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Report Tabita Rezaire Lecture and Screening, 5 Oct. 2017

Koen Leurs, Domitilla Olivieri and Michiel de Lange organized a Lecture and Screening with media artist Tabita Rezaire on Oct. 5 2017 in Parnassos Utrecht. The session is titled Decolonial trinity: technologies of the spiritual, erotic and politics. Tabita Rezaire introduced and discussed her video work for an hour, followed by a 30 minute Q&A session.

 

About Tabita Rezaire
Tabita Rezaire (see: link) is a French – of Guyanese and Danish descent – video artist, health-tech-politics practitioner, and Kemetic/ Kundalini Yoga teacher based in Johannesburg. Tabita’s practices unearth the possibilities of decolonial healing through the politics of technology. Navigating architectures of power – online and offline – her work tackles the pervasive matrix of coloniality and its affects on technology, sexuality, health and spirituality. Through screen interfaces and energy streams, her digital healing activism offers substitute readings to dominant narratives decentering occidental authority and preaches to dismantle our oppressive white-supremacist-patriarchal-cis-hetero-globalized world screen. Tabita is a founding member of the artist group NTU, half of the duo Malaxa, and mother of the house of SENEB. She is represented by the Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg. In 2016, Tabita was a resident at the Utrecht Impakt Festival (see: link).

As a critical artist questioning existing orders and structures, Rezaire states “most of my work is about rewriting narratives”.

Rezaire spoke of the conceptual triad that underpins her work: technologyspirituality – the erotic. These three aspects structured the works that he showed.

[tech] Deep down tidal

DEEP DOWN TIDAL, HD video, 18m44s, 2017, Commissioned for Citizen X – Human, Nature and Robots Rights by Oregaard Museum, Denmark

This is a video work on link between internet infra and colonialist expansion. Themes addressed include for instance the material underpinnings of hegemonies embedded in architecture, like the fibre optic cables between mostly western territories as areas of power. Strikingly, Rezaire notes that some of these follow historical slave routes.

 

[spirit] Premium connect

PREMIUM CONNECT, HD video, 13m04s, 2017, Commissioned by Impakt @EMARE, Netherlands

This work explores the striking parallels Rezaire observes between the history of computer science and African divination, as a way to question ‘rational’ west versus ‘irrational’ south. Rezaire traces the origins of the binary system in the Yoruba Ifá divination system.

[erotic] Sugar Wall Teardom –

SUGAR WALLS TEARDOM, Hd video, 21m30s, 2016, Video Installation celebrating and remembering the legacy of Black womxn’s genitalia in the advancement of science and technology. 2016

Rezaire notes that the erotic is demonized in society. Through this work she wants to pit sexual energy against this deeply ingrained idea as being instead a creative force, a healing force.

 

Tabita Rezaire will expand her lecture into a chapter called “Decolonial trinity: technologies of the spiritual, erotic and politic” for the SAGE Handbook on Media and Migration, edited by Koen Leurs & Radhika Gajjala (Bowling Green State University), Myria Georgiou (London School of Economics), Saskia Witteborn (Chinese University of Hong Kong) and Kevin Smets (Vrije Universiteit Brussel).

 

Tabita Rezaire (b.1989, Paris) is a French – of Guyanese and Danish descent – video artist, health-tech-politics practitioner and Kemetic/ Kundalini Yoga teacher based in Johannesburg. She holds a Bachelor in Economics (Paris) and a Master in Artist Moving Image from Central Saint Martins College (London). Rezaire’s practices unearth the possibilities of decolonial healing through the politics of technology. Navigating architectures of power – online and offline – her work tackles the pervasive matrix of coloniality and its affects on identity, technology, sexuality, health and spirituality.

Through screen interfaces, her digital healing activism offers substitute readings to dominant narratives decentering occidental authority, while her energy streams remind us to resist, (re)connect, and remember.

Recent publications include Afro cyber resistance: South African Internet art, which appeared in the journal Technoetic Arts in 2014. In 2017, she presented her first solo show Exotic Trade at the Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg. She has curated screenings and led spiritual technology workshops worldwide. Artsy declared her among the ‘emerging artists to watch for in 2017’, Artnet among the ‘international Black artists of 2016’, and True Africa amid the ‘top opinion makers of the African continent in 2015’