Cargo: Dwelling in the Archive of Slavery at the Cape
In 2006, together with a group of collaborators, representatives from two Cape Town-based performance companies with connections to the University of Cape Town, I set out to create a production on the history of slavery at the Cape. The production, Cargo, was first produced as part of the Spier Arts Summer Season in March 2007 in Stellenbosch and then at the National Festival of the Arts in Grahamstown and the Baxter Theatre in Cape Town later that year. 
Cargo is the fourth part of a series of productions based on ‘key sites of memory’ in and around the city of Cape Town. The term is taken from Pierre Nora (1989) and refers to a conglomerate of physical, material and archival sites that function to concentrate remembrance in a world in which, to paraphrase James E. Young, the more we monumentalize, the more we seem to have ‘divested ourselves of the obligation to remember’ (2000: 94). 
In making each of the works in the series, my collaborators and I faced two fundamental and interconnected problems related to the themes of time and silence: How to find an appropriate image in the present for something that has past and how to make the archive speak in unspeakable ways. The productions were created through a dramaturgical process based on the idea of ‘dwelling’ borrowed from the anthropologist Tim Ingold (2000) based on a question posed by Heidegger on the difference between ‘building’ and ‘dwelling’ (1971).
For a discussion of the research, see also Mark Fleishman "Cargo: Staging Slavery at the Cape" in Contemporary Theatre Review, Vol. 21(1), 2011, 1–15.
For information about the companies that produced Cargo, see:
 Spier is a wine estate located 45 minutes outside of Cape Town on the outskirts of the town of Stellenbosch. The estate was once a major site of slave-holding in the Cape. Today it is a major tourist site and boasts a large outdoor amphitheatre that stages opera, dance and theatre productions in the summer months. Grahamstown lies in the Eastern Cape province near the city of Port Elizabeth. It is the site of South Africa’s National Arts Festival, the largest all-comers arts festival outside of Edinburgh (See Lewis, M. (2008) “Past, Present and Future: A Tense South Africa Performs”, PAJ 89, vol. 30. no 2, pp. 93-101 and Kruger, L. (2008) “Performance Review: National Arts Festival”, Theatre Journal, vol. 60, no. 1, pp. 117-120). The Baxter Theatre is an arts centre attached to the University of Cape Town.
 It is worth emphasizing that in the sense that it is intended here, a site need not be a place, it could just as well be an object or a set of objects, an archive of documents or images, or a piece of music, or combinations of all of these.
Heidegger, Martin. (1971) Poetry, Language, Thought. New York: Harper and Row.
Ingold, Tim. (2000) The Perception of the Environment: Essays in Livelihood, Dwelling and Skill. London and New York: Routledge.
Kruger, Loren. (2008) “Performance Review: National Arts Festival”, Theatre Journal, vol. 60, no. 1, pp. 117-120.
Lewis, Megan. (2008) “Past, Present and Future: A Tense South Africa Performs”, PAJ 89, vol. 30. no 2, pp. 93-101.
Nora, Pierre. (1989) "Between Memory and History: les Lieux de Memoire", Representations 26 Spring, 7-24.
Young, James E. (2000) At Memory's Edge: After-images of the Holocaust in Contemporary Art and Architecture. New Haven: Yale University Press.