Performance by Nathalie Anguezomo Mba Bikoro and Gilles Aubry for the Tuned City Festival 2018, Ancient Messene, Greece
The artists re-examine the entangled histories of German colonialism in West Africa, botanic and mineral sciences, and ancient Greek civilization in order to create a new performance for the wrestling area (palaestra) on the archeological site of Ancient Messene. Departing from the amphitheaters built by German settlers in Cameroon, Senegal and Gabon at the end of the 19th century for recreational purposes, they follow the multiple traces of writer and botanist Adelbert von Chamisso, whose famous novel (The Man With No Shadow, 1814) was performed in such theaters, and who’s name was re-appropriated locally as an imaginary Goddess, named Chamissona. These historical and imaginary voices come to populate Aubry & Bikoro’s performative sound field, together with those of healing plants, African parrots mimicking German voices, conceptual radio antennas and African voices from German colonial sound archives. In their performance Black Anthenna they invite the audience to become actively part of a process of decolonial wrestling and sonic healing, paying also a tribute to Martin Bernal’s theses on the Afroasiatic roots of classical civilization expressed in his book (Black Athena, 1987).