Nana Francisca Schottländer – diary 2 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
|Gahata poththa wagei (ගහට පොත්ත වගෙයි )||As close to each other as the bark is to the tree trunk.||Describes really close friends/people.|
My days here are so full of impressions. And weirdly random. Lacking an ordering principle I am adrift. A foreigner in a foreign landscape.
At Dodanduwa fishery harbour: A full moon dancing ritual where a troupe of dancers whirled for fishing luck, good weather and incoming money for the fishermen from 8 PM to 5 AM. The dancers and the drummers making their way through intricate rhythms and patterns, offering incense, fire and sweat to the gods in exchange for good fishing fortune. The open walled roof had been transformed into a shrine made from palm leaves and trunks, braided, woven, stuck together to form a sacred space for the ritual to take place. It was teeming with spectators: all ages, all sexes, no tourists. But the ritual was not for them. It was for the gods. And they were witnessing it. As were we. All together.
As the evening proceeded and the dancers went through trances, acrobatics, fire-whirling, bantering, clowning, sex-changing and a whole array of different costumes and props, people watching fell asleep in the plastic chairs. First the children and the elderly, but in the course of the evening people slumped over, still impregnating the ritual with their sleeping presence. Offerings of black tea and crackers revived us momentarily. At 4:30 I had to give up and walk along the empty road towards home until I caught a ride.
At the University of Visual and Performing Arts in Colombo, making a work presentation and talk. Mainly to students from the department of dance. It made sense to show my work to them. To talk about bodies, moving bodies, other-than-human bodies and how we can dance and choreograph spanning species and modes of existence. Talking to the professor, Udagedara Priyantha, about paradise – the historical, the mythical, the lost. Made me think of paradise re-created. What would that be? What would it take?
I will go to the woods near Sigueriya with him and the painting students for 3 days to work in the forest. In paradise….
My nights by the ocean are dark and sweaty. The sound of the waves penetrating my dreams. Some nights I am scared. The ocean sounds too close, menacing somehow. Other nights I am falling into the constant of it. But I relish in the lush quietness by the lagoon. Here my thoughts come together, I find space to breathe, explore, sense. Unfold. Like all the plants.
I realize that it is as much my own reservation as the expectations of others, that separate me from people here. I find it hard to accept my privilege, what it makes of me here. I am almost ashamed of it. No feeling of entitlement, on the the contrary. Wanting to hide, blend in, disappear in the masses.
I am trying to slide into my encounters, trusting that the people I meet are exactly right. Without knowing yet, what meaning we will create together. Like Sunil and his wife, who want to teach me to cook coconut sambal.
Each person, each encounter represents a road I can travel down. I have to be the one daring to do so. Curiously. Politely. Honestly.
All these threads, thoughts and words.
Skin tone, camouflage, dance, material explorations, exchanges, encounters, fear, curiosity.
I will try to make the words come together.