Memory is unreliable, ask my mother.

A short soundwalk in the park with The Unreliable Archives

My current ongoing artistic research practice is about composting colonial histories, taking root and finding home. It sparks from the desire for and difficulty of how we could relate to each other and the world outside of Colonial, Eurocentric and human-centred frameworks and how we can find and share rituals of transformation to start trying.

It is called the Unreliable Archives.

The Unreliable Archives are archives with unruly tendencies, much as colonial histories have. I am interested in ideas of slippage between words and meanings, histories and how they are (un)documented. I zoom in on Apartheid and post-Apartheid South Africa. My aim is to use Saidiya Hartmans method of critical Fabulation as a method of engaging with the Archive. I am attempting to write polyphonic conversations based on interviews with people from a variety of backgrounds. These conversations are taken out of context, and meant to be read aloud by whoever is passing through, in the hope that new conversations will ensue. This is an attempt at de-composition, at composting both personal and colonial histories.

The Unreliable Archives, as an ongoing artistic research-practice seems as if it will never stop transforming, developing and finding form. This process orientated practice will have no final definitive version. However, there will be a series of public moments where you can join me in The Unreliable Archives. You will be able to listen and read unreliable memories: my own and those of the people I have interviewed mixed together in polyphonic texts. Maybe you might want to add some of your own. This artistic research-practice is developing in conversation with Enrica Camporesi, Charlotte Peys, Kopano Morago, Sanne Van Rijn, Ruth Benschop, Bart Van den Eynde, Steven Brys, Hans Roels & the people and more-than-human entities I encounter in The Unreliable Archives. The Unreliable Archives is supported by Toneelacademie Maastricht the Arts Council of the Flemish Government.

In the coming months i will be doing three different residencties. I am very excited about this and thought I might share a regular update about the process with images and sounds.

From 19-30 April I will be with Mestizo Arts Platform in Rataplan in Borgerhout, Antwerp together with Enrica Camporesi. We are experimenting with a proximity research residency. We will work on our own projects (Rona: The unrelibale Archives, Enrica: Oertaal:Oefening) and we will share a proximity room to map and question and inspire each other. we will meet there every day, invite people to have visual, verbal an gestural conversations with us and our growing atlas of images and ideas. It will be called: STANZA: on proximity. (Stanza is both a verse and a room in Italian).

From 7 june-3 july I will be in CAMPO in Gent working with performer Célia Fechas and scenographers Saskia Louwaard and Katrijn Baeten to prototype a portable archive-object-space-place-installation.

From 20 september-to 3 October I will be with Workspace Brussels in Kaaitheater putting finishing touches on the installation-performance and inviting people to come and visit the Unreliable Archives.

After this I will continue to work in and on the Unreliable Archives as an artistic research-practice for as long as it continues to transform me and the people and entities I encounter.

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This is weirdly familiar

This is weird

April 2020: Three facts: I am sensitive to smells, the sun is shining, we are in the middle of a lock down due to a rampant global virus.

Like I said, this is weird. We are in week three of Lock down in Belgium. We are advised (ahem, told, socially pressured, threatened with fines) to stay in our houses as much as possible, except to get exercise, walk, go to the shops or work, if our work cannot be done online, or is saving peoples lives. I am ok with this. I live comfortably in a light and airy co-housing apartment with a garden, space, parks and nature nearby. I can order anything I want online. My jobs can be done online, although I may not be saving lives, I can keep students calm and help them to graduate before the summer. I can continue my own studies. I have an excuse to be anti-social, introverted and read that pile of articles. No excuses not to write those essays, research and grant proposals.

I mean I would rather be in a Finnish forest lying on a carpet of moss right now, but I am not complaining. Life is good. I am healthy, my family and friends are all ok. I can just about ignore the virus and the fear if I do not Google too much, watch the news and keep obsessively washing my hands. I can post culture tips on instagram and enjoy all the passing memes. #Lifeintimesofcorona.

So why am I having these strange olfactory and visual flash backs? Why am I paralysed when trying to leave the house? What is the sun shining brightly on my bare foot together with this specific combination of smells causing my body to remember?

This lock-down is familiar to me. I grew up in this world. I was born in Swaziland and lived in South Africa under the Apartheid regime for a large chunk of my childhood. An expatriate world of separate houses safe from the outside threat, safe from the ‘natives’. British passport, long haul flights, boarding school.

