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Fractured Memory

Ogutu Muraya

This performance is being presented in double bill with Tropicopolitan Objects by Ho Rui An.

Through interlacing literary text, video projection and storytelling, Ogutu poses the question – how to deal with an inherited history full of complexity. The piece reimagines James Baldwin’s essay ‘Princes and Powers’ which describes in great detail a congress of Afro-intellectuals, writers, artists, philosophers and theorists, held at the Sorbonne in Paris in 1956. Central to his research and this performance is a multiplicity of perspectives which includes Baldwin’s essay, historical archive, and personal experience. 

Through examining the legacy of the congress, injecting the personal and creating fiction, the performance becomes a shift of perspectives, disjointed voices and fractured contours. The performance aims to create an acknowledgement of a shared history and find a new vocabulary to deal with its uncomfortable truths. Ogutu explores the borders between oral and visual narrative in order to create a multidimensional space that is discontinuous and characterized by fragmented time. A space where the teller and the image form a dialogue. 

‘The great force of history comes from the fact that we carry it within us, are unconsciously controlled by it in many ways, and history is literally present in all that we do… And it is with great pain and terror that one begins to assess the history that has placed one where one is, and formed one’s point of view.’ James Baldwin

29 October 2017


This performance is in English

Review of Fractured Memory in Theaterkrant

Ogutu Muraya is a writer and theatre-maker whose work is embedded in the practice of orature. He engages the sociopolitical with the belief that art is an important catalyst for advocacy, for questioning our certainties, and for preserving stories often ‘miss-told’ or suppressed in the mainstream. Ogutu studied International Relations at USIU-Africa and recently graduated with a Master in Arts at Amsterdam University of the Arts – DAS Theatre. He has been published in the Kwani? Journal & Chimurenga Chronic. His performative works & storytelling have featured in several theatres and festivals including- La Mama (NYC), The Hay Festival (Wales), HIFA (Harare), NuVo Arts Festival (Kampala), Spoken Wor:l:ds (Berlin), Globe to Globe Festival (London), Ranga Shankara (Bangalore), Afrovibes Festival (Amsterdam), Art in Resistance: Spielart (Munich) & within East Africa. He is a recipient of The Eric Brassem Exchange Certificat.

Composition and performance:
Ogutu Muraya

Dramaturgical and direction assistance:
Esther Mugambi and Noah Voelker

Initial research with:
Nele Beinborn

With advice from:
Nicola Unger & Andrea Božić

Filming & Editing:

Produced by:
Das Theatre

Special thanks to:
Roland Albrecht, Akira Milan, Lena Graber, Dirk Verstockt, Edit Kaldor, Muthoni Garland and Al Kags

Thomas Lenden