I am currently developing a piece of performance/storytelling work based on my research on conflict minerals and our digital devices. Below is an synopsis I wrote for a work-in-progress performance presented at an independent arts space in Singapore in Dec 2018.
“A war machine is raging in the depths of Congo, in the border zones with Rwanda and Uganda, brimming with militia activity and cycles of violence that seem to escape the radar of the international news cycle. The fact is simple: there is blood on your hands, in your smartphone, pulsing through the tantalum, tin, and tungsten, conflict minerals sourced from Africa. In the past decades, the market for rare earths and metals has grown exponentially for the production of digital devices, fuelling unrest in the region. At the foothills of live volcano Mt. Nyiragongo, livelihoods are disrupted and destroyed as territories ripe for extraction are seized under militia activity. In the midst of violence and the circuitries of mineral trade, a ritualistic dance attempts to calm the quiet rumblings of the volcano.
The world enjoys internet connectivity thanks to the mineral ores; the ores are rich thanks to the geological processes of lava and molten rock from Nyiragongo. Using Jussi Parikka’s concept of ‘medianatures’ in his work A Geology of Media (2015) as the starting point, this performance considers the deep time of our media networks and the implication of labouring bodies and of labouring earth, and contextualises the politics and poetics therein through the locale of Nyiragongo. To dance a ritual for the volcano, to trace networks of connectivity, to mourn the violence committed for our digital world: the work turns to the materiality of the body and of the earth, and invites the audience to tune into the polyrhythms underneath our smart devices: from the rhythm of earth’s core to the rhythm of dance, from the rhythm of war, to the rhythm of technological progress.”