2019 A Thorny Issue – Performance

A lens-based meditative performance by Imke Rust, Farm Otukarru, Namibia. (2017, Released 2019)

In this meditative performance I interact with the dried-out stems of the Datura ferox L. plant. I pick up several stems and try to hold them high in strong wind, until I eventually let go.

Video documentation, editing and audio by Steffen Holzkamp.

Background:

The Datura ferox L. (Thorn Appels) plant is a naturalised alien plant in Namibia. In this performance it is symbolic of my German ancestors who have migrated to Namibia several generations ago.

I am standing in a waterless dam, during a time of drought. The land on which I stand belongs to my father.

We are white. We do not belong here, they say. We stole this land, they say. Give back the land...

Holding up these stems like a family tree, I remember (and dare I say honour?) my ancestors. I am acutely aware of the thorns of the past, the violence and genocide which the Germans have inflicted during the colonial times.

The weight of the past is heavy. The pressure is high. The wind is strong.

I sense the accumulation of personal suffering, loss and dreams of my ancestors aching in my body. Yet, I dare not…

I open my hands to let go. Release the past into the wind. Thorns are crashing down.