words... just words...

words... just words... plays on the struggle between the weightiness of words in colonial history and their seeming weightlessness when ruptured from their environment/context. Through a (nocturnally viewed) video installation sited at the entrance to the Bridgetown Public Library on Coleridge Street in Bridgetown, Barbados (then closed for renovation), this work proposes to symbolically attempt to “purge” this building of the colonial detritus that it had long housed by flushing out (disused/misused) words (and ideas). As a postcolonial gesture that problematizes the historical value of words, the projection across the Library's arched entrance provides the illusion of a glass wall onto which water is repeatedly hurled. Within the water, individual letters and words splash against the glass and slowly slip down to the ground to be theoretically washed into the street. A fragmented text from Ligon's 1657 'True and Exact History of the Island of Barbadoes' splashes against the glass, colliding in places with words from NourbeSe Philip's 2008 poem 'Zong!'. Especially composed instrumental music mixes a 17th century lute with a contemporary African percussion instrument and the sound of water crashing against the glass. Framed within the Library's grand entrance arch, the projection 'wall' seals off the library's rarified space and becomes the stage for the performance of a slippery choreography between the colonial and the postcolonial.




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