April 2019: I board a plane to Johannesburg in South Africa. I want to experience how it feels as a place, now. I want to move through its air, smell its smells and talk to people who stayed while it changed and didn’t change. I rent a room in a house in Sandton, the same place I lived as a teenager in the late 1980’s. I am in the garden, the smells hit me first, specific plants, sprinkler on earth, cicadas and morning birds chorus. I am feeling bright Highveld sun shining on my bare foot, in a gated housing complex, behind a high wall. I spend more time inside a house than I ever do at home, in Belgium. This is life for privileged people in Johannesburg. The outside world holds some kind of threat, the fear of violence keeps you locked ‘safe’ inside your own home. The Familiar dance William Kentridge often pictures in his work.

April 2020: I am amazed how quickly I adapt to the new rules under the lock down. There are new social codes, a slower pace. almost no traffic. You can hear the birds clearly. There is an  utter lack of public life: no bars, cafes, shops, no morning coffee at the station, on the way to work. I worry about a ‘Shock Doctrine’ effect, about basic rights being eroded even more than they already are, the economy being used as a excuse to erode social support structures, about artists being unfunded, forever. I think about refugees and homeless people, people in precarious housing, children in precarious family situations, people in the slums in Johannesburg, all packed into tin shacks with no running water. The virus will kill people because they couldn’t wash their hands and don’t have access to health care. I know I am in utter, utter luxury. I have always been in this position. Privileged segregation/separation: inside and outside, the bubble with gates, walls, digital screens between us and them.

The mixture of bright white sunlight, crisp cold air, fresh washing hanging outside, budding and carefully flowering plants, the smells of cooking.  Springtime in Europe, Autumn in South Africa. The smells of domesticity with the outside world at its edges: disinfectant hand gel and fear. My body hesitates to go outside. I need to move, get fresh air. I know I can’t catch this virus by cycling along the river or walking to the shops and yet I am paralysed. My body is trained to stay inside. It is both an expat childhood and a boarding school training. I often have this hesitation, this familiar difficulty getting out the house. I never understood it until this virus locked us in our homes. I grew up locked either in my home or in my boarding school dormitory.

Lock down is strangely familiar to me.

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Heading North: Artists residency in Lapland summer 2019

Just back from South Africa in May, I spent a month at an artists residency in Campo in Gent. I spread all my material out on the walls, listened to interviews for clues about where to go next. With the results of this proces I headed north, for my next artists residency, further north than I have ever been before. It is quiet up north.

Arbetsstugan is an old school for crafts in Muodoslompolo, a tiny village in Northern Sweden, just across the border from Finnish Lapland.  It peeps out between the trees, surrounded by lakes and forests, rocks, and not much else. My partner and I were invited by visual artist Maria Huhmarniemi (Patterns collective, Finland) to work in two of the many studios in the old school building her and her British husband are doing up. We worked, dreamed, made visual what wandered through our heads. We swam, walked, listened to the silence, dealt with the inevitable mosquitos, met other artists and many gentle, open people. We fell in love with the North. We will be back.

I left Campo with ideas, direction, but i still needed to kill a lot of darlings, make choices.  In Lapland I made those choices. Lapland changes your internal tempo, you look more, see more. I am excited to get to work weaving the many threads of my research in the last few years into one larger performance and/or installation piece. I am doing this within the framework of a Masters in Theatre: research and practice, at the Institute for Performative Arts, Maastricht in The Netherlands. An exciting year ahead. I will keep you posted.

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Migrating Dialogues #3 Ladies Choice & wat nu?

Migrating Dialogues Nu: 25 jaar na de einde van het Apartheid era ga ik naar Zuid Afrika voor een maand om mensen te interviewen. Daarna ga ik in residentie bij CAMPO (Gent) en at the Artists Association of Lapland (border Finland/Sweden).

Migrating Dialogues in de laatste periode in beelden:

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Migrating Dialogues op UN/SETTLED festival slot weekend: 11 november 2018 om 11u

11u op 11 november 2018 duiken we met Migrating Dialogues in een militaire bunker in provinciale domein Raversyde in Oostende tijdens het slot weekend van UN/SETTLED festival van KAAP

Exact 100 jaar na de einde van de eerste wereldoorlog kijken we naar de grenzen van de toekomst. Kom kijken en luisteren naar onze nieuwe intieme luisterverhaal: Ladies Choice.

