“In this first year and first play, Claudia Dias' project starts in the way of a boxing match, each second well measured, as if the token given by this event already contained in itself the notion of being able to change everything, round by round, question by question. Each irreversible event in the time flow triggers a thousand other possibilities. The boxing match is between us and time.”
Excerpts of the text FOR FUTURE MEMORY by JORGE LOURAÇO FIGUEIRA
SETE ANOS SETE PEÇAS (Seven Years Seven Pieces) is a project that involves the creation of seven pieces in consecutive years, beginning in 2015. It is born of a concern that is often difficult to voice or name, but that once brought out from its initial interiority, gains meaning in a sentence or word.
In this case, the word is ENCOUNTER; but, more than its meaning, what matters is what this word evokes, convokes, and puts into action. For me, the word 'encounter' immediately brings forth an image: two people standing face-to-face and the possibility of meeting or clashing. Two bodies and a distance between them to be articulated, travelled, lived, maintained, abolished, or amplified.
This is the IMAGE I have chosen as the starting point for each creative process and, materialized on stage, as the opening of each piece. I consider this image to be a good starting point because it carries the notions of temporality and suspension and contains within itself the power of encounter.
In addition, beginning each piece the same way, with the materialization of this image, underscores that fact that each piece will be a different object.
My interest is not in creating pieces about the concept of encounter – which would translate to a mere aestheticization of the same idea in seven different versions – but in encountering other artists in order to create something together. The project therefore makes use of ‘encounter’ as a creative tool.
The repetition of the opening image also underlines our desire to leave all possibilities open: we know only our starting point, not our destination nor the path we will take to reach it. I therefore position the creative act on the same level as a “blank page”, refusing the determinism of certainty and control. I do not intend to create seven pieces to confirm what I already know. I intend to discover new things with and through the other.
And who are the others in this project?
They are seven artists, willing to navigate unknown waters and experience encounter in dissensus, if that is what occurs. In other words, people capable of living collectively in disagreement. This project will reach beyond “being in agreement” or “agreeing to disagree”.
But what is the relevance of a project around the idea of encounter in the context of the performing arts in the next decade?
On the one hand, it is a defiant gesture in the current social, cultural, political and economic reality. I find it a particularly interesting to swim again the tide and design a long-term project that counteracts the idea of a future that is absent or precarious, painfully laid out year after year.
On the other hand, the temporal arc of the project activates a commitment between artists and between artists, producers, and co-producers. This deepening of non-utilitarian relationships seems fundamental to me, particularly in the performing arts field that is increasingly defined by intermittency, project-based work, and voracious circulation of people/artists.
I feel it is also particularly pertinent – at a time where the word ‘inevitability’ has become stuck to our skin – to affirm and shape the moulds in which we want to develop our work, in a refusal of what is imposed upon us as inevitable.
Finally, the promotion of artistic research sustained by values of continuity, trust, and shared processes is fundamental to the production of knowledge, as opposed to the current tendency to attach importance only to the circulation of information.
“Claudia Dias will serve seven years as an artist, at the end of which seven encounters with the future will have had passed before our eyes, seven plays about, there it is, the time that passes by, the time that has passed, what there is to come. Where will our bodies be in one, two, seven years, each time there is a collision? How will our moods be, so linfatic today? How will we take the hits? Will the skin still have those same marks I saw in the mirror today, in the morning, during the light insomnia? Each encounter will be made for future memory, in the hope of us waking up and still be alive.”
Excerpt of the text FOR FUTURE MEMORY by JORGE LOURAÇO FIGUEIRA