faustin-linyekula-le-cargo-2-4FULL ARTICLE:Between Rhythm and Silence: “Le Cargo” by Faustin Linyekula

In Ndombolo dance, movement is accompanied by a rhythmic cry that follows and punctuates the drumming. In this dialogue between sound and body, instrument and the dancer, it is the experience of the group that is emphasized: there is no single dancer, there is no individual, as everyone present to the performance is an expression of the whole. In the narrative and dance performance of Le Cargo by Congolese dancer Faustin Linyekula, the performer is accompanied not only by percussion, but also the recorded sound of laughter, the everyday and unexceptional speech of a village that leaves the performing body inseparable from shared place and community.

It is from within unadorned, black depths that Linyekula emerges onto a barren stage — not yet dancer, but wise storyteller, poet, teller of a small, personal history. He moves from, and into, simplicity and sparsity, though he comes not empty-handed. Under one arm, a wooden statue is gripped, carved into apes that bear above their heads a flat disc; at once a drum, an hourglass, a crouching Atlas triptych. Tucked under his other arm, Linyekula carries a tome of photography, black and white images by renowned Polish photographer Casimir Zagourski. These are images from the early 20th century, nostalgia printed in black and white, tales of the many forms of community and self across Central Africa. Another title is revealed as Sortir de la Grande Nuit, an essay by Achille Mbembe that discusses the contemporary issues that surround the process of decolonization.