Plantation Memories (2018) is a video based on a staged reading of the homonymous book of Grada Kilomba published in 2008. The different chapters of the reading explore everyday racism in the form of short testimonials told by women of the African Diaspora. The staged reading gives the audience a powerful insight into the experience of alienation and transformation through the different characters.
According to Kilomba, “Everyday racism refers to all vocabulary, discourses, images, gestures, actions and gazes that place the Black subject and People of Color not only as ‘Other’ —the difference against which the white subject is measured—but also as Otherness, that is, the personification of aspects of what white society has repressed, by means of infantilization, primitivization, animalization and eroticization. Everyday racism is not a ‘single assault’ or a ‘discrete event,’ but rather a ‘constellation of life experiences,’ a ‘constant exposure to danger,’ a ‘continuing pattern of abuse’ that repeats itself incessantly throughout one’s biography—in the bus, at the supermarket, at a party, at a dinner, in the family.”
The video is also accompanied by the text-based wall installation The Chorus (2017) in which Kilomba introduces the idea of a manifesto based on the words of Plantation Memories.