Update from Qudus' blog

Oct 8, 2008

DO WE NEED COLA COLA TO DANCE?

-THE ART FORM -

DANCE, CIRCUS, STREET PERFORMANCE, PHOTOGRAPHY, AUDIO VISUAL and ELECTROACOUSTIC MUSIC. 
All these art-forms are what this project reunites into one. 

-THE PROJECT-

All photos by Emeka Okereke
The Artwork is disseminated into two phases, the first phase of the project was the touring of an outdoor performance in Six countries of Africa with a team of five, amongst which are 2 performers, 1 sound artist, 1 photographer and 1 video artist, during the tour we also had the opportunity of meeting and talking to professionals in the arts world, asking questions, trying to structure a future for ourselves as young professionals. The second phase of the project was to return to the studio in France with all the visual materials we were able to acquire during the tour, and came up with a documentary film titled "DO WE NEED COLA COLA TO DANCE?".


-ARTISTRY- 
The project rallies around Dance which is the centre of attraction here, and as it was showcased mostly in public spaces and performed by performers who at a time, posseses the skills of dancing, juggling, acrobatics and hand standing. It broke into the frontiers of street theatre. Meanwhile, the happenings were absolutely un-official; no posters, no info, even we didn't necessarily know where the next performance spot might be, just like in ancient traveling theaters. This "piece", more of improvisation, is to be an alternative artform to the traditional exhibition of dance in the theatre, it creates its own context, since there are few or no ready made theatre venues or audience to begin with, and there is only a few practice of alternative movements in the continent today, the coming to life of this project is not to insert a new style into existing buildings, nor enticing already formed audience away from existing venues, but just to be involved in a special broad oppositional art experiment. The Project is an artistic expression and declaration of our engagement in a structural development that is in the making, as well as our responsibility as artistes for change, it is a sincere laboratory experimentation of an existing theory. Our reference points or case study could be coming from dance and cinematographic perspective, but its a valid element for development using alternative measures.

-INTENT-

I thought of taking contemporary dance to “NON CONVENTIONAL” spaces and locations where the growing art network could not get to, be it public or private surroundings who are yet to discover the theatre for the purpose of Dance, as an avenue of crossing the borders that exists between artists and the audience, as well as formation of a local market and audiences structure. This first attempt took us on a journey across the African continent, around six countries, each from the different regions of the African continent including;Nigeria, Egypt, SouthAfrica, Mozambique, Kenya and Cameroon.



-TARGETS-

The first phase of the project was already two faced in terms of targets, it first seeks to cross the borders of our traditional four wall performances in the theatre space, to go in the pursuit of the populace, i decided to spread this research into three similar locations in 6 cities in Africa (Lagos, Cairo, Johannesburg, Maputo, Nairobi and Yaoundé), organize happenings in public spaces varying from market places to malls, university surroundings to the beach, bus stops and boat terminals as well as the corners of the streets and other unimagined available spaces that could accommodate such manifestation. One important criteria we put into consideration is the possibility of balancing the gaps, by making sure that our happening travels from the locality of the low income earners to the rich quarters and also the young intellectual sects in the educational institutions, in order to have a broader view to this issue. The echo of such project already travels around, and in its own special way inspires a handful of professionals who saw it as a fundamental step towards concrete and logical development. 

The second phase which is the documentary film that followed such manifestation, the film is primarily directed to issues affecting the continent's arts world, but its primary audience lies amongst the young creators and the art's students anywhere in the world, which in no way limits its influential capacity to other domains and aspect of human development, which is more of the reasons why our diffusion cuts across different horizons, aiming at being part of the tours of my presently created solo piece, film festivals in the African world, Dance film festivals, documentary film festivals, alternative film festivals, libraries, schools, museums, cultural centers and all other imagined venues suitable for such presentation.

