Pro-regresso | 2022
collaboration with Rodrigo B. Camacho
Encontros da Primavera Residency
Picote, Miranda-do-Douro, Portugal
A month spent speaking to local villagers and analysing the soils of small allotments, vineyards, brooks and oak and olive groves with bare land around the area. The research found microorganisms both present and lacking in each soil and imagined the steps that could be taken to enhance the fertility and complexity of life. A final performance and concert with microscopic footage traced the sucessional stages from mineral soil to the complex fungal web found in old growth forests.
Cultura Emergente | 2021-22
/ EMERGENT CULTURE
collaboration with Rodrigo B. Camacho
11th September - 19th October 2021
Installation and garden, video and lecture-performance
comissioned by Bienal da Maia 2021, curated by José Maia
Bienal de Arte Contemporânea da Maia, Fórum da Maia, Portugal
Maia was a rural place before the beginning of its modernization in the 80's, to become what is now known as the City of Maia. Our research took place at the heart of this ubranisation, where the Forum is situated. We were invited to intervene in a public space, and were atracted to an abandoned house and garden, which was fenced soon after we started filming there for the first time. The front garden of the Forum was deemed as too visible for our 'experimental' intervention, so we were given a patch of grass that had been neglected by the gardeners when cement was left there after a construction. We used a microscope to look at soil samples, and realised the huge difference in soil life between the compacted and almost sterile soil of the Forum's garden with that of the abandoned lot. A film emerged from this discovery, which later became the material for a lecture-performance, alongside a physical regeneration of the Forum's garden itself.
The five columns of the installation next to the garden are a collage of microscope analyses taken from various samples of these soils, in order to create a gradient of the successional stages of soil - from almost entirely mineral to mainly organic, with an abundance of microorganisms and soil macroaggregates, more fungal than bacterial, and with all organisms the soil food web present. The Forum's garden was also regenerated in a gradient form, to show how if a soil is given more organic matter and is revived with the needed microbiology, it can itself go from a soil that can only host pioneer species, so called 'weeds', to then allow for cabbages, onto more demanding crops; to move from annual to perennial plants, to shrubs and then trees, to eventually become an old growth forest. In these sucessional stages we can find space to plant whatever is needed, and learn to identify and appreciate all the species that settle by themselves, without direct human intervention. The community around the Forum - the guard, the cleaner, the director, the producer, the office workers, the shop keepers - are now the guardians of this garden. They defend it against the official lawnmower and invite everyone to take part in this communal place of giving and taking which is, most importantly, a real space for the commons and an ecosystem that does not need to be tamed but indeed valued for what it is and what it can become.
English subtitles available
O Mercado da Terra | 2020
O MERCADO DA TERRA
/ THE EARTH MARKET
collaboration with Rodrigo B. Camacho
6-7th November 2020
Performance for Cabaré Brutal, Auditório CCOP, Porto
The text was entirely composed of transcriptions taken from interviews, debates and reports from the television show 'Earth and Men': "The earth market is a market that is not working in Portugal, precisely because there are connections to the earth that are not exclusively economic".
Terra Quente | 2020
/ WARM EARTH
collaboration with Rodrigo B. Camacho
17th October - 14th November 2020
Exhibition at Sismógrafo, Porto
Floor - Earth (Frechas, Trás-os-Montes) with wheat flour glue and water, on cardboard with velcro. Wall - Graphic score painted with brown earth pigment (Frechas) with guar gum, water, clove oil and honey. Ceiling - twigs of Holly Oak tree, Broom, Olive tree, Wild Rose, Bramble and Gnidium; with variable lengths, hanging from a jute and hemp thread. Screen - 30 minute video: physical works in jute outfits (Frechas). 4 channel speakers - a 30 minute, 6 voice, sound piece; reading of the graphic score with excerpts from the 90's portuguese television show “Earth and Men“ (“A Terra e os Homens”). Model - maquette of a 2.5 hectare piece of land (Frechas): flour glue with water, guar gum; with a red pigment outline of Sismógrafo's floor plan, to a scale of 100:1. Bottles - an edition of 10 Wild Rose syrup ‘Terra Quente’ (Frechas). Books - available for consultation during the exhibition period.
