Sunday, March 19, 2017

Response to Retribution


No words can prepare one for the event. I sit in the Broadway Theater in Saskatoon and Tanya Tagaq gently guides us into her performance by inviting us into an improvisation. She motions to and introduces Jean Martin and Jesse Zubot as long time fellow collaborators about to dialog together. 


Days afterward, I struggle to articulate the experience ... not to name and grasp but to activate and research ... Retribution. 

Somehow bracketed by the ever present notions of truth and reconciliation I experienced Retribution as a way of "schizo-analysis" - a pragmatic, disciplined, playful, experimental and collective process. Tagaq sources her ancestral throat-singing to follow an extreme vocal imaginative analysis induced by the colonial capitalist neurosis systems that pillage ourselves and the earth. Her deeply rooted presence enforces her acts of incarnated cultural reality of Cambridge Bay in the northern Canadian territory of Nunavut, as a way of maintaining normality while engaging in an act of micro/macro political subversion. "Retribution will be swift" ... notice not a revolution but retribution.

Talking to Erroll Kinistino, an original actor in Tomson Highway's play Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing, during a session where we vision remounting the play with a renewed group of Rez brothers, I mention going to see Tanya ... he nods, "Oh she is a medicine ..." 
There it is ... Retribution is medicine.

I am haunted by the quote from Lyle Longclaws that opens Highway’s Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing


 " ... before the healing can take place, the poison must first be exposed ..."

During the act of Retribution, there is this sense that Tagaq inhabits the place of poison. She stakes out the territories and zones in on the nerve sphere ... there are moments of what could be described as complete physical abandon ... journeying with her becomes a delirious movement towards exile then paradoxically, in the end, you occupy a space beyond poison ... Retribution is not an exorcism ... it is an emblem, a great medicinal gift ... Retribution is healing ...


album cover for Dementia
I am reminded of my awakening in 2006 encountering Jesse Zubot's album Dementia ... the vibrational sound was a dream visioning my years beside my now ninety-two-year-old mother slipping into dementia ... it is no accident that Zubot & Tagaq collaborate ... they play in the Dreamtime ...  dream with the Indigenous meaning "ways of knowing" ... dream "that can be seen as having the dual function to envision and prepare for possible trials and difficulties and to find creative and peaceful solutions" ... dream is " 'actual' experience of the self in some ways more meaningful than experiences in the waking life" ... dream is an "important vehicle by which we communicate with the larger community and spirit world" ... dream "to share the responsibility of our problems working collectively with others towards solutions" ...

I know Tagaq has said

"I hate pretense, all that garbage, all that head-stuff is really boring. As soon as music gets paved over with ideas of what you’re supposed to be, what you’re supposed to look like, what you’re supposed to sound like, that’s when I lose interest. My eyes start to glaze over.”

What I need to say is thank you and I just want to celebrate. Thank you and I surrender to the act of retribution. So I write/wrote:
... Absolutely stunning Retribution improvisation ... the power of the trio ... the dynamic shifts ... the rhythms ... the sounds of the animal, plant, human & other worlds plea for Retribution ... no demand Retribution ... it is a wild & loving prayer/call song from the belly of the universe ... the heart is mouth ... the vibration is soul
 ::Note:: ... all of what is written about dreams is from "And What Are You Dreaming About?”: An Analysis of Tomson Highway’s Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing - Lindsay Diehl ... & please listen to Retribution commentary on Spotify ... Tagaq is so lucid expressing how & what she does ...