portfolio > Diatraea saccharalis: 'super terram, among the canes'

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March 8, 2014
Metanoia: Practices of Exhaustion | Grace Exhibition Space | co-curated by Holly Bynoe and Yasmine Espert with production assistance from Laura Blüer

"I wouldn’t feel the tearing at the corners of my mouth until well after the end of the performance. I was conscious of lacerating something in or around my mouth, but I thought I had just scraped against the gum lining too hard too often. I was mostly preoccupied with my teeth. I have a filling on one of my forward incisors from a childhood accident, so I was really trying to just use my canines and premolars for the cane cutting. I went into the performance without any solid plan for how to attack the cane, but after the first couple, a strategy developed. The thicker, darker canes had an incredibly tough exterior that I could only get through by taking small, cautious bites with my sharpest teeth, the canines. This broke up the outer layer of the cane into tightly formed strands that I could snap away. I imagine it would be similar to eating through a finely tuned nylon guitar string, over and over. Once I got halfway through the cane using this method, alternating sides of my mouth, I could begin taking long powerful bites with my whole mouth, and depositing as much saliva as I could produce in order to soften the cane, to make it yield to me." - excerpt from my post performance reflection on INCIDENT magazine

I’m an insect who dreamt he was a man and loved it. But now the dream is over, and the insect is awake.

If you continue to burn up the herbs, we gonna burn down the cane fields.

The title of the performance refers to the latin name of the sugarcane borer moth, and a line from Thomas Thistlewood's diary, "poetically" describing an amorous encounter (probable rape) with a slave girl "[on the ground] among the canes".

Knaw The Stalk – a fellow artist's reflection on my performance, in verse, by Kwesi Abbensetts

Under the Cloak of the Self-Evident – A Diary of ARC’s Metanoia: Practices of Exhaustion feature by Tiana Reid for ARC Magazine

Also featured in Yellow Peril Gallery's COLLECT magazine & Contemporary Other