Exercises in Belonging by Jyothidas Kelambath Vadakkina

The performance will enquire about the relation between the sense of belonging and the feeling of longing in the backdrop of forced displacement and exile. Exercises in belonging is an attempt to draw people to the meanings of the word BELONGING. The performance will put a space in the middle of the word belonging to phrase it as ‘be longing”. The action of putting a space between the letters to manipulate the meaning of the word is intended to generate thoughts about how a simple typographic intervention can lead to change of meanings. The phrase “be longing” suggests a constant state of longing, or a call to continue longing. This act of inserting of the space intentionally complicates the meaning of longing. There are many instances in contemporary political history, where certain longing for a place of belonging, is placed and manipulated in the minds of diaspora to garner political power. At the same time longing for a place to belong is a real constant in the emotional turmoil of people running far away from homes to save their lives. Longing is at the same moment a craving for a past and a feeling laced with the hope for a future.