Contemporary And: From staged readings to performances and video installations, your work is truly transdisciplinary. How do those different approaches come together?
Grada Kilomba: I am very interested in producing hybrid spaces where different formats and different languages coincide. I find this to be one of the most urgent tasks of this postcolonial era. If we look back, the classic disciplines always ask us to be disembodied artists, disembodied authors and theorists. We are expected to create a distance to an object that we study, describe, and stage. And we are asked to distance ourselves, our biographies and our bodies, from the questions this object might raise – and this is exactly the core of colonial knowledge production. There is a violent marginalization of certain bodies and simultaneously this fantasy of being objective, neutral, and universal. But what happens when you have historically been this object? What happens when you become the speaking subject? In which languages and formats should you speak your reality?
I believe we need to be experimental with these questions. Maybe that is why I often use different formats from project to project: because I think I have a different question for each format and each project takes me to a different dimension. It is an experimental process in which I want to position myself – my biography, my body, my emotions, my memories and history – as part of the work. This is what decolonial knowledge means to me.