come closer: raoni muzho saleh – mourning sociality

20 September 2021

On September 24th choreographer and performer Raoni Muzho Saleh will present a mother’s wail flung from one throat to the other, a new performance at Oude Kerk as part of the series Come Closer. In the week leading up to this public moment, a more intimate gathering takes place on the evening of September 20th. During the Mourning Sociality, Raoni Muzho Saleh invites a small group of participants to come together in a space that holds our mourning and grief central. A space where one doesn’t have to get rid of one’s grief, but where one’s mourning is the proof of the love for what is lost. A space that honors the grooves of our skin that have become valleys filled with loss, rage, sorrow and hysterical humor. The three hour long Mourning Sociality will take place in the Sebastian Chapel. All are welcome to participate in this communal moment, but due to limited capacity a reservation is necessary. Please read along for further details about what to expect.

The intention for this space is that in togetherness we practice to love and praise our broken-heartedness and our resilience. It’s a place where tears are received with gracious hands, where wailing is encouraged by other shivering voices, and where we moan and lament our suffering through the proximity of kindred bodies so that we don’t suffer in silence or in isolation.

We will start with building a grief altar together with stories of our grief. Raoni will introduce the technique of the moaning through some warm-up exercises. Then we’ll go into a collective moaning session and we’ll end with a grounding exercise. At the end of the session there will be some tea and snacks. We can use this moment to reflect on how the experience was collectively and individually.

Raoni offers this practice because he believes that regaining a sensuous relationship to our own voices and the voices of others is extremely essential in queer world-making. In his experience, the wide spectrum of moaning frees up and brings into movement our emotions, our imaginative mind, our sensuality and our feeling of belonging. This space does not require any voice or body experience. All that wants to be held and heard within you already present, is welcome.

For the grief altar participants are invited to bring along a picture/drawing/name of someone or something you want to honor. Please also bring something sweet that they might have liked.

Raoni Muzho Saleh (1991 AFG/NL) is a choreographer/performer based in Amsterdam. He graduated from UvA, Bachelor in Literary and Cultural Analysis, in 2015 and from SNDO, Bachelor in Choreography, in 2019. His recent works are materializations of the seduction of the backspace which form both his conceptual brewing around strange relationalities and his movement practice of ‘becoming other’. Through the backspace he aims to provoke a dance in the direction of transformational multiplicity that aspires being freed from deeply ingrained algorithmic oppressions of solid subjectivity.

Foto: Maarten Nauw