Eon Om Circle Song
Project Introduction: As part of her residency with La Bonne Women and Girls Centre (Barcelona), Nicola presented a performance work ‘eon om circle song’. The piece revolves around the mantra ‘om’. A sacred sound of Vedic origin which can be translated from Sanskrit as ‘divine consciousness’.
Performing in La Bonne’s gallery space, surrounded by an audience, she expressed the ubiquitous sound through vocal improvisation. She sounded the mantra at different pitches, focusing on the sound and her breath as it began at her stomach, passed through her throat and ended at her lips. Inspired by Joan La Barbara's extended vocal techniques, she also chanted on the inhale. Drawing the intention into herself.
The performance posits the ‘om’ mantra as a cultural artefact. It aimed to provoke discourse on how the meaning and intention of the ‘om’ mantra has been lost, misappropriated and capitalised through the exploitation of the philosophy of yoga. Sound is used as a lens to explore colonial pasts and its contemporary effects.
Nicola has returned to photographic documentation of this performance, adding marks that playfully represent chakra and nadi systems in the body and which indicate use of the voice in the performance and the atmospheres and images that emerged. As described across yogic philosophies, chakra are energy points in the body and nadi are the channels through which prana or breath flows.
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Eon Om Circle Song was created during a joint artist residency between February - March 2022 at the La Bonne studios with Sara Baga (Portugal), Kia Redman (Barbados) and Nicola Singh (UK). La Bonne, a partner on the CONTESTED DESIRES programme, is based in Barcelona. The residency followed ‘Colonialism and Gender’, the final capacity building workshop of the CONTESTED DESIRES programme that reflected on archives and archivism in relation to gender, race and identity, viewing them in new ways, in particular from a critical decolonial feminist perspective. This brought into focus absence and stories that are systematically silenced in official narratives.
Biography: Based in the North East of England, Nicola Singh's performance is rooted in live performance and is made in response to contexts of location, encounter and dialogue, and to feelings and chance. It uses live performance as a kind of promise of shared honesty and attentive, close listening. Nicola’s current work focuses on how art and culture contribute to social definitions, knowledges, and attitudes toward race and racism.
View Eon Om Circle Song here: