Here is another of my MoMoby Productions videos for the Remaking Moby-Dick Project for “Chapter 132: The Symphony” in Moby-Dick. It is sung by Astrid Selling and Kristin Borgehed, from Folk Practice Academy in Ronneby, Sweden. I have been working with both of them for another research project based on Baltic stories, and they seemed like the perfect “chorus” to reimagine the music of the sea drawn from the women who wait for others to return, or who just celebrate their own togetherness.
The images come from a tapestry I documented and remixed at the Herring Era Museum in Siglufjörður, Iceland for another project when I visited there during a research residency in February 2013. The tapestry depicts Icelandic “herring girls” hard at work in brutal manual labor (artistically rendered and contrasted in much softer handicraft form, which I loved) combined with depictions of them in “stillness,” backs turned to us, waiting for the ships to come in. Do they wait for fish, men, or just more money to keep them financially independent? They keep their secrets.
As many who know me are aware, Queequeg is one of my favourite characters in Melville’s Moby-Dick. The tattooed Polynesian cannibal harpoons my heart with his insights on “Pagans” and “Christians” alike, and he pulls me through the text, hooked and snagged, each and every time I find him. As a difficult character to process against the backdop of post-colonial insights, he challenges me to unravel Melville’s ironic twists but ultimately he compels me to see him as a core site for embodied remaking of his own time and histories. It’s just too easy to write him off as noble-savage caricature. For me, it’s only fitting then that he is the subject of one of my Moby re-makings for our Remaking Moby-Dick Project, and so I thought I’d share a short video remake of mine for Chapter 12: Biographical, along with my text that inspired it. It’s here in Chapter 12 where we first learn of Queequeg’s past (and future) as a (not-yet) Cannibal King, and it, of course, includes the infamous quote about his island homeland Kokovoko: “It’s not down in any map; true places never are.” (Karlskrona, or Kokovoko, you decide.) Below is my ode (in text and video) to Queequeg: “Thus, then, in our heart’s honeymoon, lay I and Queequeg–a cosy, loving pair.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o4vPCtqBgP0 Cannibal Kisses (by MoMoby) The best thing about cannibals is their breath when you kiss them, and their tongues, of course. Too soft, somehow, flicking, flesh to flesh. And trusting them to hold back toothy desire, to dam up blood and cauldron boil behind the earthy air that puffs inside your mouth and shivers downward rippling waters from Polynesia. Warm coconut milk, dripping, white, white as whales.