Waterboarding A Soul Whisperer

by The Actual School and DeForrest Brown Jr.
Oct 29, 2017

Performed Live on October 29th, 2017 at H0l0
Re-staged October 30th, 2017 at Artists Space

Nick James Scavo: computer
Xander Seren: synthesizer
DeForrest Brown Jr.: reading

Waterboarding A Soul Whisperer is a piece by Nick James Scavo, Xander Seren, and DeForrest Brown Jr. performed at H0l0 in Queens, New York as a part of artist and organizer Selwa Abd’s Bizaar Bazaar residency. The piece was re-staged at Artists Space as a “soundscape” on October 30th, 2017 as a part of Social Surfaces, a fundraising exhibition to support Artists Space relocation to 80 White Street in 2018. The piece was conceived as a live premiere of Nick James Scavo and Xander Seren’s Vampyroteuthia crossing it’s concept with DeForrest Brown Jr.’ s Absent Personae record released on PTP. The work ignores the content of both records to approach a casual + wrecked conceptual conversation between the projects, re-staging their independent and hybridized fiction “as is.” Text by DeForrest Brown Jr.

I’m trying to remember what happened…

There’s the stereotype of the black body…the black body not being able to swim..? The black body not being able to survive the pressures of the deep or the openness of the sea.

We can’t be cavalier with this one…

The black body…so fragile…duty free…cast over board…

Our coffin, our prison…?

The black body transversal experience…is contained to a three-pronged interface between the Gravedigger/the white body…the coffin of the sea…?..and myself, the soul whisperer, the black body, the reflexive adaptative body…We are liquidated assets, valueless dead weight, chucked overboard along the black Atlantic–

The black body…she falls deeper into the depths, flattened and molded by the sea, the coffin

The black body, her body, the sickly body, her sour countenance, gurgling foam…

“There are other worlds they have not told (us) of, they wish to speak to (us)…” (1)

Wireless, internalized message. Language — waves, amplified in water. Information is immanent in the sea, the depths of the coffin swaddles the black body, submerges her in the sublime…I miss her, the black body…Something happened out there, to our lost kin. We were one black body, one technology forged through coerc–

The black body is an alchemic amalgam of neglect and hydroponic denial, abject resuscitation…

The sea is full of data, the tide clears…the black body adapts

rising tides, simmering warmth stirs a tonal change, and squirming doubt, a return to land, devouring land

Transversed language from the tongue to the pore, from assemblage to signal the black body as a wave jumper, a galvanized mind, a liquidified spirit.

In liquid there is no framework for flow, the waves are the message, the medium is the futile sloshing in-between

The black body plunge into its debts, free-floating dead weight, discovering freedom in wetness.

Whet the desire to live by falling into the light

There is liquidity in our demise, the general resources of the exhausted black body

We live a wet life with wet debt in the coffin of the deep. As Astrida Neimanis writes “We are bodies of water…primarily comprised of water, but we are only bodies at all because of our myriad watery debts” (2).

Evolution across undulating space and digressive time is how we both start and pay our watery debt. The black body is gelatinous, acquiescent to the conditions of the deep. Mouth left agape, bubbles rippling from the crease of the lip, the sea is inhospitable, the tide is overcoming. The black body incubates, mediates, dedicates itself to the coffin of the deep. The black body stands up with its data full sea mastered, the Drexciyan emerges from the waves…

Living incarcerated Africans thrown overboard…

“They were coming out of the water and crawling up the beach. We don’t quite know what’s causing it” (3). Perhaps the sea is a bit tumultuous, a bit unsettled in its consumption of the black body…Modification supports well-being

Completely invisible, the Black body is forever in flux, forever reconstituting and reappraising its form and function as to adapt to the opaque slippage, the perennially structural inaccessibility of the deep. It’s alternative was the land…gerrymandered and boarded off…contained and trapped…

The Black body isn’t an agent of its own modifying process, but rather at the will of its own condition, modifying not for but in spite of itself.

“Negative evolution cycle completed. Now in sonic infinitum mode” (4).

  1. Sun Ra – There Are Other Worlds

  2. Astrida Neimanis – Wet Life and Wet Debt

  3. Dozens of octopuses spotted crawling out of the sea on Welsh beach

  4. Underground Resistances [originally posted on Drexciya Research Lab – James Stinson Post – September 06, 2006 ]