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".
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.
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
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.
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])
Backtracking | 2018
performed at the exhibition 'All Places Shall Be Hell That is Not Heaven', Bilt Mansions, Deptford, London
Preparation and serving of canapés with video projection 25 min. duration
Materials: Cutting knife, cutting board, butter knife, fork, bowl, blender, serving tray
Soil on kitchen balcony, packaging
Ingredients sourced on Deptford High Street:
- Red Onions from Holland (Hackney wholesale market, origin unknown)
- Lemons from Murcia, Spain (Scorpyus Fruits S.A)
- Avocados from Peru (Incavo)
- Tomatoes from Maasdijk, Holland (Harvest House)
- Water Biscuits from Asda, containing fortified wheat flour (wheat flour, calcium carbonate, iron, niacin (B3), thiamin (B1)), palm oil, glucose syrup, raising agent (sodium carbonate) and salt
- Philadelphia made with pasteurised milk, containing full fat soft cheese, salt, stabiliser (locust bean gum) and acid (citric acid)
- Smoked Salmon from Tesco, produced in UK and farmed in Norway.
To prepare canapés for the opening event, various ingredients were sourced from Deptford High Street. Each ingredient is tracked down through interviews with sellers and online research, on where, how and by who they were sourced. An amalgamation of documentary footage, home made clips, adverts and screen recordings are synchronised with the ingredients being prepared live on a kitchen counter and served to the audience during the performance.
"No one point of connection was enough. I wanted to get closer to the hand that nurtured it, gave it life, helped it grow. I wanted to know how they killed the predators, the pests, how they fertilised its ground, its body. We had been contaminated, and yet the suffering came from elsewhere, long before we even noticed."
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.
The Butterfly | 2015-17
Performed live at the exhibition 'Objects in the Mirror May be Closer Than They Appear', Lewisham Art House, London
Performers: Piano - Alex Nikiporenko, Voice - Sara Rodrigues, Drums - Rodrigo B. Camacho, Telephone caller - Pascal Colman, Telephone answerer - Tara Mexis, Radio operator - Chase Coley, Youtube operator - Cristina Ramos
Miles away, a hurricane is influenced by the minor perturbations of the flapping of the wings of a butterfly several weeks earlier. (Lorenz)
‘The Butterfly’ consists of an indeterminate composition, created in 2015, based on a system of options and time structure that will repeatedly shape its direction and outcome, using the process of relation in order to trigger and generate continuation of material. The piece alludes to chaos theory's dynamical response system, commonly known as ‘the butterfly effect’, whereby behaviour is highly sensitive to changes in conditions, so that small alterations in the present can give rise to striking differences in future outcomes. Remaining in open form, the performance invites creativity and playfulness as much as criticality, for the freedom of improvisation also comes with a price: that of shaping reality.
Notes on Space and Time | 2016
The Impossibility of Perpetual Motion - we're still here | 2015
THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF PERPETUAL MOTION - WE'RE STILL HERE
performed at “Zealous X” Festival, Richmix, London
Performers: piano 1 – Mahsa Salali, piano 2 – Lewis Wolstanholme, piano 3 – Mimi Jasson,
piano 4 – Francis Devine
fixed media sound piece and video projection (7’30’’)
A systematic introduction of pitches is created in order to be passed from the first to the last pianist. As the piece goes by the system gets stuck in itself before completely collapsing. Both extended techniques and fragments of improvisation appear along with the voices from interviews made with the performers, accompanied by a dream-state video of themselves.
