Guadeloupe (French West Indies)
This performance questions “in part our contemporary age and highlights how the struggles of the wretched of the earth (paraphrasing Frantz Fanon) have been intricately bound.” See also “Alger, Mon Amour & the Heartbroken Revolution (A Reflection)” by Stéphanie Melyon-Reinette in Obsidian 46.1.
Alger, Mon Amour—Portfolio
Alger, Mon Amour—Portfolio
Dance, poetry, performance: these are the forms of my exploring and my writing our histories and narratives as descendants of African (mainly) deportees to the Caribbean. «Carried beyond» the Atlantic Ocean, the Middle Passage, were also Indians and Indochinese. My maternal great-grandmother was from so-said Indochina. This part asks to be recovered as well. Amnesia needs to be reversed. Art is an emancipating idiom and, as such, it can help voice the unspeakable.
Upon performing French/Caribbean and American history through the tales I write or the emotions I convoke, I intend to create a manner of re-embodying our ancestors’ experiences, reenacting the resilience of surviving, encapsulating a memory back in our fleshes. Choosing to design multisensorial performances, calling to the senses, and offering an immersing experience to the audience is a manner to engage them in our histories, when amnesia is our worst enemy: in Guadeloupe—and the French Caribbean—the enslavement period and the amnesia resulting from it have been an enduring, obsessive issue fed with the perennial opposition between the descendants of both the Enslavers and the Enslaved.
At the core of my reflection only exists the Black bodies, focused on the re-building of their selves. At the core of my work is the Black Atlantic—in the Gilroyan sense—and as an endless source of questioning, hence a never-ending inspiration. I ask: What if research was all about identity quest? My artwork is really focused on answering the very same question I investigate in my sociological papers. All in all, I consider myself to be an explorer, a researcher whose work is protean. Presently, my art and my scientific works are overlapped, intertwined, echoing, conjugated, reconciled to elucidate the past, celebrate the present, and envision a future of self-determination.
Alger Mon Amour, like many other performances of mine, questions in part our contemporary age and highlights how the struggles of the wretched of the earth (paraphrasing Frantz Fanon) have been intricately bound. The audio file here is a small excerpt of the soundtrack of the performance: my voice uttering the semi-fictitious epistolary conversation between Frantz Fanon and Sonny Rupaire.
Sociologist and artivist Stéphanie Melyon-Reinette is a PhD and independent researcher dedicating herself to investigating Black people, the Black Body, Afro-feminism, and empowerment. Her artistic experimentations, performances, and scholarship examine Black Music, Dance, and the Haitian Diaspora. Recently, she has investigated the history of Guadeloupe and her own family’s archival process.