A Pig’s Tail

At long last Leah Gordon & Anne Parisio’s inspirational film A Pig’s Tail (1997) is up on Vimeo. Thanks for that!

There have been several references to the story of the Haitian pig here at Zombi Diaspora. It is the “same pig” that Reginald Jean Francois spoke about in his story about the 2004 defacing of the replica of the Florentine Boar by UN troops in Haiti.  The story resonates very strongly with Colin Dayan’s talk at the 1804 and Its Afterlives conference discussed in the previous post, especially in terms of the competing justifications and rationales for animal slaughter/sacrifice. The description of the ceremonial welcoming of the all-new American pig to the island sounds like the kind of legal ritual she has been writing so insightfully about. It is also, on a more optimistic note, probably the ancestor the the ‘hybrid’ pig she encountered when she was last in Haiti. 

Although it was “Baby Doc” Duvalier’s Tonton Macoutes who carried out the extermination program, we should note too the central role played by USAID, whose director from 1977-79, two years prior to the total eradication of the creole pig from the country, was Lawrence Harrison also mentioned by Dayan, who in the interview linked to in the previous post and elsewhere, argues for a “cultural revolution” in Haiti (and Benin) to totally eradicate Vodou from the minds of its people on the grounds that it “gets in the way of democratic governance, social justice and prosperity”. The irony of this claim is made painfully clear by the Haitian’s interviewed in Leah and Anne’s film who explain how the Haitian pig helped them put their children through school, pay for medicine, buy land or build a house. As A Pig’s Tail shows so well, the pragmatic realms of utility and mysterious realms of the sacred are not so easily separated in Haiti.

Great to see once again the meeting of Edgar Jean Louis, Vodou priest and flag-maker, and Andre Pierre, the person who taught him the way of the spirits who is one of the key painters exhibited in Kafou exhibition.

André Pierre 'Ceremonie Vodou' (1970)
André Pierre ‘Ceremonie Vodou‘ (1970)

Art, Possession and The Revolutionary Unconscious

Below is an illustrated transcript of a lecture I recently gave at the Museum of Ethnography in Stockholm as part of the Xism show and ‘Pig Party’ event curated by Roberto Peyre to coincide with a major Vodou exhibition currently taking place there. I will be writing about the Vodou show and the discussion surrounding it in further posts. I will also post a transcript of the lecture I gave two days later as part of the ‘Sacred Matter and Secular Frames’ symposium organized by Lotten Gustafsson, Curator at the Museum of Ethnography and the National Museum of World Culture. Continue reading “Art, Possession and The Revolutionary Unconscious”

Revolutionary Spirit Wars in Contemporary Haiti

My article  ‘Revolutionary Spirit wars in Contemporary Haiti’ (based on the ‘Invisible Mirrors’ film) has just been published in the latest Strange Attractor journal.

It features written contributions from Richard Barnett, Mark Blacklock, Erik Davis, Paul Devereux, Roger Dobson, Joanna Ebenstein, Stephen Grasso, Gyrus, Ken Hollings, Mike Jay, Phil Legard, David Luke, Eleanor Morgan, Alan Moore, Steve Moore, Michael Neve, Andy Sharp, Robert Wallis, Sean Walsh.

It can be ordered from the Strange Attractor website here.
I’ve posted a PDF of the article here.

Screening of Invisible Mirrors at the Cabinet Gallery

On Tuesday March 30th between 7 and 9 pm I will be giving a talk about Haiti, the Ghetto Biennale and Bataille’s theory of Religion to accompany a screening of Invisible Mirrors at the Cabinet gallery, 49-59 Old Street, London EC1V 9HX.

I will show the film from 7 till 7.15, talk for an hour, then show the film again at 8.15.

The image above is the poster I have made to promote the Tele-Geto project created by the Ti Moun Rezistans of Grand Rue.

Roberto Peyre has also posted video footage of the screening of Invisible Mirrors at the Ghetto Biennale here.

Places are limited so can you please RSVP the Cabinet at art@cabinetgalleryltd.demon.co.uk.