“living in general… having to eat, having to shit, clean yourself…
it’s just time consuming”
“if you don’t think about being alive then you’re just kind of there…
you’re kind of autonomous in a mechanical way”
1 2 3
“if you have nothing to do then you end up doing nothing…
so freedom is just…”
1 2 3 4
“I think it’s only from doing it that you question why you’re doing it…
what was the beginning of the question? I can’t remember…”
1 2 3
1 2 3 4
After the Fall - instinctive almost animal action will save us from the void | 2015
AFTER THE FALL - INSTINCTIVE ALMOST ANIMAL ACTION WILL SAVE US FROM THE VOID
Performed at “you have got my bone” exhibition, Old Foyles Bookstore, London
Performers: Voice - Zafaran Landers, Voice - Eliza Legzdina, Voice - Sara Rodrigues, Violin - Elizabeth Wilson, Viola - Tom Oscar Moore, Cello - Tom Pickles
The piece is based on the American Abstract Expressionists, more specifically Jackson Pollock and his action painting, from where the title’s quote comes from. Three texts were selected from the critic Harold Rosenberg, attaining to a certain utopia or modernist dream, and written on a canvas to be read as paint is being thrown at it. As it gradually gets covered, fewer words appear visible and the text begins to disintegrate. Starting with a cacophony of phrases, these slowly get fragmented lending the three singers to create various word combinationsbetween them. The string players, attaining to the colour, brush and area of the canvas being stroke by paint, also evolve their playing through time by the length of the notes played. Starting with a more pointillist method, towards the end the notes are sustained until the next is played,creating an orchestral effect. The piece finishes with a silent and esthetical covered up canvas.
The Allegory of Stone | 2013
THE ALLEGORY OF STONE
Sara Rodrigues solo show, Rua Miguel Bombarda, Porto
The Allegory of Stone (acrylic paint, paper, clay)
The Shaman Stone (video projection 6:30’ on loop)
The show comprises four room where the audience is free to roam freely and find connections between them, as well as allusions to historical art forms or styles.
The first room shows a comprehension of drawings made on the walls of the space, sometimes doubled by identical ones on paper. Taken from patterns in stones or stones themselves, these refer back to cave paintings whilst also inserting a more conventional form of documentation.
The room next door shows the video ‘The Shaman Stone’ The video documents a performance made by Sara Rodrigues in a remote Portuguese beach wearing a mask made to resemble a stone found in that same place. The mask is a plaster cast and is also featured in the exhibition itself. The motif taken from the lines drawn on the mask also appears in the form of a sculptural abstraction at the back room.
At the back the abstract sculptural floor pieces resemble some of the motifs painted in the first room with another room holding a clay sculpture also taken from a stone which remotes to the expressionist painting ‘The Scream’ (1893) by Edvard Munch.
Beneath the Beach | 2012
BENEATH THE BEACH
Exhibited at “CASS 2012” BA Fine Art Degree Show, Sir John Cass School of Art, London Metropolitan
Materials: Clay, painted plaster, chalk, 3D print, charcoal on paper, acrylic on paper, video projection, slide projector, tv screens
The show ‘Beneath The Beach’ serves as a box opening up for another self-created reality, or a ‘contact zone’. From aresearch into stones, conducted through Sara Rodrigues’ father in Portuguese beaches and later her own investigation on the Thames riverbed, come finding of Neolithic earthworks, burial and ceremonial sites that took place in the past. Waterfronts have always been closely associated with ideas of sacredness, worship, birth and death, and stones, in contrast to the mutable nature of water, establish an undeniable link to memories of a distant past for their stubborn materiality.
By studying each stone as an individual, we confer it the status of sculpture. At a closer look they release their anthropomorphic character, leaving us to consider if we are suffering from Pareidolia or indeed looking at our ancestors token heads. The casting and replication using conventional art materials emphasises its sculptural qualities whilst contextualising them within the tradition of figurative representation. In a restaging of modernism’s encounter with tribal art, the stones become masks that establish a dialogue with occult happenings and shamanic figures, which have featured so prominently in twentieth century art. In a neo-ethnic encounter with the humbleness of materials, its mystical properties are also put to test by the production of the object by the artist herself. Open to illusion, the work is mostly presented in a raw state, without a final layer, endlessly questioning.
selected sculptures and drawings | 2011-13
selected sculptures / drawings
Sculptures and drawings are from the series of works around stones, created between 2012-2013
Materials in order of image appearance:
Charocoal on paper, dimensions variable
Acrylic on paper, painted clay
Plasticine, bronze, stones
Acrylic paint on plaster
Charcoal on paper, Thames clay, clay, plaster, plinth
Charocal on paper
Charoal on paper
Charcoal on paper
Acrylic on paper
Collage and acrylic on paper
Sculptures and drawings are from the series of works around piles, created between 2011
Soil, wood, metal, plaster, fabric (front view)
Soil, wood, metal, plaster, fabric (side view)
Acrylic and pencil on paper
Pencil on paper
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. In Landra, the common English Oak, Quercus robur, is the most prevailing tree around. 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.
