talking heads

“First of all, the song hears something in you and you’ve let yourself hear what the song hears in you. In advance of the proper name, in advance of the geography, in advance of the history, like before you know any of those things. If you follow that, if you let yourself go with that, there is no telling where you will end up. If you follow the music, and years later you find yourself sitting somewhere, and you’re like: “How did I get here?” It’s ‘cause you followed, you followed the music which heard something in you which you yourself did not know of. But you followed it. You let yourself follow it. And so, when that happens, and when the music hears something in you that is more than you know about yourself, more than you have a language for. If you can follow that unknown language then you are embarked on the understanding that you yourself are an Afrosonic mapping. You yourself are also an itinerary of a circumnavigatory experience. In other words, a song is inherently diasporic. And so are you, but you don’t know it yet. Stuck on the dancefloor in New York, or the dancefloor in Douala, you don’t necessarily know that. You think you know it, but the song knows more than you.”

― Kodwo Eshun in conversation with Amal Alhaag and Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung


Kodwo Eshun lectures in Aural and Visual Culture at Goldsmiths College, University of London. In 2002 he co-founded, with Anjalika Sagar, The Otolith Group, a collective working across film and video, artists' writing, and exhibition curation. He is the author of More Brilliant than the Sun: Adventures in Sonic Fiction and has written for publications including The Guardian, The Wire, and Frieze.

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