House, House (2020)
A durational site-specific work by Lesiba Mabitsela and Lorin Sookool.
Installed at the Molly Blackburn Hall on Thursday 17th March 2022 and completed on Friday 18th March 2022.
Lorin Sookool is a South African formally trained dance artist with an interdisciplinary practice encompassing performance, sound, film, installation, costuming, as well as facilitation. Her work is informed by an interest in exploring the role of the artist in contemporary society. Moving in and out of public and private spaces, her work is often participatory in nature.
Sookool often explores complex South African socio-political themes, with a focus on situations of racial, gendered, systemic and institutionalised violence. Sookool’s artistic practice and creative trajectory has its roots in practice-based research that is intuitive in nature and has an emergent design. It follows a process-based approach that searches for the relationship between personal and collective themes, thereby becoming a reflective, reflexive, subject-centred practice.
Over the past few weeks conceptualising our project for the UCT Works of Art Committee we have forefronted our exploration of trauma. We have particularly proposed the idea of returning to our childhoods as possible catalysts of our trauma as adults. Like Augusto Boal we are particularly interested in the capacity for games, as process and methodology in theatre-making as resistance, as healing. Can the games we played as children possibly illustrate, declutter and cleanse the trauma left behind in the shadows? The ash left behind from the trauma of fire?
With games, we often learn harsh realities of life such as in ‘musical chairs’, and explore various forms of performing adulthood, problem-solving, and of intimacy through ‘playing house’. These are classic games made from banal objects, gestures or activities, such as laying bricks, hand-washing laundry, sweeping the courtyard, etc.
We have since refined our ideas down to a tighter marriage between expression and content which has required us to rethink the staging/location of the performance. We have also chosen to view this process of exchange that we have encountered, as collaborating artists, as a possible format for the performance. The distance between us has encouraged two open-ended responses to the idea of trauma which has ironically created more intimate exchange. What was highlighted and what we want to continue to talk about is the burden of trauma and how we as artists from different backgrounds and within predetermined social hierarchies share similar ideas of carrying generational burdens of trauma.
This revision has also highlighted the importance of technology in the process of collaboration, including technology's role in the transference of trauma as is the case with hashtag movements and call-out culture. Therefore the physical and the digital have emerged as possible homes to work with. The chosen location, Molly Blackburn Hall, also brings us very close to discussions surrounding Cape Town’s homeless, the student occupation of Avenue Hall aka Azania House and the foreign citizen allegedly blamed for the fire that went on to devastatingly deplete the African Studies library on UCT upper campus as abject bodies. On the one hand, these instances continue to remain as reminders of Apartheid’s spacial planning still in existence today and on the other a show of defiance by being present in the face of trauma.
As a result, we have installed ourselves, close in proximity to the UCT Library, not to insight any form of violence but rather to promote healing. Our aim was to share our thoughts and processes whilst periodically under the observation of live broadcasts on social media platforms. Apart from the tools offered to us via the internet, Zoom or social media, we do not directly interact with each other, whilst being present in the very same room carrying out our activities in isolation when not in conversation. These experiments include movement, domestic activities, making and fitting clothes, writing notes, or hosting intimate zoom discussions.