EP16: We need to move the body elsewhere to see what sticks – with Dior Thiam.

You are listening to the sixteenth episode of “Dots of Thoughts” Podcast. Every episode of this podcast project originated from a thought, an idea, a persistent spark or maybe a poem. I follow the prompts, often leading to an encounter and a conversation.
Lately, I have been reflecting on the works of the critical thinkers Frantz Fanon and Edouard Glissant, rummaging through their thoughts for clues about the dialectics of the future. As such, I have been engrossed with the question of presence, consciousness, embodied knowledge and “re-membering”.

As our world gets increasingly convoluted, it begs for new readings of Difference and new poetics of relation. An understanding of how, through our body and presence, we animate the social power of the places we traverse and the people, we meet along the way in this epic journey called life. How do we give form to the paradox(es) that makes up the contours of transitory spaces and voids of borders for which our bodies serve as delineators?

In my wanderings, I come across persons whose disposition is an embodiment of a chaos-world. Chaos, in this case, does not mean disorder. On the contrary, it means the flourishing of Difference divested of all inscription of violence. These individuals are imbued with what Glissant calls the “Poetic force”, which cannot be tamed because this force is its own turbulence. This force is also the main component for creating new myths that leave the past where it belongs and points to the future shaped by the vibrancy of newness.

A few weeks ago, I visited the studio of the Berlin-based artist Dior Thiam. Our conversations about her work and her way of being and moving in the world sparked my interest. So it led me to want a more extensive discussion based on the abovementioned intention.

This episode is the outcome of our meandering yet synergic thoughts that continues my deliberation on the notion of movement, borders, being and motion. Think of it as a deliberate act of tiptoeing and floating across multiferous concepts that takes the body – specifically the Black body – as locational coordinates.

Why Dior Thiam? The answer to that question is evident in her ability and willingness to follow, with fluttering words, all the signs of unravellings, fragmentation and collations that foregrounds the duality of her reality. Hers is a life that gives in to the porousness and osmotic tendencies animating sites of Difference within it. Art, in this case, is both the conduit and location for the interplay between notions of stability and instability that ensues.

As with many of my podcast conversations, the gems of the discourse are scattered, like seeds, across the entire discussion. This approach intentionally borrows from the disposition of the hopeful gardener, who is often cognisant that the ground is fertile at disparate patches. The listener must find, for themselves, what part merits further nurturing and watering.

I wish you joyful and active listening.

– Emeka Okereke

Guest: Dior Thiam
Production: Atelier E.K Okereke
Music and Sound Effects: Epidemic Sound
Sonic Inserts: Dior Thiam
Host and Curator: Emeka Okereke

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