Tuesday, September 09, 2008

'Monumento' - Dalila Gonçalves

cedência corporal para um projecto de
Dalila Gonçalves

Friday, September 05, 2008

The warm fur of a sheepish dancer or True love will find you in the end here am I your twisted love.

[About the SKITe/Sweet & Tender Collaborations - Porto
a big deal in debt with talks with Francesco Ventrella - which is paraphrased everywhere in this text]

The time was short. Picking up anything would make one lose almost everything that was going on.

Jean-Marc story-told the role of actors in former Japanese culture; actors would be spaced out society, next to the river that bordered the land of the summoned. How beautiful this image is! The actor is closer to the ghosts, that can see what they are preparing but still, out of the possibility of really get in touch with them. They are the most truthful audience but also the first victims of fictional deprivation.
The inhabitants of the real world – of ‘society’ – those, could reach the actors easily. They set them there outer walls of the city, for the serenity of everyday life. It had to be that way; the actors then would be allowed to come back to ‘perform at the full extent of their creativity and liberty what they had been cooking’. Once a year ‘society’ pretends to ‘believe’ the performance (and the need of it) and the actors forget that their closer spectators are those haunted spirits, on the other side of the margin, by accepting the presence of those needy tolerant snobs.
Any artist has had at a certain point posed this question at the core of his intentions. How does my creation relate to the world and to what I am in debt for? That someone says that the making is a fiction is it enough? Where are the ghosts and the society?
At that point of the conversation I stood up and strolled around.

A surplus of sound and movement became present, a galvanizing demonstration of the function body. That’s right. I’m so used to stillness that any movement seems out framed. A voice caught me in this limbo of indecision. Hey, do you want to see a movie? I could say no. Actually I wanted to say no, because I am too shy to enter into an intimate give and take as such… but a ‘yes’ popped up. Most likely because he worn the strangest coat ever and a pair of beautiful lost child eyes. The question he made invaded my ground but it was skin that compelled me to allow it. That acknowledgment came later, of course.
Talking about a film was an excuse. I was suspicious and tried to be as aware as possible of the exchanges intended to take place. Marko started making questions. He asked me what I like. I blushed; invasion of intimate space. You must be more specific I replied. Are you a dancer? No, but I dance. Why do you dance? To feel my skin, to have a remembrance of it! He got me, got me without knowing it; made me open up. I didn’t want that to happen!
Marko said he would love to show me a film because of this and that and the way the actor in the film seems to be phony. He tells me what in that film is special for him and why he is showing that particular scene. I stop him. Why don’t you just tell me about it? After all it is all about what you want to emphasize on it. But I prefer you to watch it, to see…; I prefer the reenactment you make; I prefer you to let me know what moves you in that, to listen you, that can also see me, I prefer you to tell me in a story for all I love is storytelling.
Pieter sat in front of me. I didn’t know why. I never pay much attention to brochures before the shows so I could not know he was interested in knowing more about Marko. I also wanted to know more about Marko and Pieter as I would also want to know more about Cinnamon Crumble Apple Pie, or anything else. So I asked Pieter who the hell you are and what are you two going to do together. There wasn’t much of, let’s say, structure. Pieter told me about when he saw Marko for the first time: in sheep woolen trousers in a very still pose. Perhaps Pieter and I shared the exposure to the same experience. The inharmonious looks of that fellow with the tender sweet lost in space look.
The sheepish dancer had something to tell me after all but he did only tell me because Pieter introduced the remembrance of the trousers. It was that vision that made him shift from his own perspective and forget his work and let me know more about him awhile actually performing Pieter’s intentions. ‘The sheep ballerina’ gave an account of the woolen trousers and its affect in Marko’s psychological identity. We shared that moment not just because we were all together but because any one of us had to give accounts of what was being given. Further that moment on I knew I could look both without embarrassment; they are the crutches, the ones I’ll look to/for if I attend the following shows.
It might sound too harsh to state that artists don’t think much of the audience as human wise. When we consider reception do we really go besides considering the audience’s capacities for understanding, feeling, re-enacting our projects? Do any of us presume before entering on scene that the public might be feeble, might feel uncomfortable, embarrassed, and apprehensive? How that does influences the reading of a project? Aren’t we all too comfortable with the dispositif of presentation?

Image is not fabricated in anticipating its efficiency but presence in and upon the world. The arduous task is to perceive whereas about my vision quits understanding objective reality and is lovesick by itself. The offspring of that exchange is nor predictable nor complete. This is important for accounting that performing is not merely to enroll in a denotative signification order. Certainly I’m not dismissing its existence within an ideological apparatus: it is precisely why ‘writing’ the performance is not a metaphor, and the actual work/labor performed –the act itself – that inscribes it. This notion of inscribing the ‘body’ of performance is crucial. That is the reason why I felt so at ease, so satisfied with the presentation of all the artists/dancers/performers at the opening night. There they were: the flesh and bones that wears body to bridge the gap between me and them. But what were they expecting from the audience? They had questions, all of them. Are those questions to be answered by them; are them addressed to me; or just a motto; are them the invite to enter into dialogue? I kept some of those questions in mind. They really moved me. But nothing moved me as much as the tall boy that at first looked shy, Saxon, dry and was nothing as such. This entails that the effect of the image of that boy is strong enough to inscribe him at the core of my desire, from which I could add new ‘text’.

Jean-Marc made a perfect performance! He made a performance about himself and about me. He was not a performer, a dancer, a singer; he could not smoke on the stage. As much as necessary to present him entangled between the other/listener/mirror image and the remains of – what I believe to be – his own personal creation history. Any act, any art coming to be something becomes a remainder; and isn’t life all and all the same?
Of course he can’t smoke inside the theatre; but as the smoke can’t be grabbed so free will can’t be stopped. And one could tell him that he is being solipsist and insolent; nonetheless he evades us and faces, talks, evades, and delivers himself to that girl that carries the symbol of being thy audience – and more likely, perhaps, a screen image of himself, one that we will never attain.

