MAGMA - Sharing our path in Pedras Festival, Lisbon.
After a full time of movements in between Portugal and Estonia, participating in Pedras Festival in Lisbon and in Notafe Festival in Vildjandi, being back in Berlin we took time before jumping to Spain for writing a little bit about one of the strong experiences we shared during that time: MAGMA.
Nowadays, joining the up coming 10 years celebration of the NETZWERK AKS, we are happy to share these words as a way of bringing close our presences and the paths of all of us, the members that kept crossing and growing during all that time. Enjoy!
MAGMA opens itself as an invitation by c.e.m (centro em movimento) in the context of Pedras'18 Festival, to work in a laboratory process in sites of Lisbon, awakening impulses and visions with and from the surrounding, merging them for creating “magmatic” experiences from inner spaces, pouring out through the potential cavities that each of us embodies, running so downwards through slopes and stairs of the city.
It focuses in how to approach spaces, materials and images from a sense of foundation in different qualities and bedrocks of the body, fluid and dense marrows that sustain our sense of physical presence.
We propose to enter in an actual time where catastrophes co-exist with deep sense of creation, an inspiring course for impulses and imaginaries moving us as changing sediments in a constant process of evanescent conglomerations.
Magma after Pedras.
An exercise of recalling.
It has been almost two weeks from when we departed Lisbon. There has been already other undercurrent flows in our mind, bodies, and attentions on all the compounds that the living experience in movement, in constant movement, has to offer. Each time. Each moment.
And Magma is there, or here. Not just a memory of a process that became some sort of performance experience, but a pulse; a soft but vigorous sense of waving, still, rocking and balancing our ground under the feet.
It is a lot about metaphors, we know.
Recalling could be as well a kind of calling back or again. Loud voicing for the amplifying of the past as a part of this present moment; a still growing duration. From an opening in the volcano mouth of the present, we have a chance for contemplating the liquidity being born inside, emanating and pouring out from there, where we float on also, adrift, surfing on incandescence, trembling without fear.
Metaphor can become a concrete experience. A body experience. A useful device for that. An urban reflective one.
A violent one… sometimes.
Working during all that time for Magma in the stair path of Beco de Sta. Helena, under the touristic viewing spot in Alfama… we witnesses: … the echo of music, songs, amusing ones … the chatting of tourists in their path looking for their destiny, being a little lost and breathless already in the starting of their tour, carrying their luggage up and down through the labyrinths … each holly day promises to be an opportunity for getting lost… a tour through a holly land, a movement of sudden discoveries.
Tailored travel. Ready-mades. Not too sudden, not too much, safe ones!
… and those persons that also are a part of the landscape, real persons living there behind those walls since ever. Working persons. Aged. Imaginary persons in our mind. Where does this distinction among real and false persons arises from? Plain projection? How not to fall in a judgmental dualism and allow another play of polarities? to offer a sense of dis/tension? We sat. We watched. We stayed for some hours letting our power and energy be taken, mixed with those flows, soaking our awareness on that. And in general we ended up the day with real tired bodies.
“…we thought about two stairs in the city for you!” said Sofia in our first meeting on the subject. And yes… stairs were the environment where magma was felt right, the physical and symbolic configuration of space for opening a volcano in the city: assent and decline. Going up in your spiritual development or falling in the depth of your own subconscious troubled world. Heaven and hell, and we moving on the uneven ground on top of the earth.
Looking for a stair that would be a proper slope where to flow down, we discover that place in Alfama just under the Mirador of Santa Luzía. It had that day a thin bubble of quietness, amazed because of that under such an agitated surrounding. Every bubble after all just explodes.
There was this young lady tourist guide popping up from the top, telling her made version of this typical city area. She appears with a group of… tourists. She orders to them to sit in the steps. She tells her tale in loud voice involving all those who live behind closed doors and windows… she continued including funny comments that looked for being friendly and spontaneous but somehow uncomfortable. One week later she appeared again. Same tale, different group. A little more rough, louder, same jokes than last week, almost shouting… very fast. Boiling. A contrast to the attitude of those one who were listening. People being carried with doubtfully interest. Among them us: a group of bodies moving in a line from one wall to the other, walking downwards through the stair, extremely slow, in a line of forces, very present but not giving any extra attention to the presence of that normality in the place. After a while we just sat. We passed through. We waited. Did we give up?
We could certainly work there co existing with the rushes of events that those steps yielded to us daily. And that became certainly a practice for enduring and accepting. Magma was a Lab for discovering a type of tuning with those presences, and imagining other potentials forging a kind of poetic landscape of moving figures.
