Experimental Collaborations

Jè Kle: Waking Visions

Jè Kle is a collaborative experimentation with a Haitian community, developed over 15 months of fieldwork in 2013-2015. We filmed it as a team consisting of an anthropologist, a young moto driver (Robenso Exantus), and a Manbo’s daughter (Maredel Sen Pierre), along with the help of many others in town, such as Haitian-Vodou singer (and song-keeper) Marimoz, the Manbo Nel, and Michel Saint Phard, a Christian shop-keeper. The soundtrack was made by a mix of inherited songs for the lwa, sung by Toto, Maredel Sen Pierre, Marimoz, Nel, and others, and with ambient sounds gathered at the site, and electronic remixes composed by Jeffrey Vadala (and inspire by captures of electronic hums, cell phone ring tones, and ritual noises at the site)

Together, it can be taken as an audio-visual rasanblaj, “reassembling/resembling” (taking from Gina Athena Ulysse’s work) of four domains of life in Sou Lapwen: Water, Nourishing, Dreams, and Seeking.. Through acts and practices of relating to water landscapes, nourishing one another, experiencing and recounting dreams, and helping others find solace in life’s difficulties, people within shared courtyards are everyday re-oriented towards their own and others’ bodies as a tool for assessing and transforming social, ethical, and metaphysical conditions between the courtyard and larger community. As both an act of assembling and resembling, the film also raises questions about the mechanics of technical collaboration, the translatable and untranslatable dimensions of lived experience, and the limits of linear narrative styles .The title, Jè Kle can be translated as a waking vision. It evokes the transformative collisions of different planes of experience —the waking dream, the living dead, the forgotten memory.