Dance of Communal Inquiry

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Dance of Communal Inquiry
Workshop by Onyeka Igwe
Location: 8-Eleven, 233 Spadina Ave.
Date: April 22, 2015, 8PM

If we were to approach vibe as a technology of communal production, what is its interface? 

In dancing together we construct a vibe. The vibe is “an active communal force, a feeling, a rhythm that is created by the mix of dancers, the balance of loud music, the effects of darkness and light, the energy” (Sally Sommer). When the vibe is “right” we communicate with our bodies—outside of language. The vibe is ephemeral and momentary and seemingly impossible to capture. 

African epistemologies have utilised this: ‘dance, w[as]…used to petition ancestral spirits, to document histories of rebellion and resistance, as narratives of intergenerational memory, to promote psychosocial healing, or a combination of all” (Emma Dabiri). The vibe constructed from these collective instances of freely being together has produced social reality from James Baldwin’s post-party writing practices to African slaves ecstatic and cathartic dances in Congo Square that bore Jazz music.

What new possibilities can follow if we attempt to construct vibe as a technology of communal production? How can we transfer this into everyday life and the complex structures of politics, society and culture? This workshop facilitates the construction of a vibe and documentation of its products. Participants will be provided with some constituent materials: a basement room, lights, smoke machine, and music but also encouraged to contribute their own—be that fresh fruit or reading materials. They then play with these materials, augmenting or subtracting elements in order to establish the embodied, utopian, communal and ephemeral vibe. The workshop will be documented both externally and by the participants themselves in order to serve as a concurrent deconstruction of the process.

What to bring:

  • Items that have contributed to a feeling of being alone together, for example music on a USB stick, lights and lamps, items of clothing, consumables, etc.
  • Devices to capture moments of communal production: pen, paper, cameras, phones. etc.

Onyeka Igwe is an artist filmmaker from London, UK, currently living and working in Toronto. She studied at Goldsmiths College for a Masters in non-fiction filmmaking. She came to video from a radical political activist experience, hoping to develop filmmaking practice as a way of doing politics. Her work is dominated by a preoccupation with the physical body and geographical place as sites of cultural and political meaning. She has screened at festivals and in galleries across the UK and Europe such as Guildhall Art Gallery, BFI, V&A, London Film Festival and Planete+Doc Warsaw. She has been involved in the LimaZulu gallery and project space since 2011.

Note: the location of the workshop is not wheelchair accessible. 

This workshop is part of Trinity Square Video’s Sci-Fi series SHOWINGS. It follows a presentation on Afrofuturist storytelling by Camille Turner at Trinity Square. Workshop participants are welcome to either join for Camille’s 6:30pm presentation at TSV (401 Richmond St. West – Suite 376) and walk with us to 8-Eleven, or just meet at 8-Eleven in time for the workshop.


SHOWINGS is programmed by Trinity Square Video’s Curatorial Research Resident, Maiko Tanaka. For inquiries, please contact: maikojtanaka@gmail.com

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