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. (...)
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
You Are Standing in a Room | 2018
YOU ARE STANDING IN A ROOM
September - October 2018
project commissioned for Let's Stay in Touch: rhythm of relations curated by Johanna Hardt.
A three part project consisting of an event at The Glove That Fits, an exhibition at Enclave Lab, part of ArtLicks Weekend, and a publication.
Experiment (The Glove That Fits):
5 participants, dark room, stereo speakers, disembodied voice questionnaire, 5 sound clips, oximeter measuring heartbeat rate / blood pressure, sound and video recording.
Exhibition (Enclave Lab):
dark room, video projection and stereo speakers; sound clips interposed with participants' answers, motion graphs results with heartbeat rates and images.
interview conducted by Johanna Hardt to Sara Rodrigues, experiment results with graphs and descriptive answers.
‘You Are Standing in a Room’ takes its name from the piece ‘I Am Sitting in a Room’, where Alvin Lucier explores the natural resonant frequencies of a room by recording his voice and feeding it back into the room, re-recording again and again until his speech is destroyed. Playing with auditory perception, ‘You Are Standing in a Room’ inverts the perspective of the listener by putting her/himself as the central figure; standing in a room, in the dark. The recordings that are played are not re-recorded but are played over and over again as each new person enters in the room by themselves. The interest lies not necessarily in understanding how sound functions in those particular acoustics but in how each person has a different auditory perception, based on their own experiences and memories of various previous environments, questioning how we relate to sound when taken out of context.
The attention is then centred on the room not so much for its resonant properties but for exactly the properties that it does not have, for the space it never occupied. The various recordings that are played are taken from distinct environments, which the listener may or may not have come across, with its various degrees of attention or disregard for particular sound sources. The focus is then on the fact that each person is in this room, in this club, in this area, in this metropolitan city, which invalidates the possibility of being somewhere else in that space and time, leading us to the question: who are these people and who is hearing what?
Communication through sound is one of our primary assets as human beings, but most other creatures on earth also rely on this sense to survive. We have developed to construct complex patterns and beats, but our connection with the sounds around us seem to have faded away, or become homogenised and inundated with those of modernisation; transportation, industry, construction. In order to access our current state of being, the experiment questions if what is about to be heard has indeed been marginalised, hidden, or even destroyed, without anyone out there to listen.
Allusion to a Body no Longer Present | 2018
ALLUSION TO A BODY NO LONGER PRESENT
collaboration with Tyler Eash
1-16 March 2018
Selected and commissioned for the Swiss Church in London
Winner of the Swiss Church annual curatorial collaboration with Goldsmiths College, curated by Camille Bréchignac and George Watson
Restaged for St. Giles Church, Barbican, commissioned by Kunstraum as part of Block Universe Festival
2 June 2018, curated by Thomas Cuckle
50 minute performative installation performed by:
Rodrigo B. Camacho
“Allusion to a Body No Longer Present” was originally created for the Swiss Church, dealing with questions of impermanence, legacy and significance, heightened by the location within a church that resembles a white cube. It is composed of a collection of props displayed as an installation; breathing air mattresses, mounds of wet clay, stacks of drinking glasses, a large mirror, and clothing. These form the primary elements of the installation; the simple materials alluding to and providing support for performances of creation, sentience, and destruction. These items together act as a trace-like memory of the performance – and remained present between and after performances.
The script of the performance takes as its point of departure a series of interviews the artists conducted with the varied communities of the Swiss Church congregation on questions of mortality, faith and legacy; attaining to both the universal and the personal. The transcriptions and ideas from these conversations were then used to create the performance script, which includes selected phrases and excerpts from the interviews, live actions, choreographed movements and interactions with the stage props.
Scratching the Surface | 2017
SCRATCHING THE SURFACE
Goldsmiths, Deptford Studios
Site-specific sound walk for 8 headphones, 25 min duration
Guided along the cement pavement by a disembodied voice, through a linear white line, the participating audience members embark on a renewed vision; of the creekside canal, the construction site, the road outside, the sky above, the hotel next door. Sound clips taken from various documentaries, adverts, promotional slogans, protests and educational videos are cut and pasted on this seemingly mundane surrounding, juxtaposing their intentions on those who witness it. Partially alone with their individual sound guide, yet meeting in unexpected groups, the participants are prompted to converse. Questions vary between what they have heard, their opinions, a fragmented piece of information, a past event, a remembrance.
