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The Return Beat - Interfacing with Our Interface

A Spiritual Approach to the Golden Triangle


Olugbenga Taiwo

This book represents a significant contribution to debates about identity, the arts and spirituality. Written in an autoethnographic style, the author charts his own journey into understanding the interface between himself, culture and digital technology. He charts a course through West African orate and literate traditions and their relationship to the transatlantic trade of enslaved Africans, describing how they became a source of so many dance traditions in Europe and the Americas, such as capoeira, Afro Brazilian and Cuban movement, Hip Hop and Samba. He enters into a detailed analysis of Western linear time and the African curved time; the flux of the Return Beat. He sets out a description of the Yoruba religion of the Orishas; centred around the figure of Olodumare and the concept of Ashe, the animating force of the natural world. As a practitioner of T’ai Chi Ch’uan, he draws comparisons with Chinese spiritual practice and other philosophical traditions, always linking these with the movement of the body both as generative forces and reflective frames. He constructs the framework of the Return Beat, physical journal and mobile studio practice from an understanding of many intercultural, conceptual and performative practices, embodied over his career as a performer.

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