mɔ́ ntai tabindɔ #4, barɨŋ báchɔ́kɔrɔk #3 @ VanAbbe Museum (position #5)

mɔ́ ntai tabindɔ #4, barɨŋ báchɔ́kɔrɔk #3 (positions #5, VanAbbeMuseum)
01/12/19-08/03/20
59’59”
Installations, variable dimension, variable disposition,
10 channel sound composition, sound sculptures
Room 1/
-1x quadrophonic set up plus 1 sub woofer
-3 clusters of sound sculptures composed of : repurposed copper receptacles, red jerrycans , tap tea pots, peristaltic vacuum pumps with stepper motors controlled by interfaces locally or by computer program, custom microphones, electronic interfaces, vinyl tubes and stoppers, , calabashes, polymerised cotton thread figures, hemp roots, plant fibres, moss/lichen filled tree branches (found) ,
-glowing set of animated modelled eyeballs in and around broken coconut shells,
-mycelium beds with embedded broken coconut shells, electric cables, text, hand written glyphs/ sound baffles,
-Room 2/
-1x quadrophonic set up plus 1 sub woofer
-midi controlled LED animated ideoglyphs
-bean bags


‘mɔ́ ntai tabindɔ #4/ barɨŋ báchɔ́kɔrɔk #3’ for Position #5, constitutes new fragments and recent excerpts within ‘sǒ bàtú reflections’ (2016-ongoing); a series of installations, live sonic sketches, processions, kinetic and sound sculptures, through which Eyongakpa explores ideas around portals, crossings, ancient self-preservation practices and water, in relation to resistance movements from the oil and natural gas-rich region of the Gulf of Guinea and beyond.
”Mɔ́ ntai tabindɔ” is one of the smallercaves known to some Eyoŋowa1 villages as a refuge in times of conflict. Folk stories have it that there exist other worlds inside some of the larger caves, said to play host
to vulnerable communities.‘barɨŋ’ translates as ‘veins’ in Kɛnyaŋ2, ‘báchɔ́kɔrɔk’ as ‘clock birds’, ‘barɨŋ báchɔ́kɔrɔk’ would literally translate as ‘veins of clock birds’. ‘sǒ’ translates as to bathe, to cleanse, while ‘sǒ bàtú’ would be ‘to bathe one’s ears’, to or ‘ear bath’. For ‘mɔ́ ntai tabindɔ #4/ barɨŋ báchɔ́kɔrɔk #3’, Eyongakpa mimics a temporal refuge, an alternating hourly experience, wherein fragmentary narratives are forged via the medium of sound, light, sculpture,ancient ideoglyphs, and bio degraded text.
Drawing from real events, folklore, and clock/time signatures recurrent in Manyu and the larger Congo basin,
while looking at the displacements following the ongoing Conflict in former Southern Cameroons, narratives
are interwoven and amplified through the corridors of the central, larger gallery. The environment is conceived as a cave-like setting or an underground forest refuge,
staying within Nsibidi3 aesthetics of double significance, in addition to the animated ideoglyphs. You will find
house hold materials, red jerrycans to popular old Dutch tap tea pots ‘kraantjes pot’ / ‘kraantjes kan’ and
calabashes re-purposed into instruments, generating rhythms andbeats, 6 weeks buried mycelium
landscapes, ‘sound baffles’ with embedded text, wires and broken coconut shells evoking burial sites
common to the cross river people or burial assemblages in the Upemba depression. These airy sculptures are placed in a setting that evoke a sense of emergency. Tables and furniture made of moss and lichen filled tree branches are present, with webs of sǒ bàtú’scotton thread structures and calabash receptacles. These are interspersed with mycelium beds with degraded texts/ideoglyphs,coconut shells, glowing eyeball-like structures in a dimly lit room.
The sonic backdrop is composed from recordings made in Eyongowa forests, streams, lakes, rivers and
oceans in Southern Cameroons, vents and pipes from the artist’s studio, North Holland, Bondoukou
in North-East Cote d’Ivoire and the Mediterranean. These are woven with poetic recitals and found sounds
from elsewhere and the ongoing conflict in Southern Cameroons, stories on self-preservations, alternative
self-defence pointers. The 59’59” multichannel composition interacts with the water and oil fuelled sound sculptures, rhythm generators from barɨŋ báchɔ́kɔrɔk.
The smaller gallery hosts most of the vocal references, as well as a light score or a digital LED ideoglyphic
transcription. We invite you to spend time here -listening to and experiencing theses spaces.

1/ Eyoŋowa is a clan within Manyu indigenous nation states.
2/ Kɛnyaŋ is a language spoken in the Cross River basin of Manyu.
3 / Nsibidi (Nsibiri) the system of
recording, hiding, conveying knowledge used by various men and women
associations in the larger cross river region (present day Manyu in the
Cameroons and Cross River state in Nigeria)

About Em'kal Eyongakpa

Em'kal Eyongakpa (b1981, Mamfe, Cameroons) approaches the experienced, the unknown, as well as collective histories through a ritual use of repetition and transformation. His recent ideas increasingly draw from indigenous knowledge systems and aesthetics, ethnobotany, applied mycology and technology, in his explorations of the personal and the universal. He is also known for self organised community research spaces and autonomous art hubs, from KHaL! SHRINE in Yaounde (2007-2012), to the recent research platform/ fund Bɔ́ Bɛtɔk/ ɛfukuyu. Eyongakpa holds degrees in Plant biology and Ecology from the University of Yaounde 1 and was a resident at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam. The artist's work has recently been exhibited at the Jakarta Biennale (2017), the 13th Sharjah biennial (2017), La Biennale de Montreal (2016), the 32nd Bienal de Sao Paulo (2016), 9th and 10th Bamako Encounters(2011,2015), 10th Dak'art biennial (2012) and several international art spaces and museums around the world.

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