Zamah Nkonyeni is interrogating and researching the psychosomatic effects of tragedy and loss on black wom[x]n with a particular focus on Sexual Gender Based Violence. She makes use of Theatre Voice to explore how the plurality of voice can be engaged as a vehicle for expression, self-making and self-narration.
In this work, Nkonyeni looks at the idea of refusal, cycles and circulations. In particular, her engagement with somatic circulations in her ongoing research into somatic/voice exploration, tragedy and loss and, black womxnhood. The ubiquitous cycle of life and death with its disparities was a beginning point for her.
This video presentation has been removed at the request of the artist.
This project is another metaphoric manifestation of my research interests that are located in the area of performance voice studies, with focus on black womxnhood and its relationship to violence, and tragedy and loss. I am particularly interested in using voice as a vehicle through which sonic and embodied expression can be used to contribute towards an autonomous experience of self. This can then inform the investigation of the transcendence of the social power (Johnson, 2018) prescribed to black womxn. That will, in turn, serves as an impulse through which the performance of violence can be explored in a manner that aims to bear witness without retraumatising and without maintaining a historical sociopolitical bias (Craps, 2013; Hutchison, 2013).
In my medium project, I was again brought to the idea of cycles and circulations. In particular, my engagement with somatic circulations fed by my research's investigation of Somatic/Voice exploration; Tragedy and Loss and; black womxnhood. The ubiquitous cycle of life and death with its disparities was a beginning point for me. For instance, the cycle continues through time and we live and perform ourselves through this cycle with hopes that some of the habits and survival skills we adopt, repeat and sometimes hide reap positive results. Sometimes this becomes doing the same thing, over and over, in hopes of a different result. That has also been said to be the definition of insanity.
With this in mind, I suppose I have tapped into a kind of insanity in my project. I engage with an idea of what it means to embody trauma that is either inherited and or personal (Blackstone,2018). The repetition and cycles are not only personal but they strive towards some type of different and positive outcome. I do this as a way of engaging with the possibility of transcending the prevailing or proverbial tragedy of black womxnhood and its precarity. This then also translates into how I work with violence and violated bodies as (re)presented on stage.
Still image: Zamah Nkonyeni's project. Photograph courtesy of the artist.
Institute for Creative Arts
University of Cape Town
Private Bag X3