Exhibition project by Ingrid LaFleur in cooperation with researcher Nadine Siegert.
The Resonance is an investigation of healing intergenerational historical trauma. The human species is fraught with trauma because, as writer James Baldwin observed, its society is traumatized. As a result, future becomes an elusive goal that is forever tainted and chained to a painful past. No matter the material transformations or development in technology and design, as long as the human body holds trauma we are not truly free to imagine and manifest new visions. Like the resonance of sound, the reverb of trauma passes on from generation to generation through our blood. How do we reprogram cells within our bodies for true liberation? Where are there safe spaces for the imagination to expand freely without being tainted?
It is my hypothesis that by confronting the traumatic event, the pain can be transformed. This is not only the responsibility of the victim but also the perpetrator or liberation can not be fully attained and the future remains a fantasy. Using the genocide of the Nama and Herero peoples as inspiration, the installation pulls upon the landscape, cultures and history of Namibia. When Namibia was under colonial rule by Germany from 1884-1915, Dr. Eugen Fischer and his colleagues decided to conduct research on the Nama and Herero on Shark Island of Namibia, performing some of the most gruesome experiments upon their bodies. This is known as the first genocide of the 20th century by historians. Those experiments became the road map for the impending genocide to later take place in Europe, forever altering human consciousness. The human remains that were shipped from Shark Island to Germany, are still held by various institutions and within private collections in Germany. Namibia has asked for all of the remains to be returned as well as restitution, which Germany has denied.
The Resonance uses sound, sculpture and performance to create a space of transcendence and to honor the Nama and Herero who lived through the horror of genocide. Believing the cosmos becomes the safe place to be in full awareness and liberation, horned cow’s heads hanging in the center of the gallery will serve as a teleportation device to meditate upon in order to teleport into outer (inner) cosmic realms. The Namibia night sky will be projected unto the ceiling providing direction. The performance honors the Nama and Herero women who cleaned the bones of the tortured victims with broken glass. I intend to repeat this action to clean the cow bones. The broken glass will be incorporated into the installation. The room will be continually cleansed via incense and sound set at particular frequency to align consciousness with space and time.