Souvnans has become a large part of my body of work. After my first visit, I edited a 10-minute experimental video while taking a video editing class with Hilja Keading at the University of California at Riverside as an MFA student in experimental choreography. I keep this video unlisted on my YouTube channel because I only want people to access it who have heard more about my motivations for creating it and the context from which the material comes. The video project was driven by my intention to portray the intimacies present in my experience at Souvnans. I was struck by the intimacy between the Vodou practitioners as well as the fervor expressed in their spiritual practices and beliefs. My experience within the choreographed intimacy of bodies practicing Vodou as well as my everyday intimate experiences with the landscape and people motivated the short film. I carry the memory traces of the embodied enactments at Souvnans with me and have choreographed them into a ten-minute digital memory that seeks to expose the politics of intimacy and difference within my experience. These are stills from the video (below).
More information from my first trip to Souvnans can be found here. Forthcoming publications exploring the relationship of landscape, ritual choreography, and collective embodied memory include:
- “The Sacred Mapou: Routes of Memory in the Haitian Vodou Ceremony of Souvnans,” submitted August 2015 for inclusion in the anthology, Dancing the African Diaspora, edited by Dr. Thomas DeFrantz, Duke University.
“Roots/Routes/Rasin: Rural Vodou and the Sacred Tree as Metaphor for the Multiplicity of Styles in Folkloric Dance and Mizik Rasin,” chapter submitted March 2015 for inclusion in forthcoming Vodou in the Haitian Experience: A Black Atlantic Perspective, edited by Dr. Celucien Joseph, Lexington Books; Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.