Duriel E. Harris is a black feminist artist, poet and performer based in Bloomington, Illinois, who has been heralded as one of three Chicago poets for the 21st century by WBEZ Chicago Public Radio. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois, an M.A. from the Graduate Creative Writing Program at NYU and a B.A. in Literature from Yale University.
Harris has recently developed a one act solo performance called Thingification. The term thingification was first coined by author Aimé Césaire who set out his thesis that colonisation works to reduce the humanity of all of the groups involved, resulting in their thingification, in Discourse on Colonialism. As an African-Americanist, Harris has picked up on the ramifications of this precept in African-American forms of expression, but has also expanded the scope of her exploration of thingification to include gender, sexuality, class and level of ability. Denial, desire, fascination and diminishment are undercurrents that those encountering Harris´ Thingification will uncover.
Harris is, however, not only an accomplished artist, poet and scholar, but also a compelling performer who is able to take on a wide range of roles and characters very convincingly and entertainingly. She hopes that her audiences will be able to develop a more intuitive and organic connection with their own bodies and a more authentic understanding of their own emotions as a result of what they´ve experienced.
In this podcast, Harris performs some excerpts from Thingification for us and talks about her creation and execution of this work.