The guided tours were intended to go beyond the exhibition space, extending the discussion to food production, starting from the topographic understanding of the surrounding area, through the use of rudimentary mechanisms of measurement and mapping.
The exhibition essay was entirely composed of transcriptions taken from interviews, debates and reports from the television show “Earth and Men”:
In your opinion, has the Portuguese agriculture lost, or won? I think that these questions cannot be put in such simplistic terms. The Portuguese agroindustrial sector was practically an inexistent sector, especially in comparison with Europe. When I arrived in Portugal, I felt the shock of that backwardness; a backwardness that was technological, economic, social, cultural. Before joining the EU, in 1986, we didn’t have any proper structures for the slaughter of cattle. We didn’t have what we call an ‘agri-food industry’. Extremely outdated methods of production with low productivity levels. We are coming to a time, in which we will be forced or bound to alter many of our traditional habits and behaviours in agriculture. Most Portuguese farmers maintain social representations, which lead them to remain attached to the earth in ways that are, sometimes, not very rational. (...)
Cargo | 2021
collaboration with Rodrigo B. Camacho
2nd - 7th December 2021
Installation with multi-channel sound
commissioned by Madeira DIG
Estalagem da Ponta do Sol, Madeira Island
Cardboard boxes, firewood, hay, wheatflour, saltfish, sugarcane honey, Madeira wine. Multi-channel sound system.
Recordings of traditional transportation songs from Madeira Island (1970-90), recordings of phone calls with organisations and individuals about the balance between imports and exports of food products from/to Madeira Island (2021).
Things have always been carried. Firewood, hay, wheat, fish, sugarcane, wine... In the old days, loads were sung by the people. Today, there is no singing. Duties have passed from hand to hand, from hands to machines. The people are gone and there remain cargo containers full of silent products. Where are these products? Who carries them? Where do they come from? Where are they going? What is left: elevator music. An elevator is a mechanical porter, just like a person, but without parents or children. It neither has learnt nor will it teach the music it is loaded with.
Degrees of Abstraction | 2019
DEGREES OF ABSTRACTION
Presented at 'At the Margin of the Landscape Comes the World'
Pavilhão Branco, Municipal Galleries, Lisbon
organised by the Curator Collective
Post-Graduate Course on Arte Curating of FSCH, Nova University of Lisbon
Goldsmiths MFA Degree Show, Ben Pimlott Building
Performative installation and participatory performance with indeterminate duration
compost, degraded soils, coated seeds, pesticides, NPK fertilisers, cement and sand mortar, OSB boards, wooden pallets, plywood, TV screen, cone speakers, transducers, natural earth pigments:
French ochre, Italian gold ochre, Raw sienna, Burnt sienna, Raw umber, Venetian red, Champagne Chalk. planted crops: Edamame (soy), Einkorn (wheat), Bicolour Sweetcorn (maize)
Degrees of Abstraction is a work in parts. Is is not expected that any audience member will explore the entirety of the piece during the exhibition, but that their visit may allow them to dig deeper into a selected section. The performative installation is activated by the viewer, who is able to chose between one of four titles, unraveling a painting/graph which is lifted from the ground by Sara and performed with accompanying sound. One of the colours can then be selected, triggering audiovisual information about that section, while a container matching the shape of the graph is mounted. The viewer is then asked if they want the container to be filled, revealing the material which that section refers to. The final stage invites the viewer to take a sample, either of coated seeds, fertiliser, degraded soil or compost.
Graph names: Gradient Degradation, Real Investment, Extracted Salvation, Synthetic Intensity
Testing the Ground | 2019
TESTING THE GROUND
Performative installation with indeterminate duration
Materials: painted wooden boards, compost, soil testing kit for NPK, various sound clips, video projection
Audience members can activate the sound by selecting each of the abstract paintings / graphs in the room. After several layers of unraveling, the piece finishes and both the performer and audience members go outside to test the soil for Nitrate, Phosphorus and Potassium, planting seeds thereafter. The piece served as a testing ground for its later development 'Degrees of Abstraction'.