-AUDIO VISUALS- 
Our approach to the documentary film that emmanate from this tour, is powered by the juvenile energy we are presently bestowed with, by nature we ask ourselves questions about the future as much as we inquire from the older generation, a detailed account of their time for a better comprehention of our tomorrow. This film in its own special way sways between dance, interviews, reasoning, people and politics, aimed to combine entertainment with database, discussion, socio-political proposals, recommendations and policies of culture. Primarily committed to bringing about actual changes in specific communities towards arts and culture. All actions, aesthetics and pragmatics, stories and documentary explored in this film – are inscribed with questions of fundamental importance to the freedom of the young professionals. However, our choice of research was guided by a more fundamental impulse than the quest for mere traveling and performing.

-MESSAGE-

This will perhaps send messages, meet the youth and young creators at their point of hunger, the young generation is hungry for life, we so wish to break bounds and go beyond the line drawn by the older generation, we jump on every thing that comes, and in a life where everything goes, we get confused about what to hold on to, Religion? Culture? Or the Media...? We imbibe the new culture and migrate easily towards easy life, run away from our social responsibilities and these will only lead to a further destruction of our nullifying "Self". Therefore as we seek this freedom, we however need a guideline.

-ADDRESSING FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION CONTRAVENTION-

This project is first an imagined solution to a very personal issue that bothers my soul as a young African creator, it speaks the mind of many youth of this 21st century, and breaks the bridge between the artist and his audience and vice versa.

I happen to be one of those trained as dancers in an environment where all inconveniencies and risks were involved, yet survived it, it however gives my originality and identity at the end. i proceeded to study in France where all began to appear as two realities apart, just as the north and south pole, this project was then borne out of my introspection on where i was coming from. This refusal to go back to my locality with all foreign influence, becoming a dictatorial artiste who can no longer perform without a theatre well acclimatized with perfect technicalities and constitution, yet wishing so hard to have the same conditions and structures in Nigeria, as i presently enjoy in France, in order to give credibility to this art form by inspiring confidence in local audience and youth interested in taking up this art-forms.

-IMPACT ON HUMAN RIGHT ISSUE-

I strongly believe that there's a powerful connection between artists of all kinds and human rights. Artist and activist sometimes stand up against the establishment to say what needs to be said in the name of humanity. Artists are a leading voice for freedom - and for this project, it is freedom from fear, such fearless project could get us into trouble, but truth comes out of the light that we brought and the powerful often fear this. 
The French cultural centre and other international organizations has claimed a complete authority over the circumstances at which we operate contemporary dance locally, so the need to break bounds and refusal to hegemony brought about this project. This artwork communicates across boundaries of geography, politics, gender, race, cross all divides and belong to every individual in those public spaces.
Freedom of expression is vital for an artist's work and the human rights activist works to protect that very right and in the end the relationship is more fundamental. We experienced art together with our audience, it makes us feel human, and moves us to protect the human rights of others. Everyone has a voice and should use it... No one sees the world in exactly the same way, no one sees the world through the same eyes as I do, nobody will see how i think and feel about the world unless i express it in some way. The interactive moments we shared with our audience was another means of getting closer to them, I was ready to hear their stories as much as they might like to hear mine. This can awaken their consciousness in a way politics or radical activism may not, this on the other hand inspires both fellow artistes and our audience, give self-confidence to people who believe in something but feel that they are alone. 


FOR THE TRAILER OF DO WE NEED COLA-COLA TO DANCE VISIT:http://vimeo.com/1718985.

5 comments:

  1. qudus keep up the good work,you're not just a perfomer but you are passing a vital information across AFRICA and i know in no time u'll be one of the greatest in Africa if not the best and ready to receive a nobel prize soon in future.thumb up for uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu.

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  2. Dear Qudus,

    It is nice to see how active and focused you are in your work
    I wish you the best for the accomplishment of your projects
    Peharps we will cross next week
    have a nice day

    take care
    Fatou

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  3. hey this is very interesting as an artist i find it very interesting as it also challengies the large community/sociaty in public spaces.

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  4. Thanks Qudus,
    I enjoyed the presentation. How's your career faring?
    Warm regards.
    YOMI

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