As if creating and touring his award-winning debut album, Otherland, wasn’t enough, Noah Slee has been back at work, turning his hand to the worlds of visual-art and dance. After living, working, coming out and creating within a city and culture far from home, the Berlin-based Pasifika singer who was raised in New Zealand has become deeply certain of the importance of his roots, influences and struggles.
Through a series of earnest vignettes, his short-film “…and so, we move to Otherlands” tells a story about identity and the integration of a patchwork of selves that occurs as we move through Otherlands. Weaving together political, sexual and cultural strands, the pieces give voice to both the unique and shared aspects of struggle, healing and celebration; all told through the language of dance.
As the video unravels its ode to the LGBT Community and to Queer Tagata Pasifika, there lingers the undeniable and continuing sense of diaspora – feeling at once connected and confused, celebrated yet rejected. A subtle yet important nod towards post-colonial climates and constricting social and religious norms. The video propels these narratives forward in a piece that also celebrates women, a stunning symbolic representation of Slee’s desire to use his voice to “give women a space at the forefront, not as victims but with power and glory”.
This short-film is an impressive example of collaboration, while at the same time being an aesthetic feast. It is a battle cry of support for those who suffer injustice and a mourning wail for violence perpetrated and loved ones lost. Not least, it is a testament to the transformative power of art. It seeks to remind the audience of the unity that can be found in music; the way that it can transcend class, race and more. Above all, as we move to Otherlands, it is a prayer of thanks to the healing remedy of dance.