every night in my dreams (early Cameroon)

With ‘every night in my dreams (early cameroon)’ Findlay/Sandsmark continue their interest in examining ideas around personal origin and how a place can leave an imprint on the body and the senses. This time the work takes impulse from the childhood of Marit Sandsmark, reflecting on her first eight years of living in Ngaoundere, Cameroon where she was born as a child of Norwegian Christian missionaries.

The small rural town of Ngaoundere is today the home for over a million people where ninety percent are refugees from surrounding wars. The town, culture and people Marit knew as a child has undergone overwhelming change and the global economic system we live off continues to ravage Africa. 

How does one recall one’s past, filled with so much love in the context of a void that feels impossible and unapproachable, and at the same time seems so necessary to address and understand?

In her essay “Troubling Time/s and ecologies of noThingness: Turning, re-membering, and facing The incalculable” (2018), American theorist Karen Barad writes:  “[T]o think through what possibilities remain open for an embodied re-membering of the past which, against the colonialist practices of erasure and avoidance and the related desire to set time aright, calls for thinking a certain undoing of time; a work of mourning more accountable to, and doing justice to, the victims of ecological destruction and of racist, colonialist, and nationalist violence, human and otherwise – those victims who are no longer there, and those yet to come. This task is related to rethinking the notion of the void

The project was initially meant to include a research trip and exchange with Cameroon, but in the light of pandemic lockdown and imposed immobility outwards we made a journey inwards.  The project found its starting point by imagining and exploring other possible ways of relating by collectively addressing the void. During the process people of different ages and backgrounds were invited to take part in a meditation practice, using a strategy to imagine how we can relate in non-physical ways. By removing the gaze, and working with our eyes closed, our imagined state manifested itself in clay, becoming objects that resemble all the different non-bodies and voices that shared this journey with us. The performance continues this interest in sharing, and offers a collective space to acknowledge and enter this impossible void by way of collecting multiple layers, memories and fragments.

‘every night in my dreams’ unfolds as a performance installation with a choreographic center, practicing the ability to listen and embody states explored through ritual and hypnotic experience, finding their way into clay objects, circling and flickering lights and shadows, patterns, shapes and colors, tactile sounds and not the least, in the body of the solo performer as she negotiates and interacts with the landscape.

CREDITS: ‘every night in my dreams (early cameroon)’ by Findlay//Sandsmark (Marit and Iver) with Victoria Heggelund, Jim Dawson, Jean-Vincent Kerebel, Peter Warren, Jessica Moss, Jon Refsdal Moe, Fabrice Moinet, Laurent Ravot and André Bratten.

Rehearsal and research partners: Pål Asle Pettersen, Gaute Granli, Thore Warland, Ketil Fred Hansen, Mai Pascal Nkenmegni.

Co-produced by BIT teatergarasjen-Bergen and Black Box teater-Oslo.

The project is supported by Norwegian Arts Council, Rogaland fylkeskommune, and Stavanger kommune.