Nana Francisca Schottländer – diary 1 from residency in Sri Lanka
Performance artist Nana Francisca Schottländer is artist-in-residence for six weeks in Sri Lanka at Sura Medura. This site-specific residency takes place as part of Metropolis’ partnership with the In Situ network.
Follow Nana Francisca’s work, thoughts and experiences in her diary here. And in 2020, you can experience Nana Francisca’s work in Copenhagen as part of Metropolis.
Diary by Nana Francisca Schottländer
“Visiting is not an easy practice; it demands the ability to find others actively interesting, even or especially others most people already claim to know all too completely, to ask questions that one’s interlocutors truly find interesting, to cultivate the wild virtue of curiosity, to retune one’s ability to sense and respond – and to do all this politely! […] Curiosity always leads its practitioners af bit too far off the path, and that way lie stories.
[…this] sort of politeness does the energetic work of holding open the possibility that surprise are in store, that somethinginteresting is about to happen, but only if one cultivates the virtue of letting those one visits intra-actively shape what occurs. They are not who/what we expected to visit, and we are not who/what were anticipated either. Visiting is a subject- and object-making dance, and the choreographer is a trickster. Asking questions comes to mean both asking what another finds intriguing and also how learning to engage that changes everybody in unforeseeable ways.”
(Donna Haraway: ‘Staying With the Trouble – Making Kin in the Chthulucene’)
I’ve been here 4 days now.
Landed in the humid night for a drive through the darkness from Colombo to Dodandura. Dogs sleeping like little hairy mounds by and on the road. People getting up before the break of dawn to get ready for a new day’s work.
Arriving to the villa by the lagoon, going to sleep in my mosquito tent.
The next few days exploring: the banks of the lagoon, the fishermen’s harbor and its rocks with crabs, sea urchins and jumping fish. A fishing boat with a swedish prayer for good luck as a name. Local fishermen having a party, drumming, singing and drinking arrack. Wanting to invite me for dinner, for sailing, for walking.
Walking along the coast and home along the train tracks. Everything so lush. So green. So rich. Local women picking jasmine flowers for Buddha, drying their washing on the rocks by the tracks. Dogs, children…
Hello madam, how are you?
How am I?
Everything is foreign, I even become foreign to myself. My skin color sets me apart. Makes me into something other. I struggle with that. Wanting to blend in, to become invisible and quietly make my way around to explore, see, meet, and exchange. Beyond skin color. And money. Trying to find a meaningful point to work from. Maybe it starts with accepting the foreignness, around me and within me.
I found treasures by the lagoon. Seeds, nuts, flowers, shells. I begin by encountering them, body to body, flesh to flesh – spanning species. Making this an entry point. First contact.
My initial idea for the project here is to learn to sing the sound of the water in 3 different locations and then sing the sound of one place to another – ideally together with 3 or 4 others. There are intellectual thoughts and theories behind my project. Eco- and hydrofeminist approaches to species and connectedness. But as I am the only resident here at this time, I have to find ways of involving locals in the project. I’m not sure it will make sense to them. And then what’s the point…?
I want what I do here, to be of value to others.
What can I do? What can I create, which has value to the people here? How can I ask meaningful questions that makes new sense to both me and the people, I encounter?
All these questions. No answers today.
Hopefully the next weeks will bring me closer – to people and answers.