Chronocorpus is an ongoing digital installation began in June 2010 by Sofia Varino and May Joseph, members of the Harmattan Theater Company. The project is an investigation into the oceanic histories of colonial sites and real time encounters with landscape.
Part of Harmattan Theater’s global histories archive, Chronocorpus is developed between Lisbon, Cochin, Recife, and Mombassa as an excavation of relationships between Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas. Retracing maritime memories and diasporic trajectories, the installation provokes a flow between fragments, dreams, maps, documents, letters, interviews and performances as public repositories of the past.
For more information about Harmattan Theater, please visit harmattantheater.com
Published in At Sea special issue of Women’s Studies Quarterly Volume 45 Numbers 1–2: Spring/Summer 2017
The high seas are a locus of migrant and refugee crossings, lawlessness, and of environmental destruction. Academics mobilize the motif of “at sea” on a literal or figurative level, submerging in its flow of ever-changing political processes. A place of transformation, in-betweens, and movement, the ocean unites and divides us, shaping us as nations and individuals.
Lusophone memories lie embedded across the Malabar Coast
where the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean meet the Tagus River
at estuaries, around archipelagoes, at the confluence of the River Periyar.
Here, one walks the Mar Portugues in all its violent ruin
forgotten but not disappeared
enmeshed in the red clay and forbidding stones
of Castello construction at Kannur, Cochin, Kollam, Cranganore
At Fort Aguado, Goa, the Oublie stands a dark reminder
of a sea of accounting
A mud road veers to the right of the main highway at Kodungulloor, Kerala. Under the bridge hanging a hard right, the little mud road keeps to the edge of the promontory, approaching an expansive view of the magisterial Periyar river framed by palm trees receeding into the horizon. The remnants of a large, multileveled fort rises out of the archaeological site of Muziris, at modern Kodungulloor, ancient Cranganore. It is the outer walls of the Castillo Fortalleza da Sao Tome (A.D. 1523) built by the Portuguese in Cranganore. Known as the Cranganore Fort, it was usurped by the Dutch in 1661, and later, came under the control of Tipu Sultan.
Standing at the tip of the water bound fort, one is reminded of the Tagus River flowing regally by the ancient city of Lisbon’s Castillo. The resemblance of the site to Lisbon’s Castillo is deliberate. The Portuguese colonial encampments reproduce the spatial imaginary of Lisbon along the Malabar coast. At Kannur (Cannanore), Kodungulloor (Cranganore), Fort Cochin, and Tangassery in ancient Quilon, this visual repetition is most striking. One can trace the nostalgia for Lisbon along the Malabar Coast. Across the waters, at Mombasa, a similar vista of fort rising at the tip of a promonitory at Fort Jesus echoes Fort Aguada at the head of the Mandovi River at Candolim, Goa, at once mournful and fearsome. The linking stories between these sites are many and elusive.
WHEN THE SEA RISES (October 2011, India)
CABO DE TORMENTOSO (December 2011, South Africa)
MAR PORTUGUES Trailer (May 2012, Portugal)