Proposition #1 for m/Other by Benjamin Kamino and Gabby Kamino, Performed at PS: We Are All Here, July 14, 2016.
by James Oscar.
[the following is a text by writer and anthropologist James Oscar. I, Benjamin Kamino, invited James to spectate the duet m/Other when it was presented at PS: we are all here with the express desire of having him critique the work. I am very thankful he accepted my invitation and did indeed have many thoughts, shared here, on walks, and in my basement apartment in Toronto. Our relationship is still ongoing.]
In 1973, the Nigerian playwright Wole Soyinka, made formulations around (‘surrounding’) the boundaries of body – movement- existential – scaffoldings. His essay, The Fourth Stage, had as its trajectory an attempt to move the reader up the rungs of (a) psychical ladder(s), beyond the normalized purview of “general aesthetic theories” (of such ladders). Soyinka spoke of “the persistent search for the meaning of tragedy”. Soyinka spoke of a need for a “redefinition (of the meaning of tragedy) in terms of cultural or private experience”, and he underlined the need to look anew at how we see/ how we consider liminal experiences (limit- experiences), “man’s recognition of certain areas of depth-experience which are not satisfactorily explained by general aesthetic theories”, and that within such acute folds (foolds) (’experiences’) of what “we vaguely define as ‘tragedy’ ”, may be a “voice that bids us return to our own sources”.
Of course what one’s sources may be could be / might be/ could be a debate up for debates – cultural, personal history, patria (one’s ‘fatherland’/ motherland). Of course, in Soyinka, one could suspect a meaning as something suspiciously in the realm of the primordial when (speaking of one’s own sources) he spoke of returning to “our own sources”, something skeletal, something bare like a tabula rasa, something not heeding to something or prescribing to something , something/ an approach to looking at tragedy/ theatre/ movement, perhaps/ rather with the proportions of bare scaffoldings/ a bare scaffold. An approach of a stripped down type/ a ‘modal space’ / stripped down modules, (where flesh might have once hung/ clung to the bone) . And such a stripped down approach as key in understanding/ “the key to human paradox, to man’s experience of being and non- being”.
So question: “Is Benjamin and Gabby Kamino’s m/Other simply about a mother and son, about the liminal disturbance (the auto (and lazy) reaction/ response to see this as simply oedipal) of the naked mother and son?. Is there not a scaffolding one can intimate beneath the such/ beneath naked mother and son?. Are there not stripped down modules that operate below their bodies/ behind their bodies/ behind our eyes/ under the very floor. Is there not a bare scaffolding to be culled in the mind’s eye/ a ‘rawer’ web that might arise/ that might be under/ that might shine a larger light on a man and woman (beyond or before mother and son) in their mutual “dubiousness as essence and matter”, a raw space evoked with “intimations of transience and eternity”, something subterranean which ultimately shows , the (generalized) “harrowing drives between uniqueness and Oneness” ; the “ harrowing drives between uniqueness…” (between mother and son, in their separateness in the dance) “…and Oneness” (the consistent slowed down frenzy to join each other again). But then ultimately, we simply cannot leave behind the thought of mother and son.