From a Place. | 2016
FROM A PLACE - TUDO À VOLTA UNO E NINGUÉM SAIBA ONDE ESTÁ -
created and performed for: PLACE | TRATUÁRIO, No.50 Rua Nova de São Pedro, Funchal, Madeira Island
Performers: Nuno Filipe, Paulo Gouveia, Margarida Menezes, Cristina Vieira, Rodrigo B. Camacho, Sara Rodrigues
40 minute performance
The piece was constructed based on the poem “To a Place” by the poet Maria Fernandes. Having been idealized in advance, the piece’s schematization and production was only possible after the composer’s arrival in Madeira, being that the collection of material, of phonographic nature, implied fieldwork. Having as its structure the various recordings from Funchal and other areas of the island, the piece worked sonically with both rural and urban landscapes; such as trades, crafts and industries of urban areas, including traces of the touristic expansion in the capital. Wanting not only to seize a culture in development, as well as one in potential extinction, the field-recording work comes close to that of an ethnographical process, essential for the piece’s creation. This extended to the space itself where the performance was presented, searching for information on its physical and psychogeographical space.
Places: Cave between the Doca do Cavacas and Praia Formosa, Sea and water channel ‘levada’ in Seixal, Quarry and waterfall of Fundoa, Atelier of Mestre Carlos Jorge, Factory of St. António, Typography and Billiards Salon of Rua da Queimada de Cima, Mill of São Roque, Construction work on the space of the old Savoy Hotel, Marketplace of fisherman and farmers, Cable cars of Funchal, Snackbar ‘Castelo dos Hambúrguers’, Rua de Santa Maria (Old Town)
A peça foi construída a partir do poema “To a place” da poetiza Maria Fernandes. Apesar ter sido idealizada previamente, a sua esquematização e produção foi só possível depois da chegada à Madeira, sendo que a coleção de material, de cariz fonográfico, implicou trabalho de campo. Tendo como estrutura as várias gravações do Funchal e outras zonas da ilha, a peça trabalha sonicamente tanto paisagens naturais de zonas rurais, como ofícios, artesanato e indústria das zonas urbanas, incluindo traços da expansão turística na capital. Querendo não só apreender uma cultura em desenvolvimento, assim como uma em possíveis vias de extinção, o trabalho de gravação aproximou-se quase ao do processo etnográfico, necessário para a criação da peça. Esta estendeu-se também ao próprio espaço onde a performance é apresentada, procurando informações sobre o seu passado físico e psicogeográfico.
Lugares: Gruta entre a Doca do Cavacas e a Praia Formosa, Mar e Levada no Seixal, Pedreira e Cascata da Fundoa, Atelier do Mestre Carlos Jorge, Fábrica de Santo António, Tipografia e Salão de Bilhares da Rua da Queimada de Cima, Moinho de São Roque, Obras no antigo espaço do Savoy, Mercado do Peixe e dos Lavradores, Teleférico do Funchal, Castelo dos Hambúrguers, Rua de Santa Maria (Zona Velha)
To a Place
do lugar aquoso
da rocha viva
onde se lavra
da raíz humana
- sei que não sei hoje mais
que o leve sopro ido e volvido
de casa marulhar de onda.
há no ser do lugar
a canga de se
houvera alguma fé
e a fé
(within this ward
is bright enough
as in order to
facts and figures
mountains are high
and sins die hard
we all wave up
to a place
that was never
- tudo à volta uno -
e ninguém saiba onde está.
Where is the Person with Sixteen Parts? | 2016
WHERE IS THE PERSON WITH SIXTEEN PARTS?
created and performed in July 2016 for:
PLACE | HATCHAM St. Catherine's Church Hatcham, Telegraph Hill, London
“Sounds Between” Festival, Ivy Arts Centre, Surrey University. Part of ‘Music Composition as Interdisciplinary Practice’, a research-creation network funding by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
Performers: Cello / voice - Roxanna Albayati, Flute / voice - Nicole Trotman, Clarinet / voice - Gabriele Cavallo and Barnaby Goodman, Trombone / voice - Henry O'Brien, Movement / voice - Scout Creswick
and Katy Ayling
An identity can be thought to be constructed by the sum of its parts, yet these are never stable, they’re ever changing. When we examine an object phenomenologically, its qualities are modified every single time we look at it according to its placement in time and space.