We are grateful to the group of persons who decided to accompany us. They have offered their bodies, different movements and subjectivities, personal histories, differences for the challenge on getting mixed without losing the own pulse and motivation. It was definitively not about one imposed sense of lava burning itself in a homogenic cluster of matter. We understood that with the days. The challenge was to use all those volcanic impulses in the form of words, images, body propositions, interactions, space-crossings in space, in between bodies and body parts for enriching our common interest in the flow, flowing on that specific place, that arrangement of stairs, that part of the city. Proposing certain set path of actions, the practice allowed some forms of eventual inhabiting. Not just in the city with its constant and endless clashes and encounters; also among bodies, each body that is a vibrant compound of matter, cosmos of knots, freeways, channels and expanding openings.
Our bodies. Ordinary bodies. Looking for connecting the magmatic nature of the body. Been its usual perception burned. Dense bodies. Soft ones. A body made of ashes. Still wanting to be a body with its delicate sense of walk. A clumsy walk. Brave and frightened. Moving ourselves forward, pushed, pushed by the incandescent force of cosmic shares, the past still haunting us with its population of beings and phantasmagorias. Bodies open as abysms. Bodies fossilized. Cracking, eroding, disintegrating, scattering, being blown.
A flow of bodies giving themselves to gravity with the ocean as destiny… the water… the river viewed among the narrow spaces of houses dressing the Alfama hill sides.
“Let those volcanoes fertilize the land around!” preached our friend Jonathan in a whatsapp message, helping us with the ash walk imaginary.
Details emerging from non-wanting, not focusing sliding gaze.
Painted lips in some of those volcanoes mouths.
There was this woman seating in front of us with a friend and a little kid in the ferry towards Cacilhas that Saturday afternoon after our workshop in c.e.m. It made us think in all the effort she needed for fulfilling the picture of herself. The brushed and dyed hair, the outfit, the mirrored sunglasses, the pose, the uneasy sense of acting while talking and having joy from the trip. Underneath that full female body of matter, there was pulse. An organic eruption contained besides sociality. Her lips and nails revealed somehow that on her. In bright and magnificent red.
Jumping up towards a bigger context.
Pedras as an organism breathed around certain concerns. In what World we would like to live?
Could this volcano we are involved now bring some thoughts impregnated with magma? A World. One with solidity and fluidity are acknowledge as co existent qualities for sustaining the experience of unfolding movements. At least a World with less made-up structures, less anguish while keeping or fighting and more space for invention and for facing the challenge of simply looking among us openly. Sometimes in deep silence, so we can thus perceive the tremors arising as soothing lullabies, songs that awakes us in our dreams. The shared and individual dreams. What World? Which reality? One that we are stubborn to question once and again, among petrified utopias and the promise of the next brand new dance in the market. A World where power and knowledge are not just closed property but vivid exertions of our inherent right for just being born there, here, now. Beyond this separation among idealism and realism, entertaining rhetoric and numb resignation, exiting the nest of the ego and leaving the vacuum of blind ideologies, exists a hint of a possibility in entangling ourselves with true power. Magma, we realize, is an image of that. Embodying a prehistoric source of impulse of creation / destruction in a universal scale in our lives, something that is still happening unnoticed beyond us, more than us and maybe threatening whatever we consider representing us.
And also that question we feel now more in line with other more concrete in the aesthetic level of the research we were guiding: what kind of a process would we like to embody and how to share it in Pedras as a Festival, taking it as a context for common art practices in the city. That haunted us most of the time. A research, a performance, a piece, an installation event, a production, a documentation, a talk, all or none of this, nothing? What delicate balance of elements would feel adequate for inviting all of us to enter in a common field even though we do not name it?
There was this woman the first day of exploration in the stairs that felt our dance as menacing. She wanted to kick us out in a very bad tempered angry mood. We continue in our slow moving across her doorframe wondering ourselves about the limits for these experiences, practicing establishing a form of communication that without talking and not being un-respectful invited for just moving, differently. “We are only dancing” Said Camila. (Why “only”? we wonder right now). But immediately the lady came out with her bucket and broom and water and soap and washed the pebbled ground infected with awkward substance in front of her house. We saw that she is one of those still alive inhabitants of the original Alfama. She hoped to clean something that unbalanced her feeling for order and ownership: her tiredness maybe after the waves of humans constantly passing, stealing something of her spirit and leaving only a scent of indifference.
We presented (a kind of word to say we were all present there) twice Magma. We were surprised and taken during those two occasions. We felt that we did not expect what it happened first. And then that the work during the previous days merged somehow the synergies among bodies, that part of the city, the subjectivities. There was a power.
“What are you doing?” Asked that old man the same first day of explorations. “We are dancing” (Camila also said that? Or Julia? Memories tend now just to become confused). “Not here! It is dangerous!” he replied puzzled; “…under here, there is a volcano!”
MAGMA is a Lab project for site specific proposed by Carlos Osatinsky & Fernando Nicolás Pelliccioli, and accompanied by Júlia Larama, Gonçalo Pires, Laura Vainer, Renata Hardy, Camila Soares & Isadora Dantas; produced for Pedras'18 Festival by c.e.m. (centro em movimento)