be and be seen as a digital curator, some crucial question have to be asked. What are we remembering? Whose ancestral discourses are being remembered? With what frameworks are our multiple heritages being remembered through? This performative paper will examine the Africa proverb ‘When an Elder dies, it is a library burning’. This proverb assumes the Elder as embodied archive, suggesting that the responsibility of individuals, when they get older, is to curate, organise and share their experiences and memories for future generations.

I will be exploring this concept of embodied archive through two curatorial piece of theatre that I am involved in.

The Divination Palace is a collaboration with the project leads, Jim Parris and Xumo Nunjo.  It will be an immersive participatory installation for the 101 centre in Newbury. inspired by the philosophy of Ifa (the Yoruba oracle) and their Orishas (Yoruba divinities), as well as the practice of divination and traditional West African visual art.

Congress: A citizens’ assembly will be created by All The Queens Men, where untold voices from the contemporary world are curated. It will take place in Salisbury Cathedral. This is the first time that they will have performed their piece outside Australia. Their website states that; ‘This citizens’ assembly connects the personal with the political. Community citizen Speakers are matched with professional Wordsmiths. Together, they collaborate to write and deliver ‘first political speeches’ I am one of the ‘Wordsmiths’.