Graph names: Agricultural Land Deals top 10 investor countries, Soil erosion Soil degradation underlying causes, What the world eats, Agricultural sector green house emissions, IPCC report of a six degrees celsius increase, Colour testing for Nitrate, Colour testing for Phosphorus, Colour testing for Potassium.
Fluctuations: Missa Pro Defunctis | 2018-19
FLUCTUATIONS: MISSA PRO DEFUNCTIS
collaboration with Rodrigo B. Camacho
performed at The Art Pavillion, Mile End, London, as part of Depictions of Living.
performed in João Gomes rivebed, and Quinta das Cruzes, as part of Ilhéstico, commissioned by Porta 33, Funchal, curated by Miguel von Hafe Pérez.
performed at Walker House Estate, as part of Art Night 2019 with Chalton Gallery, London.
commissioned by Sismógrafo for Não é Ainda o Mar curated by Óscar Faria, performed at Corpus Christi Coventry, as part of Fórum Internacional Gaia Todo Um Mundo, Gaia, Portugal.
Sound installation and durational performance (3 hours)
Two figures collect samples of the various living species that they find; equipped with protective suits, gloves, gas masks, dissection kits, pipettes and coverslips. The residue of the performance consists of a collection of 162 coverslips, preserving the living remains of a world in sudden change.
Missa pro Defunctis (1621), by Duarte Lobo, has been slowed down five times. The original text of the mass has been substituted by the scientific latin names of the species who's origin took place somewhere between the 50 million years that separate the Paleocene from the Pleistocene period. The female voices (Sara) sing the appearance of 200 new species, while the male voices (Rodrigo) sing the extinction of the same 200 species during the Holocene (specially during the most recent 10 thousand years [0.01 million years of the history of planet earth])
The State of Things | 2017-2018
O ESTADO DAS COISAS / THE STATE OF THINGS
Produced for the project: Taxonomia, O Estado das Coisas with Rodrigo B. Camacho
Galeria do Sol Porto, Portugal
supported by Caluste Gulbenkian Foundation
interviews with João Costa, Daniel Osvaldo, Dona Imelda, Sara Rodrigues, Afonso Almeida, Vítor Pereira, Sara Rafael, Rita Braga, Gonçalo Araújo, Andrew Nimmo, Jorge de Carvalho, José Valente, Kiko Pereira, Francisco Babo, Daniel Catarino, Manuel Molarinho, Inês Lapa, Bertrand Chavarria-Aldrete, Ana Cruz, Leonor Parda, Gabriela Villar, Paulino Garcia, Sara Villar, Gabriel Mendes, Sérgio Tavares, Marta Angela.
PIPINOIR Expressão Criativa, Funchal, Madeira
interviews with Daniel Vasconcelos Melim, Rui Alberto Camacho, Carlos Jorge Pereira Rodrigues, Roberto Moritz, Fernanda Martins, Alexandra Barbosa, Roberto Moniz, José Camacho, Cristina Vieira, Duarte Nuno, Tiago Castro Lopes, Paulo Gouveia, Lídia Araújo, Helena Barbosa Camacho, Marta Faria Capelo, Rosa Madeira, Miliza Mendes, Diogo Casto, Mariana Camacho, Tozé Cardoso, Filipe Ferraz,Emmanuel Mejía, Mariana Pipocas, Rodrigo Barbosa Camacho, João Viveiros, Natacha Gonçalves, Lidiane Duailibi, Norberto Cruz, Virgilio Caldeira.
Various invited musicians were interviewed during a one month period, with questions relating to one’s identity: name, age, profession. Following were questions related to their first musical memory, the music they most have to play and the one they most enjoy, always associated to a place. A final question asked for a sound they find characteristic of the city in which the project took place, which Sara then went to record, gathering phonographic material which the other musicians could chose from and relate to by using their voice or instrument. In this way, the posed issues started to mound to participants’ volition, originating a mapping of what is most relevant to each one, and inevitably, to the whole.
Throughout the days, these answers were recorded and recombined in various forms, producing new dynamics as more arrived. They were reproduced through various speakers hanging from the ceiling of the space in relation to floor map with coordinates of each city produced to scale. Little by little, the audience became able to witness the development of a space that received the expression of a community of a time and place, whose identity is marked by the artistic practices as well as the sociocultural experiences they hold alive.
