Stef Stessel

SPIRIT CAPITAL - The Seat of Memory

Roland Gunst / John K Cobra / Moussem
10x10 collaboration with Voor?uit
jeu. 23 sept. - ven. 24 sept.
23 sept.
24 sept.

Dancing twin sisters go dandy

The ‘tropical bungalow’ is a form of residence devised by white colonisers in Congo. The living quarters were divided up according to the principle of ‘zoning’, the division of space for white and black people. But around 1910 the black boys who worked in these houses adopted a dandyesque style of dress in the image of the white rulers and thus the sapeurs were born. This sapology, or sape, is the starting point of 'SPIRIT CAPITAL - The Seat of Memory' by conceptual artist Roland Gunst.

The title of the show refers to an object from the Congolese Luba tradition. A ‘spirit capital’ was a wooden headrest, usually with two identical female figures at its base. This object had a symbolic function, as a ‘lieux de mémoire’, almost literally: a spiritual and historical storage place. It therefore occupies an important reflective and historical place in the Luba community.   

Gunst likewise places two identical figures on the stage: Les Mybalés, the dance duo of twin sisters Doris and Nathalie Bokongo Nkumu. In 'SPIRIT CAPITAL', the sisters transform the stage into a ritualised place, taking you on a journey both spatial and psychological. Their historically oppressed bodies free themselves from the chains of history through movement, words, sounds, music and outward transformation.

As part of 10x10, a collaboration between LOD music theatre and Kunstencentrum Voo?uit.

As part of 10x10, a collaboration between LOD music theatre and Kunstencentrum Voo?uit.

Une partie de:

“Domination must envelop the subjugated, the colonised, and maintain them in a more or less permanent state of trance, intoxication, and convulsion so that they are incapable of thinking lucidly for themselves.”

- Roland Gunst


concept & direction: Roland Gunst_John K Cobra - choreography: Moya Michael - performers: Doris Bokongo Nkumu & Nathalie Bokongo Nkumu (Les Mybalés) - text: Roland Gunst_John K Cobra & Esther Severi - dramaturgy: Esther Severi - soundscape: Laryssa Kim -  narrator: Maravilha Munto - scenery & light design: Stef Stessel - technician: Pieter Kint - costumes & scenography : Andrea Kränzlin - production: John K Cobra institute of Videoartfacts & Moussem Nomadisch Kunstencentrum - co-production: deSingel, Arts Centre Voo?uit, Kaaitheater & d e t h e a t e r m a k e r - supported by: de Vlaamse Gemeenschap & de Algemene Afvaardiging van de Vlaamse Regering in zuidelijk Afrika, SABAM  - thanks to: Arsenaal/Lazarus, Latitudes Art Fair & The Centre for the Less Good Idea -  in co-production with: LOD muziektheater

LOD-artistes & compositeurs