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Mamadi Doumbouya for The New Yorker_Oct


100% POP 



#PUNK 100% POP *N!GGA | verbalized as “hashtag punk, one hundred percent pop star nigga" is a live performance album inspired by my formative years in zimbabwe during the 1970s, '80s and '90s | the triptych explores three sonic ideologies: punk, pop and rumba, that are confronted and celebrated through iconic artists patti smith | grace jones |and rit nzele | respectively |

in #PUNK 100% POP *N!GGA i challenge traditional rules of dance performance | crossing into the realm of live art by refusing to separate the choreographic | sonic | and visual elements | Each 50-minute set presents distinct sonic and visual landscapes | created by incorporating voice | dance | lecture | installation and performance | The sets could be performed individually or collectively as an epic song cycle| 

having inherited zimbabwe’s historic and political baggage, I use my work to question how status and power are experienced and presented with the body | for me and others born without property | name | or class | the human body poses a possible salvation | a manifesto or a vehicle ​for potential self-invention and self-determination | #PUNK 100% POP *N!GGA is a continuation of my career-long investigation of portraiture and self-portraiture | biography | subjecthood | liberation | and independence |


a  triptych | 

this live performance album is composed of three parts |

#PUNK | hashtag punk

“Punk”, a slang for a worthless person, became the name for a loud, fast moving form of rock music that was popular in the ‘70s and ‘80s. The punk cultural aesthetic includes a diverse array of ideologies (such as self-reliance, non-commercial art-making, non-complacency, destroying and re-purposing, etc.) expressed through fashion, visual art, dance, cinema and literature. The way the visual installation is recycled and transformed by the performers and audience reflects these ideologies.

In her iconic song, “Rock 'n' Roll Nigger,” Patti Smith declares “I haven't fucked much with the past, but I fuck plenty with the future." Spurred by this daring proclamation, I declare myself to be an “African nigger” - the sort who fucks with the past, and fucks even harder with the present | future.


Encouraged by the punk rejection of status quo, ethics and ethos, I am seduced by the possibility that there is no future, that the future is in the present. In #PUNK, I stage a raw concert inspired by indie music, americana and my formative years in Zimbabwe in the ‘70s and ‘80s.

Performed by nora chipaumire | Shamar Watt | David Gagliardi | Austin Williamson

100% POP | one hundred percent pop

Pop can be read as that “art“ of the ordinary, the art most accessible to the people. People - as those ordinary working masses, who don’t necessarily frequent museums, galleries etc. In the work 100% POP, I️ find myself returning to the ways information and knowledge is or was acquired by those of us who grew up in less free times - in times of Drum magazine, african broadcast stations, color bars, poverty, active connections to rural and township lifestyles.


Grace Jones is perhaps the first superstar who was black, female and unapologetic about her presence that I️ fell in love with. In 100% POP,  Grace Jones‘s renowned “one man show” further  instigates the idea of a “cover”. We approach this by soundclashing elements and Grace Jones’, Zimbabwe’s Chimurenga music, dub and noise.

Performed by nora chipaumire | Shamar Watt | Atiyyah Khan

*N!GGA | star nigga

Modernity and Contemporaneity is born out of the unlimited and uncredited productivity of the human machine known as “nigga”. Through this session I am proposing a re-evaluation of who is, what is and when is a nigga. *N!GGA is a sonic essay that wants to queer both the pathology of racist capitalism that undergirded the colonial project and transatlantic slave trade. To engage with this dangerous word and thought is to engage in the powerful aesthetic contributions borne out of the black body.


*N!GGA owes its language and grammar to beautiful equations of Congolese rumba music with icons like Franco and black african imaginaries as well as black african futurity. Labor, value and aesthetics - what is to be done about the acknowledgement of black african contribution to the world of ideas. African pessimism and african optimism are happy partners in this provocative statement.


I summon the personage of Rit Nzele, the phenomenal congolese atalaku (one who animates), while rehearsing for the band’s latest release *N!GGA.


Performed by nora chipaumire | Shamar Watt | David Gagliardi | Austin Williamson


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