The work focused on the recovery of information through various types of memory one can activate. This includes particularly episodic memory, dedicated to autobiographic events linked to a time and space associated with emotions and other contextual criteria suchgas who, when, where and why. Also procedural memory, which does not base itself on the conscious return of memory, but on an implicit learning, activated, for example, in the act of doing something such as playing a musical instrument.
Invocations: The End of The World Service | 2022
27-29th May 2022
live performance by Musarc choir
The End of The World Service:
Musarc in the Land of Remorse
hosted by Post-Disaster Rooftops
supported by i-Portunus houses
images by Aga Beaupré and Gabriele Fanelli
The founding myth of Taranto roots in errantry and exile. Like all other great cities born in this way, it is haunted by entropy. Today, the old town of Taranto in Southern Italy is known as a post-capitalist wasteland, ‘bitten and poisoned’ by ecological and political disaster. Propped up by steel beams and concrete blocks, the ancient city island is suspended somewhere between death and reincarnation, strung up like a flayed orphan between one of Europe’s largest and most contentious steel industry complexes on one side, which has polluted the air and the seabed to the ground; and the the new town of Taranto, which the old city emptied into as its population and economy grew.
Conceived in collaboration with six international artists and composers - Neil Luck, Marie Hamilton, Aga Beaupré, Mela Boev, Joseph Kohlmaier and Sara Rodrigues - Musarc’s response to the invitation has evolved into a long-form, diffused oratorio: a cross-modal, many-headed choral dérive that has spawned below ground, like a mycelium, colonising the space under the city over a year of research, writing and residencies. Over two days and two nights, it erupted into liveness as The End of the World Service, processing through the streets and public spaces of Taranto, carried by instruments and the body of the choir, to be instantly composted for a future ritual in the archives of communication, public address systems, mobile phones, live radio and video broadcasts, documentary film and photography.
Invocations is a post-human, ecological tarantism that builds on the idea of phytoremediation: the ability of plants to absorb and process pollution. The second major procession of the event, Invocations sees the choir carrying plants and colours through the city, intoning statistics, the sound of work and nature, and invoking a future after pollution and industry as they dig the plants into fresh soil.
Oblivion is Premeditated | 2022
O ESQUECIMENTO É PREMEDITADO
/ OBLIVION IS PREMEDITATED
collaboration with Rodrigo B. Camacho
9th - 30th April 2022
video and live performance
part of the exhibition Beneath the Cities, the Revolution
curated by José Maia and João Terras
Abril no Mira, Espaço Mira, Porto
In the Northwest Iberian regions of Galicia (in Spain) and Minho (in Portugal), people call acorns landras, which are the fruits of all species of the genus Quercus. Unlike the grains from the grass family poaceae - wheat, rice, corn - upon which entire empires have been built (if only to then collapse), landras tell us an entirely different story. They are the fruits of perennial plants, trees, in this case, which live for hundreds of years, demand no backbreaking work, and grant generous nourishment, year after year, whilst consistently improving soil life.
Today, modern life-forms prevail, and many around the world (even in remote or rural areas) gravely depend upon industrially produced objects, whose production they do not control. This form of social and economic organisation causes people’s lives to become dramatically unbalanced, consequently destabilising all ecosystems on this planet. In local traditional cultures, landras play an imminent role as a symbol for freedom, abundance, and autonomy. They point us towards other ways of living; some vanishing, some just emerging, all ever more necessary.
I'm Going Home | 2021
I'M GOING HOME
/ VOU PARA CASA
live presentation on the 29th November 2021
video for 'As Nossas Árvores' online map and physical mural
commissioned by project Equilíbrio
Escola Secundária Francisco Franco, Funchal, Madeira Island
'As Nossas Árvores' (Our Trees) is a project that maps and brings to importance trees of Funchal and beyond, searching for both valued and unconscious relationships between humans, trees and the rest of nature. It promotes the creation of artistic work around each tree through the collaboration of an artist and a community that surrounds it. For more information please visit the website.