Catarina told me that years before, she thought she could change the world. I thought about Jean-Marc again. Who is secure that Jean-Marc’s act does not change the world? By focusing himself and the promises he made himself he brought up something more universal than that of what was there. He made me wonder why Catarina stopped trying to change the world and why didn’t she giggle with the ironic remark that good pies can change the world better than art. Perhaps we all need to learn better the business of losing skins.

Perrine got me at the corridor of the theater and asked me if I could give her a closer feedback as since I told I would come to all the performances. Did she felt that I had already been writing this story in my head for myself? Or just wanted me to give a hint on her project? Could she anticipated that I’ve inherited the skill of storytelling from the women around childhood; that I wouldn’t write an essay as since I’m an untalented poet; that I had to offer something on my own terms as a response to her personalized request? She rings my head every time someone is saying that the work can be empowered by discussion and how is possible to let the audience to give feedback. Sometimes I just want to withdraw. I don’t want to talk. Either because being oversensitive or because I find it hard to utter, in real time, experiences I went through. But I want to hear others even that I don’t have anything to say. And will you performer give me a feedback?

There is a Latin proverb (unknown source) which declares: ‘the unsolicited apology accuses us’. To hold onto nothing with everything one has is a leap of courage (or through other lens) of stupidity.
Labeled names identify the persons sat on the chairs that later would have to be set next to the wall - and not on the wall. There was an empty chair! I was more concerned to look to all of them and guess which one looked smart, funny; oh I liked that one during the running performance; she looks daring; there you are intrepid chap and here am I your twisted love.
Antonio wants to make us believe in the importance of the un-seen. This was stressed not only by the presence of a narrator that would give one the account of the traits of the persons sat in front of us, but also, and mostly, by highlighting the presence of the missing person. What we were meant to believe was that the narrator was unraveling what we could suppose but could not be sure. That might be a trick, of course, as judgments of character always seem to be, especially since someone will tend to argue ‘not to be like that’. The chronicler gave voice to what one could think about itself and also about the relations they have with the others.
Haunted by the threat of display this was the only chance to frame him without being caught looking. He was silent and serious at the beginning. How would he, they, not be? They know that we were in expectation; that we were conjecturing what would be next.
The paradox about the act is that it could ‘work’ if the actors were able to assure us to be haunted by dreads of disclosure. Everyone in that chair is someone, who feels, thinks, and lives moments and shares things about and with others. The narrator was giving us the access to a plausible truer voice of all of the persons in front of us. The play enrolls with denotation (why else would they use their real names, names that I already know?), that makes me believe they are telling something about themselves. That activates a shadow over everyone: that they will be next in that game of revelation. Then, how can you laugh with the ‘allusions’ about the fellow next to you? Won’t you be the next to be told about? And what will the storyteller let others know about you? Ok, the performers know the text. But I don’t. If they laugh I get caught in his grin and lose the tone of the text. They lost the manners that give reliability to the extent of my belief in the act.

During the intermezzos Marko and I have been talking about the needs to discuss the projects in process. How do the artists allow people to enter into points for a view with them? In what extent do artists really need the audience’s feedback - besides cheerios that makes everyone glow? How do we relate with that necessity? I address the same questioning to myself but I don’t stage the audience; I was never able to sat them and tell them ‘hey, this is important, let me know more about what you think’.

There is certain randomness in the act of producing something. You can call it inspiration, brainstorming, creativity, poetic revelation… but arguing that there was no meaning or use… It might not have any at the beginning but you are adding a direction to things; a specific act is empowered and by that privileged. That constitutes a basic principle of meaning elaboration.
The ‘Perfect Partners’ departed from things they wanted to use but, according to Nuno, had no meaning altogether. There is no need to be denotative. Dance, drawing, body… utter their own truth. How can you write a body? Does body fit in words and meaning (in the strict sense of the concept)? Doesn’t a body utter a truth inextricably hidden under the skin?
Antonio sang. Voice is the most pervasive and performatic gesture – it’s pure utterance of the body, shapeless, untouchable, evading a body to trespass another. I couldn’t break away from the fascination about the love motto and the singer’s need for papers (with the lyrics?). He was singing that ‘true love will find you in the end’ but what his body was letting us know is that love needs a script.
From the start I was waiting Pieter to drop pants – it was emphasized at the beginning that he likes to do so. Then they all did it; borrowed Pieter’s ‘need’ and mimicry it. If the act was about the get-together of the three, dropping pants was the univocal gesture that confirmed us the agreement between themselves; and my fascination about your beautiful legs. The upshot wasn’t Pieter’s compulsion to drop trousers any longer. If this is a display of ‘moments’ of what the performers are cooking their investigations, what’s the upcoming history for this collaboration? What will do from what is done?

I didn’t tell Marko but I question myself whereas the artists hear other artists’ arguments. We are never too sharp or too risky in our comments towards other artist projects. This makes me anxious and it shows in my face. How can my comment give an account satisfactory for the feedback you need? I don’t have the capability to interact with people I never talked before – there is no possibility of touch so there can’t be possibility of relating with. That is why I decide to bore Perrine with this letter. I want to tell her what I thing about some things I’ve seen; I want this letter to perform my points of view and let known that I share the question addressed here; that none of the content of this text is imposture or deceiving; that there is no pretension for chronicling and assess the performances that not from a partner point of view; that all of this is meaningless if you can’t see that it is written as a love letter.