Roland Gunst_John K Cobra / Moussem
SPIRIT CAPITAL The Seat of Memory
29.09 – 30.09.2021
SPIRIT CAPITAL refers to an object from the Congolese Luba tradition: a wooden headrest, usually with two identical female figures at its base. These objects serve as places of memory, they are bearers of spirit and history.
Two female, outwardly identical performers move through the theatre space. The scene evokes the 'Tropical Bungalow', a dwelling installed by the colonial in Congo and arranged according to the principle of 'zoning': the space for movement of white (the colonial residents) and black (the local domestic staff) was strictly separated. The so-called 'boys', the black boys who worked there, began to copy and adopt the behaviour and style of the white ruler. It was the beginning of 'Sapology' or 'la SAPE': a liberation strategy of Congolese dandies, a counter-culture that resisted the spatial, social and racial division of bodies by the colonial rulers.
SPIRIT CAPITAL transforms the stage into a ritualised place and invites you on a spatial and mental journey where historically oppressed bodies can shed the chains of history and liberate themselves through movement, words, sounds, music and outward transformations.
• Roland Gunst a.k.a. John K Cobra, is a conceptual artist, film maker and musician of Belgian-Congolese (D.R.C.) descent, living and working between Belgium and South Africa. In his films, performances and objects he experiments with hybrid identities and Afro-European stories, from an autobiographical perspective and as a reaction to conflicts and tensions between black Africa and the white West. He previously appeared in the Kaaiprogramme with the lecture performance De heerschappij van het Afropeanisme. Spirit Capital, his latest performance, was made in residence at Moussem Nomadic Arts Centre.
‘Domination must envelop the subjugated, the colonised, and maintain them in a more or less permanent state of trance, intoxication, and convulsion so that they are incapable of thinking lucidly for themselves.’ – Achille Mbembe
concept & direction Roland Gunst_John K Cobra | choreography Moya Michael | performers Doris Bokongo Nkumu & Nathalie Bokongo Nkumu (Les Mybalés | text Roland Gunst_John K Cobra & Esther Severi | dramaturgy Esther Severi | narrator Maravilha Munto | soundscape Laryssa Kim | scenery & light design Stef Stessel | scenography & costumes Andrea Kränzlin | technique Pieter Kint | costumes Andrea Kränzlin | production John K Cobra institute of Videoartfacts, Moussem Nomadisch Kunstencentrum | co-production Kaaitheater, deSingel, Kunstencentrum Voo?uit, d e t h e a t e r m a k e r | support de Vlaamse Gemeenschap, de VGC, de Algemene Afvaardiging van de Vlaamse Regering in zuidelijk Afrika & SABAM | thanks to Arsenaal/Lazarus, Latitudes Art Fair, The Centre for the Less Good Idea