The Jacaranda tree at Secondary School Francisco Franco was selected by Sara Rodrigues, who developed the artistic project with the support and accompaniment by Cristina Pestana and Sandra de Freitas, coordinators of Banco dos Afetos and teachers at the school. The voices and texts heard were answers to a questionnaire made to A level students of Humanities, May 2021. Additional contributions of texts were given by the A level students of Sciences and Technologies, May 2021.The footage from the interior of the school was filmed by Michel Koch-Fischer de Freitas, A level student in October 2021. The background body and voice effects were produced by the students of the GCSE students in Sciences e Technologies, November 2021.
From individual answers, written in paper, arrives a collective voice with a very strong intention, and words that repeat themselves. From the scattered sentences, a poem emerges, spoken by the students themselves, like a live chous, reiterating thoughts, feelings and sensations.
In an audio-visual composition, we see how the solitary Jacaranda of Francisco Franco Secondary School is not merely a tree, it reflects the lives of the students themselves; entering, staying, leaving, time, memory. Busy and rushing, many of the students had never stopped to look at that tree, but even with eyes glued to the floor it was impossible not to notice the sea of purple left by the fallen petals. After some introspection, they realised how it protects them from the rain and run, how it brings them protection, calm and peace. It takes them away from the turbulence of classes and work, and reminds them that the most simple things are sometimes the most important. The tree is not only an allegory to life but life itself: "when I look at it it makes me happy, because I know I'm going home".
The jacaranda (Jacaranda mimosifolia) is a sub-tropical specie from South America, that has spread throughout the world from Bolívia and Argentina, after the Spanish invasion. Today, we find them in european and african capitals; in old colonies and economic centres. In Pretoria, the administrative capital of South Africa, also known as Jacaranda City. there is un urban myth which says that if a purple flor falls on the head of a student, they will pass all their exams. Although they can reach 200 years, jacarandas live on average 50, as their beauty and resistance to extreme weather and pollution has lead them to be planted in ungenerous places, such as great urban areas.
The generous jacaranda has many medicinal properties; antiseptic and antibiotic, its a good alternative to penicillin. It is used to increase apetite and give mental energy. From the leaves, bark and seed essential oils can be extracted. Warm baths of the leaf are good for treating cuts and skin infections and also for acne.The flowers are known to be anticarcinogenic. The root is used against throat and mouth infections. The bark is taken as a tea against parasitic infections, and its antioxidant components prevent oxidative stress and, as such, neurodegenerative diseases.
The Great Conversation (still, as someone passes by) | 2020-21
'THE GREAT CONVERSATION (STILL, AS SOMEONE PASSES BY)
collaboration with Marleen Boschen, Charles Pryor & Lou-Atessa Marcellin
Performed by the New Maker Ensemble for 'I trangress borders and boundaries'
at Oficinas do Convento , Zaratan , Casa das Artes / Sismógrafo (Portugal) and Splendor Amsterdam.
3rd of October 2020
Commissioned as a podcast for Diaspore
Performed for Diaspore programme 'Scenes of the World' at Coco Velten, for Les Parallèles Du Sud, Manifesta 13, Marseille, France
Text and imagery: Marleen Boschen and Charles Pryor. Sound composition: Sara Rodrigues. Porduced with: Lou-Atessa Marcellin
The piece follows the soil as a narrator and witness to the unfolding histories of human cultivation practices and environmental acts of violences. It seeks to make audible the soil as a living global infrastructure, a container for past and present cultivation knowledges and extraction processes and how these stories can be told through something we often unknowingly depend on for the survival of humans and non-human ecologies alike. This project is born out of a larger research-led film project titled 'A Womb of Things to be and a Tomb of Things that were' by artists Charles Pryor and Marleen Boschen which combines elements of historical and scientific research with speculative fiction about seeds and conservation during times of ecological breakdown.
