ON THE SURFACE OF TEXT: READING SESSION WITH PROPS is a series of reading lectures that combines text, sound, archival media and props and takes place with the participation of the audience.
The reading session examines the manner in which literacy plays a role in the establishment of colonial power. It follows the story of Sankama, “the first of the Amazonian Piro tribe who claimed to know how to read” (Peter Gow, 2001), which was put into writing in 1947 by the missionary and linguist, Esther Matteson. In the story, Sankama expresses his outlook on the condition of his people through a radical, critical oral performance.
By claiming he is able to read the newspapers that his white patrons threw away, Sankama prophesies the arrival of airplanes with Western clothing and the uprising of the colonized people. The text for the reading session is featured through various objects; paper airplanes, branches, sheets of paper, T-shirts and field recordings taken with members of the Yine (*aka Piro) community in Pucallpa, Peru. The items are scattered in the room and the reading of the text is done voluntarily from one object to the next.
Performed in various formats in:
- Harburger Bahnhof Kunstverein, Hamburg, 2017
- TellTales Festival, Orga Orga, Mainz, 2017
- Circle 1 Gallery, Berlin, 2018.
- Colleex, Cieszyn, Poland, July, 2019
- Göttinger Centrums fur Geschlechterforschung, September 2019
- CfP Workshop European Network for Queer Anthropology, September 2019
- Stadtlabor for multimodal anthropology, Humboldt University, December, 2019
- Gallery in HFBK University, Hamburg, January, 2020