11 — 15.05.2023

Adam Seid Tahir, Amina Seid Tahir Stockholm

several attempts at braiding my way home

performance / dance

Les Brigittines

Accessible for wheelchair usersSeating without backrest | ⧖ ±45min | €16 /  €13

A fishing net hangs from the ceiling, as if we are immersed in an underwater atmosphere. It’s in this suspended state that several attempts at braiding my way home begins. Time is a central dimension. Alone on stage, Adam Seid Tahir starts to slowly untie the braids of their hair, before delivering a choreography of rare power: eyelids wide open, pupils rolling, a stank face (facial expression with roots in Afro-American funk music), fingertips gliding through the air and a shaking body. It is a ferocious yet precise rhythm, like signals travelling underwater in the ocean. Adam and Amina Seid Tahir are siblings of Swedish/Eritrean heritage. Amina is a choreographer and visual artist while Adam is a choreographer, dancer and web developer. Together they have created this performance of unusual generosity and depth. Offering a space of underwater echoes and exchanges between components of their identities. The woven, Swedish fishing nets and the Eritrean practice of braided hair are intertwined to create an Afro-Nordic folklore, a new landscape wherein opportunities for recovery and belonging can be found. The pair builds a house to dance in, an extended sea to swim in. We might imagine listening to walruses, who apparently rely on their fur for navigation. An unmissable debut!

"It is a personal narrative that is very subtlety conveyed through visual art, dance and music. I can best describe the work as a narrative and speculative meditation" - Bastard blog

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several attempts at braiding my way home was created from a place of longing. We were longing for a home, a space for dreaming and recovery. A space that celebrated and held our multiplicities as queer afro nordic siblings. We created the piece through meditating, writing, talking and dreaming about how a space that felt truly home would feel. How would it look? How would one communicate there? How would one move in it?
We dove into some of our ancestral practices and stories. We swam with marine mammals. We listened to Crystallmess, Robert Glasper, Erykah Badu and Where I’m From by Digable Planets. Through big belly laughs and tears of relief, through long showers and too short sleep, through naps, conflicts and epiphanies, through feeling lost, feeling home and feeling lost again, through imposter syndrome and endless dinner table discussions, through swimming in the cold Swedish waters and longing for warmer baths, through reading black feminist texts, through cooking really good food, and lastly through writing together we made this piece. We’ll now take you through some of the core elements of this piece and lastly send you off with a little gift from us.

undrowned | reading and writing

The book Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals by Alexis Pauline Gumbs has played an important role in our research process. When we developed the piece, we started each morning by reading a chapter of the book and doing the accompanied practice at the end of each chapter together. The way in which Gumbs writes about the Marine Mammals helped us dream and gave us the ability to look at ourselves as magical beings. Trying to formulate what home was for us was a challenge in many ways but by reading Gumbs book, it helped us to look at our experiences in a healing way. Through reading the book and doing the practices it also became natural to write. So we practiced flow state writing as a way to generate and inspire choreography.

walruses | sensory hair

Walruses rely on their whiskers for navigation. They swim through the oceans trusting that each hair strand will guide them on the right path. They invite us to meditate on what hair means to us and they encourage us to listen. Listen to what our hair has been through and how it feels.

This reminded us of the late nights when our aunt used to braid our hair to protect our curls. Caring for every expe-
rience and memory our hair was carrying. It reminded us of the intelligence of our hair, and that if we listened close enough maybe it could help us in our search for home.

In the piece Adam starts by unbraiding their hair and attaching it to a weave that hangs in the back of the stage. Just like hair the weave grows, storing memories and emotions from each intimate moment together with Adam. Slowly and with care creating a timeline that carries the history of the piece.

clymene dolphins | bone fusion

Gumbs is telling us the story of how dolphins developed fins. Dolphins used to be land roaming animals but when they found their way to the ocean they slowly started to develop fins to be able to stay balanced in the water and navigate this new environment. Gumbs asks us what we can learn from this.

This question made us reflect and dream of our body’s ability to shapeshift in order to help us navigate environ-ments where we feel unsafe and unbalanced. It alsoreminded us of an autoimmune disease that runs through our lineage that fuses bones over time. From this we
developed a score where bone merging becomes a means to reimagine and transform our bodies as sites for dreaming and manifesting.

stank face | appreciation and pleasure

Stank face is a facial expression that has its roots in afro american funk music. It is said that it emerged from James Brown’s concerts where the audience danced so much that the concert hall started to stink of sweat. The smell became associated with great music that made people dance and so did also the facial expression that looks like you smelled something stinky. From there the stank face became associated with pleasure and appreciation. In our piece we reverse that process and use the stank face, and versions of it, as a catalyst to manifest pleasure and appreciation in the body.

score | hair sensing

(can be practiced alone or in a group)

Inspired by Alexis Pauline Gumbs, we will send you off with a score we have created for you. This is a score that celebrates and gives attention to your hair. Here we see hair as any hair you have on your body. Whether it’s growing on your body, or if it’s a weave. Whether it’s extensions or if it’s a wig, toupee or similar. Whether it’s long, big or full or if it’s almost not noticeable. Read the entire score through before starting.

1. Lay down or sit up in a comfortable position and close your eyes.

2. Focus your attention on the hair on top of your head. If you don’t have any hair on the top of your head, choose another area of your body where you have hair.

3. See if you can sense this hair. Maybe you can feel the air running through it? Maybe the skin underneath is warmer than other parts of your skin? Maybe you can sense how the hair is pressing against any garment you’re wearing? Maybe you can sense the weight of the hair? Maybe you can’t sense anything in this area right now, that’s also okay.

4. After having spent some time in this area, move on to the next area on your body with hair. Travel from the top of your head down to your toes. Let this take time.

5. Once you’ve gone through your whole body you can widen your attention to cover the hair on your entire body. While still having your eyes closed, start moving slowly and see how that affects how you sense the hair on your body. Maybe you can feel how your hair gets in contact with the floor, or how the air travels through your hair. See if you can use your hair as sensors or antennas, to judge how far or close you are to certain things in the space you’re in. See how you can use your hair to navigate the space. Remember to move slowly.

6. Once you feel done, lay down or sit up in a comfortable position again. Take 3 deep breaths and slowly open your eyes.

7. How did it feel? Take some time to write it down or share it with a friend.

Amina Seid Tahir & Adam Seid Tahir
April 2023

Presentation: Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Les Brigittines
Choreographers: Amina Seid Tahir & Adam Seid Tahir | Initiated and performed by: Adam Seid Tahir | Dramaturg: Lydia Östberg Diakité | Music: Crystallmess | Hair-costume: Malcolm Marquez | Costume: Amina Seid Tahir | Lights: Jonatan Winbo | Tour producers: Jonson & Bergsmark
Supported by: Kulturrådet, Helge Ax:son Johnsons stiftelse, MARC, Riksteaterns Produktionsresidens för dans 2021

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