Mouth, Feet, Hands, Everything | 2020
BOCA, PÉS, MÃOS, TUDO
/ MOUTH, FEET, HANDS, EVERYTHING
collaboration with Mariana Camacho
26th of September 2020
Commissioned by IN LIMEN for 'This is Not a Magritte Performance' #Ed.2
Performed at the opening of the exhibition 'What we Don't Have, we Can Create', PADA Studios, industrial park Baía do Tejo, prior CUF factories, Barreiro, Lisbon
Sound performance for blindfolded audience members
Evoking the memories of the people that worked at CUF, quoting their sentences and extending on their senses, emotions, thoughts. The bitter-sweet taste of pride and suffering, of being stuck to a machine for hours and years, of the repetitive beating of the factory and the work itself, of the long hours and poor pay. Of living and becoming a product of CUF for all it encompassed, of seeing and being part of its never-ending empire. The body and the machine become one, and they have an unstoppable rhythm, that of production. As the factory fades so do the workers.
In the Beginning There was a Box | 2020
IN THE BEGINNING THERE WAS A BOX
Exhibited as part of 'A Garden for Autarkia', Autarkia, Vilnius
Live workshop presented at Delta Mityba / Autarkia, Vilnius
curated by Saskia Fischer
A video-workshop commissioned Transparent Domain / Lenette Lua
Live workshop presented in Funchal, Madeira, as part of the project Equilíbrio
To create your own box, you will need the following materials: 2 cardboard boxes of the same size. natural earth pigments and guar gum, 1 or more brushes, 1 ruler, leaves, twigs or/and dry grass nutrient-rich soil or compost, seeds and/or leftover vegetables
The video-based workshop revisits the history of commercial plants, the conquering of land and loss of self-sufficiency, delving into questions around land ownership, food production and trade. It is foremost an invitation to re-connect with the basis of life by getting our hands dirty, starting with a box (found in any local shop).
Heavy Duty | 2019
Performed at The Change Room, a monthly event space curated by Oana Damir, London.
Sound installation and participatory performance, 12 min. duration
Participants: maximum 8 people, lying on 8 wooden boards, wearing an overall for protection purposes.
coal, ice, water, sand, soil, bricks (6), 8 human sized wooden boards, cone speakers playing, various sound clips and 6 soundscapes.
The 6 main substances will throughout the piece be laid on top of each participant’s body, depending on whether or not they raise their hands regarding certain statements, being these: You struggle in the heat (coal), You can’t bare the cold (ice), You would like to live next to the seaside (water), You think surviving in a desert is possible (sand), You have grown your own food before (soil), You think your house can protect you (bricks).
In between each question, sound clips will be played, which have been gathered from: various news reports on recent weather conditions, interviews with scientists about future prospects, tutorials on how to cope with various climate changes, as well as doctors demonstrating the effects it can have on us and finally, how to prepare for a possible disaster. Gradually emerging soundscape will take over, each time relating to the material that is being brought in, leaving the participants immersed in both the physicality of the substances and the sounds associated with it. In the end, the participants are able to witness their own choices as well those of others in relation to the questions, by examining the substance left overs. 'Heavy Duty' does not present solutions but invites each of the participants to glimpse these possible outcomes, considering them in relation to their choices and beyond these.
Scaled Definitions of Unsustainable Subjects | 2018
SCALED DEFINITIONS OF UNSUSTAINABLE SUBJECTS
November 2019 / July 2018
Created for the programme NME SISTEMA at Teatro Baltazar Dias, Funchal, John dos Passos, Ponta do Sol, Fórum Manchico, Madeira Island. Performed in 2019 at Iklectik Art Lab, London.
Materials and instrumentation: voice, movement and instrumentation, mixed media, video projection and sound recording, 17 min duration
Performed by: Ragnar Á. Ólafsson, Nicole Trotman,Rodrigo B. Camacho and Sara Rodrigues
A longitudinal process of auto questioning is proposed to all participating performers. The much debated problem of sustainability is placed in its negative form, asking each performer to question what they believe to be unsustainable on a global, national, local and private scales. From these varied interviews, and in an emergent format, a performance score was developed. Aiming to immerse the ever so diverse audiences in a similar quest for auto questioning and sensitisation, the topics approached are also segmented into various definitions of information delivery: from abstract, undefinable to understandable and obvious. The experiment arises in attempting to understand the ways in which performative art may function in order to, with most impact, convey messages to audiences of such distinct natures, under such threatening subjects.