Video for Chöre und Soli, Performance Workshop with Käthe Kruse at the Muthesius Kunsthochschule, Kiel, September 2013.
On the ground is the head of a fan, over which the artist is bowed, silently. A conversation takes place offscreen. The female voice is complimented on her English by the male voice. She begins to explain that she is a native speaker, and gives a tedious history of the Caribbean. She is constantly interrupted by the male voice, reiterating loudly and enthusiastically that her English is very good.
In tandem with the beginning of this speech, artist begins to sing softly into the face of the fan. Her voice is distorted by the artificially produced wind.
The conversation ends awkwardly, but the artist continues to sing. Her voice and the fan’s distortions increase in volume and intensity.
These words are what she would like to say when complimented on her English. She knows that most people are uninformed about the Caribbean, about the mix of languages and cultures. She knows that Caribbean people often lack the articulation to be able to explain that their origins are not in Africa, India, America, Great Britain or Europe.
She knows that she must explain herself, explain her skin colour and her cultural roots. She knows that she must validate the post-post-Colonial Caribbean as a place of genuine Origin.
But she is, underneath the politeness and understanding and the geography and history lectures, very insulted. She is hurt that her ancestors had their own battles against serious problems like slavery and illiteracy, and that she is left as the bizarre Mischkind of greed, violence and retribution. She wants to insult everyone else in the way in which they insult her by complimenting her English. She is also ashamed of herself for carefully neutralising her English, now bare of any melodic Caribbean accent, when speaking to Europeans,
Her most powerful words are in Trinidad creole, which are ironically lost on the European ear. She screams and curses and her voice begins to break.
‚Boy, you could go and haul your stinkin, dutty, fuckin Muddacunt‘
She tells the male voice that he should go suck his mother’s stinking, dirty cunt. This order, this retaliation is lost when she sings it into the distorting