Eaten By The Heart: The Installation (2012)

The-Heart-1-940x460Installation at HOME, Manchester 2015

The video performance of the Eaten By The Heart series is represented by a 62-minute film featuring 12 different African and diasporic couples kissing for between 4 and 7 minutes each. Each couple is super-imposed onto a block colour and each kissing performance features its own individual soundscape. Half the couples are, in fact, strangers.

The piece offers a meditation on a love performance that is not seen as traditionally black or African. The performance inserts this gesture into an imaginative landscape – especially in the West – that doubts black peoples’ love performances and capacity to love themselves and each other, whist simultaneously questioning kissing’s primacy as a love performance. Zina states:

So many of us cite with confidence that Love Is Universal. But the performance of love is, it seems, cultural. I wonder how the way we choreograph and culturally organize the performance of love impacts what we feel inside and who we become.”

The video performance is showing at the Menil Collection between December 2012 and March 2013. It has also been shown at Moderna Museet, Stockholm in 2014, Goodman Gallery, Cape Town in 2014 and is currently on display at HOME in Manchester as part of the venue’s inaugural exhibition: The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things from 22nd May till 26th July 2015.

Eaten By The Heart is a video installation and documentary project conceived, produced and directed by Zina Saro-Wiwa. Commissioned by The Menil Collection, Houston and supported by the Houston Museum of African American Culture for the Menil’s exhibition The Progress of Love (www.theprogressoflove.com), the piece explores intimacy, heartbreak and love performances among Africans and Diasporans. Eaten By The Heart forms part of Zina’s video performance and installation practice which focuses on the mapping of emotional landscapes, its resulting performative behaviors and cross-cultural implications.

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Images from installation at the Menil Collection, Houston, Texas