Close

Login

Close

Register

Close

Lost Password

In Performance: M. Lamar Presents SPECULUM ORUM: SHACKLED TO THE DEAD (NYC)

M. Lamar Presents SPECULUM ORUM: SHACKLED TO THE DEAD
One night only at Cathedral Of Saint John The Divine.
Thursday, February 16, 2012
Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine
1047 Amsterdam Avenue, New York


The Atlantic Ocean holds the remains of countless black bodies, people lost en-route from “home” to hell. During the transatlantic slave trade, millions of Africans were carried in bondage to America. A horrifying percentage did not survive the journey. This piece is about them.

What does it mean to re-member; to allow bodies and spirits to dance, linger speak through you?

Many of the captured people preferred death to slavery. They jumped overboard or tried to starve themselves. In those circumstances the slaver would use a device called a speculum orum to keep the captives’ mouths open while they were forced to eat.

“In the fetid holds of slave ships, live bodies were shackled to the dead, sometimes for days and months at a time. I believe that we are also shackled to the dead. The water that rises from the ocean, falls as rain into our reservoirs, and flows down the pipes to our faucets, was once and is still their grave. This water, water that is now inside all of us, conceals and reveals the truth about who we are as Americans. The abducted Africans had their months forced open. In this requiem I willingly open my mouth to lift my voice and let the spirits dance. Yes, we are shackled to the dead! They speak to us and through us. Let their voices rise!!”

Share This Post

Caden Manson is a director, media artist, and teacher. He is co-founder of the media ensemble bigartgroup.com and network, blog, and publisher, contemporaryperformance.com. He has co-created, directed, video- and set designed 18 Big Art Group productions. Manson has shown video installations in Austria, Germany, NYC, and Portland; performed PAIN KILLER in Berlin, Singapore and Vietnam; Taught in Berlin, Rome, Paris, Montreal, NYC, and Bern; the ensemble has been co-produced by the Vienna Festival, Festival d’Automne a Paris, Hebbel Am Ufer, Rome’s La Vie de Festival, PS122, and Wexner Center for The Arts. Caden is a 2001 Foundation For Contemporary Art Fellow, is a 2002 Pew Fellow and a 2011 MacDowell Fellow. Writing has been published in PAJ, Theater Magazine, and Theater der Zeit. Caden is currently an associate professor and graduate directing option coordinator of The John Wells Directing Program at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Drama.

Related Articles

%d bloggers like this: