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'The truth commission' according to Chokri Ben Chikha: performing differential futures from a traumatic colonial past

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Organization
Project
FWO-NRF G000214N Bilateral Scientific Cooperation
Abstract
Chokri Ben Chikha, Flemish theatre maker and director of the performance company Action Zoo Humain, shares the belief that “performance has the capacity to function as the space in which trauma can be testified about and borne witness to” (Duggan 93). With 'The Truth Commission', a performance that premiered in 2013 in the former Court House located at the Koophandelsplein in Ghent, Ben Chikha examined and testified to the cultural trauma of the exhibited ‘other’. With this performance Ben Chikha aimed at highlighting the mechanism of stereotypical images of the black ‘other’, in particular the Senegalese people, and the humiliating discourse that is entangled with the phenomenon of the human zoos. By using the format of a truth commission to unwrap the cultural trauma of a colonial past, Ben Chikha not only questions the mechanism and the structure of cultural stereotypes, he also critically investigates the particular ways in which a dominant memory regime - and truth commissions in particular - tend to deal with cultural traumas. In this contribution, we discuss the artistic strategies of the performance in relation to recent findings in postcolonial studies and trauma studies. Particular attention will be paid to two important paradigm shifts, namely the post-narrative or post-representative shift on the one hand and the post-postivisit shift on the other hand.
Keywords
performance, theatre, trauma studies, memory studies, postcolonial studies, Gilles Deleuze, Action Zoo Humain, Chokri Ben Chikha, The Truth Commission

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Citation

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Chicago
Stalpaert, Christel, and Evelien Jonckheere. 2015. “‘The Truth Commission’ According to Chokri Ben Chikha: Performing Differential Futures from a Traumatic Colonial Past.” Testimony Between History and Memory = Getuigen Tussen Geschiedenis En Herinnering 121 (2): 108–120.
APA
Stalpaert, C., & Jonckheere, E. (2015). “The truth commission” according to Chokri Ben Chikha: performing differential futures from a traumatic colonial past. Testimony Between History and Memory = Getuigen tussen geschiedenis en herinnering, 121(2), 108–120.
Vancouver
1.
Stalpaert C, Jonckheere E. “The truth commission” according to Chokri Ben Chikha: performing differential futures from a traumatic colonial past. Testimony Between History and Memory = Getuigen tussen geschiedenis en herinnering. 2015;121(2):108–20.
MLA
Stalpaert, Christel, and Evelien Jonckheere. “‘The Truth Commission’ According to Chokri Ben Chikha: Performing Differential Futures from a Traumatic Colonial Past.” Testimony Between History and Memory = Getuigen tussen geschiedenis en herinnering 121.2 (2015): 108–120. Print.
@article{7000514,
  abstract     = {Chokri Ben Chikha, Flemish theatre maker and director of the performance company Action Zoo Humain, shares the belief that  {\textquotedblleft}performance has the capacity to function as the space in which trauma can be testified about and borne witness to{\textquotedblright} (Duggan 93). With 'The Truth Commission', a performance that premiered in 2013 in the former Court House located at the Koophandelsplein in Ghent, Ben Chikha examined and testified to the cultural trauma of the exhibited {\textquoteleft}other{\textquoteright}. With this performance Ben Chikha aimed at highlighting the mechanism of stereotypical images of the black {\textquoteleft}other{\textquoteright}, in particular the Senegalese people, and the humiliating discourse that is entangled with the phenomenon of the human zoos. By using the format of a truth commission to unwrap the cultural trauma of a colonial past, Ben Chikha not only questions the mechanism and the structure of cultural stereotypes, he also critically investigates the particular ways in which a dominant memory regime - and truth commissions in particular - tend to deal with cultural traumas.  
In this contribution, we discuss the artistic strategies of the performance in relation to recent findings in postcolonial studies and trauma studies. Particular attention will be paid to two important paradigm shifts, namely the post-narrative or post-representative shift on the one hand and the post-postivisit shift on the other hand.},
  author       = {Stalpaert, Christel and Jonckheere, Evelien},
  issn         = {2031-4183},
  journal      = {Testimony Between History and Memory = Getuigen tussen geschiedenis en herinnering},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {2},
  pages        = {108--120},
  title        = {'The truth commission' according to Chokri Ben Chikha: performing differential futures from a traumatic colonial past},
  volume       = {121},
  year         = {2015},
}