Ladies Choice is een gesprek tussen mijn moeder, een vriendin en ik over kiezen, expat zijn, grenzen stellen, vechten tegen oude patronen en de zee. Hoe draag je jouw verleden naar de toekomst, welke geuren, geluiden en beelden reizen mee?

We spelen in een militaire bunker vlak aan de zee: Het zal een volstrekt unieke beleving zijn – een eenmalig gebeurtenis – dus zorg dat je een zitje reserveert (plaatsen zijn gelimiteerd).

je kan hier reserveren

Voor meer over UN/SETTLED festival kijk je op:

#KAAP, #UNSETTLED, #eych2018, #europeforculture, #atlantikwalleurope

Ladies’ choice: Een performance over ontheemding, dekolonisering en taboe

Rona Kennedy gaat in deze performance in gesprek met haar moeder Audrey en haar vriendin Lola. Ze praten over lijnen trekken in het zand, schorpioenen uit je schoenen schudden, nieuwe talen leren en dozen uitpakken. Ze dansen, zingen en stellen vragen aan de zee. Ze graven naar herinneringen, zelfrechtvaardigingen en blinde vlekken. Ze zijn expats, maar wat is dat eigenlijk?

Deze performance maakt deel uit van Migrating Dialogues, een verhalenproject over migratie, macht en privilege. De makers nodigen je uit om verhalen te delen en samen na te denken over ontheemding, dekolonisering en taboe.

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DANKJEWEL-Crowdfunding campagne Migrating Dialogues geslaagd!

DANKJEWEL aan iedereen die ons crowdfunding campagne steunde!

Dankzij jullie haalden we ons doel en meer!

Dankzij jullie kunnen we ons artistiek onderzoek naar Migratie, dekolonisering en taboe verder zetten! Je hoort nog van ons!


Steun onze Crowdfunding campagne en maak onze project en Podcast reeks mogelijk!

We hebben al 27% en nog 19 dagen te gaan! nu nog de laatste 73%

Merci bij voorbaat voor jullie steun!


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Migrating Dialogues in NEST

Migrating dialogues #1 ‘Inheriting the Empire’ en #2 ‘Spaghetti Junction’

Installatie te beluisteren in LOKET in NEST op: 19 februari / 24 maart / 5 mei

Luister performances op 10 en 11 mei in BOM festival, Bij de Vieze Gasten

in de zomer installatie en performances bij KAAP in Oostende tijdens het festival UNSETTLED…

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‘Kind op moeders schoot’ is a plant and my first ever self edited 3 minute radio story.


Hier is mijn allereerste volledig zelf gemaakte radio verhaal. ik heb dus zelf alles gemonteerd heb met Audacity en een online tutorial (dankjewel vriendelijke man uit india on you tube!) en ik ben er best wel trots op. Met dank aan Fabian Espinosa voor de coaching en het gitaarspel!

‘Kind op Moeders schoot’



SO heres my very first ever self made radio story…i did my own sound editing…its not perfect…but im proud of it as a first attempt. I used Audacity an a you tube tutorial with a very nice and Indian man to guide me. Thanks to Fabian Espinosa for coaching and playing the guitar.

Its in flemish…so English speakers will consider it gibberish…English language podcasts in the making…more information hier:  Migrating Dialogues

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Migrating Dialogues in LOKET in NEST op 9 december

Migrating Dialogues gemist tijdens WIPCOOP en het Podcastfestival…no problem…je kan komen luisteren naar Migrating Dialogues#1 ‘Inheriting the Empire’ en #2 ‘Spaghetti Junction’ in LOKET in NEST op zaterdag 9 december

Wil je een afspraak maken? Mail naar

Hier zijn een paar foto’s van Het geweldige Podcastfestival

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Migrating Dialogues #1 en #2 klaar om te beluisteren

Migrating Dialogues


Migrating Dialogues #1 ‘Inheriting the Empire’ en #2 ‘Spaghetti Junction’ te horen in onze audio-visuele installatie in LOKET in NEST – een zaterdag in de maand: nu 9 december

tot dan kan je genieten van een korte stuk in kast van ONBETAALBAAR in het Vooruit café:

IN/UIT de KAST is een mooie kast van ONBETAALBAAR waar verschillende kunstenaars van de stadsateliers fragmenten van hun werk kunnen tonen en waar je boeken kunnen ruilen en kunnen luisteren naar boeiende verhalen…o.a. Migrating Dialogues.  IN_UIT_DE_KAST

Migrating Dialogues is het project van mijzelf, Fabián Espinosa-Diaz en Helena Elshout. In de kast vind je een teaser…een korte audio clip van een langere podcast waarmee we een artistiek onderzoek starten. Ik ga in conversatie met mijn vader…meer informatie op onze website: Migrating Dialogues

net geweest…

21 & 22 oktober 2017, Mestizo WiP COOP@Rataplan, Antwerpen.

