With every night in my dreams (early cameroon) Findlay//Sandsmark continue their interest in examining ideas around personal origin and how a place can leave an imprint on the body and the senses. This time the work takes impulse from the childhood of Marit Sandsmark, reflecting on her first eight years of living in Ngaoundere, Cameroon where she was born as a child of Norwegian Christian missionaries.
The small rural town of Ngaoundere is today the home for over a million people where ninety percent are refugees from surrounding wars. The town, culture and people Marit knew as a child has undergone overwhelming change and the global economic system we live off continues to ravage Africa.
How does one recall one’s past, filled with so much love in the context of a void that feels impossible and unapproachable, and at the same time seems so necessary to address and understand?
In her essay “Troubling Time/s and ecologies of noThingness: Turning, re-membering, and facing The incalculable” (2018), American theorist Karen Barad writes: “[T]o think through what possibilities remain open for an embodied re-membering of the past which, against the colonialist practices of erasure and avoidance and the related desire to set time aright, calls for thinking a certain undoing of time; a work of mourning more accountable to, and doing justice to, the victims of ecological destruction and of racist, colonialist, and nationalist violence, human and otherwise – those victims who are no longer there, and those yet to come. This task is related to rethinking the notion of the void”
The project was initially meant to include a research trip and exchange with Cameroon, but in the light of pandemic lockdown and imposed immobility outwards we made a journey inwards. The project found its starting point by imagining and exploring other possible ways of relating by collectively addressing the void. During the process people of different ages and backgrounds were invited to take part in a meditation practice, using a strategy to imagine how we can relate in non-physical ways. By removing the gaze, and working with our eyes closed, our imagined state manifested itself in clay, becoming objects that resemble all the different non-bodies and voices that shared this journey with us. The performance continues this interest in sharing, and offers a collective space to acknowledge and enter this impossible void by way of collecting multiple layers, memories and fragments.
every night in my dreams unfolds as a performance installation with a choreographic center, practicing the ability to listen and embody states explored through ritual and hypnotic experience, finding their way into clay objects, circling and flickering lights and shadows, patterns, shapes and colors, tactile sounds and not the least, in the body of the solo performer as she negotiates and interacts with the landscape.
Findlay//Sandsmark (F//S) is a Stavanger, Norway based performance company working across the disciplines of dance, theater, live music and video art in a collaborative and collective effort. Over the past few years they have created several productions in the borderland between performing arts and installation, bending connections and correlations over disciplines to create live art which resonates from a physical and emotional plane. In that brief time, they have made several large scale performances including most recently- biograph, last year was pretty/shitty (2014), o’ death (2015/2016), (re)remember study (2016/2017), returner (2017), lowlands (florida) (2019) and every night in my dreams (early Cameroon) (2021). This work has been presented in regular collaboration in Norway with Black Box teater in Oslo, Bit Teatergarasjen in Bergen, and Avant Garden in Trondheim, and internationally at PS 122 Coil Festival and Abrons Arts Center in New York, On the Boards, Seattle, Wexner Center in Columbus, and Charlotte Street, Kansas City. They are also behind the platform/space RIMI/IMIR SceneKunst in Stavanger, Norway where they have a full time production studio in an old boat factory/ grocery store as well as programming guest artists.
The performance contains strobe light