A syncretetic and changing system of beliefs and rituals produced out of the experience of the sugar plantation system in the New World, Vodou, or “the serving of the Gods,” though bricolaged in the forced contact of African vodun and Catholicism, may be understood as a historical response to the very experience of the ritual brutality of slavery. the serving of the Gods, or lwas, worked to transform torture, terror, and servitude itself. In her recent reconsideration of Haitian history, Haiti, History, and the Gods, Joan Dayan recounts her lesson from the Manbo Priestess La Merci Benjamin about what it means to submit to being ridden by the spirits. Benjamin explains that through the intense thought work of incarnating one of the Vodou deities, “instead of being turned into a thing, you become a god.” And, thus, Dayan theorizes, “to Be ridden by the mèt tèt, to be seized by the god, is thus to destroy the cunning imperial dichotomy of master and slave, or colonizer and colonized.” In eighteenth-century Saint-Domingue nighttime assemblies for the collective practice of Vodou ritual and dancing were more than just transgressions of colonial legal authority. Possession by the gods also conjured a spirit-infused landscape of sacred trees and herbal offerings that menaced colonial authority through a reversal of colonial authority’s basis in its materially staked claims to possession, the notion of “property rights,” of self-possession and control of land.
Sowing Empire- Landscape and Colonization | Jil Casid
Inspiration to design dance spaces in the gardens of Le Manoir Alexandra
Thomas, appointed in January and the third official to hold his post in less than a year, has a different attitude. “We waited too long,” he admitted during a recent site visit, surrounded by heavy security. “Many of the people have lived here a long time and, we know, have no way out. We can’t punish them by kicking them out because we did not react before now.”
Interesting article : http://nextcity.org/daily/entry/above-port-au-prince-seven-fast-growing-and-illegal-neighborhoods
Inspired by the imposing Manoir Alexandra in Jacmel, René Dépestre wrote “Hadriana in All my Dreams”, a book that has enthralled me and pushed me to focus my studies on the old mansion. This book has also inspired a beauty competition among young ladies in various high schools in Jacmel called “Miss Hadriana.
To celebrate the anniversary of my visit to Jacmel with Andreas, a friend from the film department at RISD, I am so happy to focus on all the images we recorded together. During our visit to Jacmel in March 2012, we spent a week filming each and every second in this wonderful city. Now that I have graduated from RISD and decided to take my first steps in the architectural field in Haiti, it is only proper to carry on with the studies that have inspired me to explore the possibilities of film, architecture and storytelling.
Sparks in our interviewees’ eyes as they recalled various cultural experiences in Jacmel have been filling my past evenings with joy. While I note all those special moments, it is with much enthusiasm that I anticipate the production of a “spatial narrative” that will carry one through the colorful streets of Jacmel, rightfully known as Haiti’s cultural capital.
Procession</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/andreasnicholas”>Andreas
Nicholas</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>