sanctum I reveals & amplify the kinaesthetic and emotional struggle of silenced yet complicit women bound by the cultural practice of FGM – female genital mutilation. The dance videos attempt to elicit empathetic responses from the viewer to this Human Rights issue and reveal the power of the moving images as experiential and embodied.
1) National Review of Live Art – 13 February 2009, Tramway, Glasgow, Scotland
2) Montage video dance festival - 07 March 2009, FNB Dance Umbrella, Johannesburg
3) JOMBA! Contemporaty Dance Festival 28 & 29 April 2009, Sneddon Theatre, Durban
4) Moves09 Africa! International Festival of Movement on Screen - 27 April 2009, Manchester & UK
5) Baltoppen Theatre looped on TV Monitor in Foyer – Ballerup, Denmark
6) DANCE:FILM 09 Filmhouse, Dance with Camera, Filmhouse , 23rd May 2009 13.30 Edinburgh, Scotland
7) Jomba! 28 & 29 April 2009, Sneddon Theatre, Durban, South Africa
8) National Arts Festival, 09 July 2009 – Olive Schreiner Building, Grahamstown, S Africa
9) Africa in Motion film estival, Edinburgh African Film Festival, Thu 29 Oct, Edinburgh College of Art, Edinburgh, Scotland, Lauriston Place, Main Lecture Theatre
10) Danish Film Institute for Dansens Dage at Cinemateket, Gothersgade 55, Copenhagen, Denmark. 29 April 2010
11)British Film Institute, South Bank - South African Cinema at the BFI South Bank, London, UK, 08 May 2010
12) PLArTFORMA Klaipeda, Lithuania the middle of September 2010
13) GIPCA & Baxter Dance and Film Festival. Cape Town July 2012
14) ACCRA [dot] ALT The 5th Annual CHALE WOTE Street Art Festival, James Town, Accra Ghana. August 22 -23, 2015
15) Bodily Undoing: Somatic Activism and Performance Cultures as Practices of Critique. 16-17 Sept 2017 Bath Spa University.
I tried to use the “carnivorous camera” with a carnal appetite to penetrate the personal space of the dancer, devour, draw out and pull through the emotional and kinaesthetic qualities of the moving body, all the fleshy moving parts: the visceral, the endocrinal, the neural, the sensory, the muscular and the proprioceptive. The “carnivorous camera” becomes an audience’s extended prosthesis making them connect with the sense of their own visceral physical concrete selves. Through this predator like process the perpetual unfolding energy of the body, that is always in motion, in relation to its “own transition: its own variation” (Massumi, 2002) can be captured and brought to life.
Linear thought processes are challenged and perhaps silenced. “Movement, sensation and qualities of experience” (Massumi, 2002, p. 4) are brought to the fore. The idea of a unified, stable subject within a fixed meta-narrative becomes untenable. It is in this ever present kinesis, movement and change that Merleau Ponty suggests that our bodies anchor us to the world, functioning as expressive spaces – a phenomenological space.
History and summary
The stage version of sanctum was first produced and performed as a live interactive dance work for The Eleventh Biennial Symposium on Arts and Technology at The Ammerman Center for Arts and Technology at Connecticut College, USA, February 28 , 2008. The work was inspired by, Desert Flower written by Waris Dirie (1998). This autobiographical account sketches an account of the ongoing ritual of FGM or female gential mutilation, that is now deemed by many western countries, a crime and not an acceptable cultural practice. The stage work consists of two sites of interactivity that are activated by the audience: one that elicits text about the act of FGM and the other, images of FGM. A dancer performs in the centre of these two sites bound in a long white cloth, feet tied up with string and gagged with sticks in her mouth. She performs a dance of restriction and struggle.
In 1993 the WHO organisation estimated that over 150 million young girls had been circumcised and despite the practise being banned and outmoded in many North African countries it is still ongoing. The practice has spread across the globe and regardless of attempts by Dirie to speak out against it through the UN as a spokesperson for Women’s Rights, it is still deemed a necessary practice by both men and women alike in many countries.
Format: Shot on HDV PAL
Direction & edit Jeannette Ginslov
Concept Jeannette Ginslov
Music James Webb
Dancer Vishanthi Arumugam
Choreography Jeannette Ginslov in collaboration with Vishathi Arumugam
Cameras Emma-J Alexander, Donald Tolmie, Vilte Vaitkute
Lighting Vilte Vaitkute
Set design & costume Jeannette Ginslov
Location for video White Space, Time Based Art Studios, University of Dundee, Scotland
Video & stage work produced by Walking Gusto Productions - multimedia dance theatre
Copyright Walking Gusto Productions 2009
Financial assistance from National Arts Council (South Africa)