'Common-Works No3.3'- Toubab Dialaw (2020) is part of a work-series which questions how signifier (re-) present themselves in movement and how our social environment is enacted through our collective physical memories.

The score-edition was performed in english, japanese and hausa, on Friday 7th February 2020, at École des Sables, Toubab Dialaw, Senegal

 In collaboration with Olukitibi BUKUNMI (Nigeria)、Audrey KING (US)、Eimi LEGGETT (UK, Australia) and Adila OMOTOSHO (Nigeria) Concept Timothy Nouzak In conversation with Mary Szydlowska Supported by P.A.R.T.S. STUDIOS Exchange programme and École des Sables/Germaine Acogny




The following score edition was part of a workshop series in the frame of a cross-cultural exchange project together with 20 young makers from several parts of Africa, Europe and the US, at École des Sables, Senegal, initiated as a means to share and exchange practices across different disciplines and fields.

Out of the conversations that led to this score edition, 'Common-Works No3.3', moves through various semiotic approaches in order to question how signifier (re-) present themselves in movement and how our social environment is enacted through shared, collective physical memories. Semiotics, as a western model of representation has clear limits in regards to individual and subjective enactments, therefore it was interesting not only to put it into question but as well to actively disconnect from it by giving language and sign-systems other purposes than just exclusively that of conveying meaning: To create a situation where western history, that since the Renaissance moves forward, stops and starts to bend and reconnect to other times and ways of sensing and of meaning-making - where art regains its urgency and becomes a tool rather than an object of study.


When familiarity is removed, memories flood back in ... 






(12:45-12:57) - As the audience enters, all performers are already in space executing various array of actions. One after the other. While the subject-matter continues to change with every executed action in space one starts to question what the actions might presuppose and which kind of relationship these actions have to each other.

As the actions of each performer differ between each other one might ask, how they relate to each other. Thus, the question arises, how “Meaning” and “Memory” is enacted through the inherent history of each individual performer. Every action of the performer is a trace from their own history, their own past but taken into a new context.





(12:57-13:12) - The question of what performed memory might look like, is further stressed by the fact that the performers start to embody what the executed action might be: “It could be this..” The phrase is left verbally unanswered but illustrated through a certain action.

It could be [this].

The individual enactment of what performed memory might look like starts to get juxtaposed with a presupposition what “it” could be. One tends not only to question what performed memory might mean for each individual performer, but also how one relates to it while perceiving these actions in space. By paraphrasing and speculating about a potential signifier one starts to presuppose a potential signified, the concept which the signifier represents.











(13:12-13:22) - The performers start to leave their individual inquiries behind and cluster together until all merge into one group. Up to this point, meaning arises from the inherent corporeal histories and memories of each individual performer, in the sense that they performed their own memory and thus their own past. At this point, one can reflect on the question what shared corporeal histories and memories within a group or collective might look like. How and when does history develop into a shared collective memory?

The score progresses towards collectiveness. How is our social environment enacted? How do these logics need to be “orchestrated” to function in this group or collective? Can these newly created logics be seen as a rehearsal for social order?


(13:22-13:27) - If the group is understood in this operation as a body that is put together through shared collective memories, one can start to speculate on a potential collective consciousness.

With the implementation of rhythm and breath, the subject-matter of what it means to be part of a group or collective starts to be further stressed. How can this collectiveness be signified and how can aural kinetics act a signifier? The use of rhythm and breath functions hereby as an operation: It questions rhythm and breath as a revitalizing factor for social order. For this to happen, it is substantial to perceive rhythm and breath not solely as instinct but as deployed intelligence that embodies and contains communal energy.












(13:27- 13:42) - The score starts with an individual inquiry that questions how history manifests itself within the preconditioned memory of each individual performer, to a more collective inquiry that questions how history becomes a shared collective memory. The integration of verbal language was previously interpreted as a presupposition for a potential signifier, that not only questions how memory is enacted by the performer but also how the reception of this enactment is based on one's own history and memory.

As the work comes to an end, yet another layer starts to get introduced with the intent to frame what previously occurred. The operation shifts from a presupposition to an indexation: 50 Words are collectively uttered by all performers within five cycles. These words are connected through their structures, i.e. their various semantic meanings as well as their usage as idioms. The words are then oriented to the executed actions of the performer. After the last cycle, everyone shortly takes in what happens and then leaves. The end.




photo/video by Mary Szydlowska.