30 november 2017: Work in Progress Festival, De Expeditie, Gent

2 december Podcastfestival NEST

meer informatie en foto’s: Migrating Dialogues

‘Migrating Dialogues’ is een transit zone. Tussen hier en daar. Tussen het verleden en het heden. Tussen het persoonlijke en het geopolitieke. Tussen mezelf en anderen. Het is een verzameling verhalen over migratie. Welk effect heeft een transplantatie-proces op je eigen leven en dat van de mensen die je omringen? Welke keuzes heb je zelf gemaakt en welke werden voor jou gemaakt? Wat is HIER en DAAR überhaupt? Waarin liggen de zelfrechtvaardigingen en de blinde vlekken? Wat blijft ongezegd?

Ik breng mijn eigen migratieroute in kaart door familie en vrienden te interviewen. Mijn eigen migratiegeschiedenis onderzoeken en mijn eigen twijfels, kwetsbaarheden en mislukkingen in de ogen kijken, maakt een dialoog mogelijk met andere mensen over hun verhalen. De confrontatie met mijn eigen verhalen is een uitnodiging aan anderen om de hunne te delen. Dit onderzoek, deze verzameling van historische feiten en persoonlijke herinneringen worden ontwikkeld en gedocumenteerd in performances, interventies, installaties en online als podcasts om een meer genuanceerd perspectief op migratie aan te gaan. Migratie is een complex fenomeen van alle tijden, alle plaatsen, dat elk van ons met elkaar verbindt.

“Het is 6 september 1970. Mijn moeder en vader vliegen voor de eerste keer in hun leven. Het zal niet hun laatste keer zijn.

Alles is nieuw, spannend, vreemd. Mijn vader is 22. Mijn moeder is net 23 geworden. Ze zijn net getrouwd maar dit is niet hun huwelijksreis.

Ze emigreren.
6 september 1970 is ‘Skyjack Sunday’.”


There is a new feature n the Vooruit café, Ghent. From the 18th March 2017 onwards, you can find the new interactive cupboard made by ONBETAALBAAR (a makers collective, Ghent). IN/UIT de KAST is an interactive site where artists in residence in the STADSATELIER project can place their work and where you can swap books and sit and have coffee. You can also listen to a teaser audio clip from the full podcast #1 of Migrating Dialogues.  IN_UIT_DE_KAST

Just happened:

21 & 22 oktober 2017, Mestizo Arts Festival (MAF) Rataplan, Antwerp.

30 november – WIPCOOP Work in Progress festival, De Expeditie, Gent

2 december – podcastfestival, NEST, Gent

For more information and photo’s: Migrating Dialogues

‘Migrating dialogues’ is a transit zone. Between here and there. Between past and present. Between the personal and the geopolitical. Between myself and others. It is a collection of interweaving stories on migration. How does a transplantation process effect your life and the lives of those close to you? Which choices did you make yourself and which were made for you? What are HERE and THERE anyway? Where are the self- justifications and blind spots? What is left unsaid?

I am mapping my own migration route by interviewing family and friends. Looking into my own migration history, facing my own doubts, failures and vulnerabilities, opens up the possibility of a dialogue with others about their experiences. Confronting my own stories I invite others to share theirs. This ongoing investigation and (re-) collection is being developed and documented in live performances, interventions, installations and online as podcasts. It is an attempt to engage in a more nuanced perspective on migration. Migration as a complex story of all times, of all places, connecting all of us.

“It is the 6 September 1970. My mum and dad are flying for the first time in their lives. It won’t be their last time.

Everything is new, exciting, strange. My dad is 22, my mum has just turned 23. They are newlyweds but this is not their honeymoon.

They are emigrating.
The 6th of September 1970 is ‘Skyjack sunday’.”

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