The title of the piece is taken from the last question in the Prashna Upanishads, sacred writings used in the teachings of yoga. However, the practice of postural yoga, currently offered by the Telegraph Hill Centre, has had its meaning appropriated and redefined throughout the centuries. Yogins practiced postural contortions in meditation, yet these were once considered austere and regressive. Comparably, Saint Catherine of Alexandria also welcomed martyrdom through pain and torture in the name of her faith and beliefs.
Is it still possible to think simultaneously of the sacred, the profane, the authentic and the other? St. Catherine's Church is an embodiment of this impossibility of a cohesive, singular entity. Parts often collide and dissonances occur; yet new possibilities and encounters are prone to take place. By turning friction into fusion, a contorting exquisite shape may be created.
The work features a collage of various pieces collected through suggestion and research on the history of the place. Super-imposition and transparencies occur after the breakdown of parts into fragments, sixteen in this case, allowing for a deeper understanding through combinatorial possibilities. From the Latin religare: "to tie, to bind together, to make sense of".
All That is Matter | 2015
ALL THAT IS MATTER
exhibited at “Eu não sei dizer mais" / “I can’t say more” , Sara Rodrigues solo show, Sismógrafo, Porto
Double video projection (16:9, colour 40’), loud speakers (4.0 surround, 40’), glasses, water jug, table,
All attention is put on the elements, in particular water, as it also invades the gallery space with a table being activated through various actions, from the simple gesture of drinking water to the daily register of the weather forecast and news. Gaston Bachelard’s ‘Water and Dreams: An essay on the imagination of matter’ (1942) is brought back to lifereassessing how intimate the relationship between matter and the psyche is.
The piece begins with a shot of hands manipulating clay, in a picturesque outdoor texture, moving to the interior of a domestic house and escaping to a Faustian construction site before bursting into a seascape doubled up with Neptune carved in stone. Starting with physical human actions the videos expand to mistylandscapes with a final view of the earth from above voiced-over by an airhostess.Sounds taken from field recording are also interrupted by vocal chants which reminisce mundane songs referring to the various elements.
Performances for the closure of the exhibition “Eu não sei dizer mais" / “I can’t say more”, Sara Rodrigues solo show, Sismógrafo, Porto
Keyboard samples, laptop, amplified voice, glass of water, jug (14’)
The performance includes sound samples extracted from parts of the video ‘All That is Matter’ that are played alternatively through a keyboard. A voice is materialised through various narratives taken from newspaper articles, accumulated during the exhibition, and songs with lyrics that reference the elements.
collaboration with Marc Behrens
'Outmatters' follows on from the performance of 'All That Matter'. Rodrigues and Behrens then manipulate this material further and transport it into a digitally manipulated landscape.
keyboard samples, laptops, amplified voice, surround sound 4.0 (14’)
From Stone to Man From Man to... | 2014
FROM STONE TO MAN FROM MAN TO...
Performed in 2017 at "Open Platform" Reading Room, Wellcome Collection
Performers: Voice - Nicole Trotman, Voice - Sara Rodrigues, Voice - Rodrigo Camacho
Performed in 2014 at “The Rest is Noise”, Upstairs at the Ritzy, London
“A Way Home”, The LivingRoom projects, London
“New Music Day”, PureGold Festival, London
Performers: Voice - Milena Mateus, Voice - Sara Rodrigues, Voice - Rodrigo Camacho
The piece is formally a deconstruction of 22 online dictionary definitions of the word ‘stone’. The singers read these in a rhythmic pattern and intonating some words, whilst the text repeats itself. Every time the words deteriorate further into syllables and onomatopoeias, with expression marks being given particular articulations, from air pressure to mouth contractures. Gestures are also used to represent the numbers and as a guideline, while the words conjure various meanings and non-meanings between them. In the meantime sand is slowly taken out of the performers pockets, sounding until its end.
The Becoming | 2013
Exhibition as part of 1ª Avenida Residency, Edifício AXA, Porto
Materials: clay, wood board, sculpting tools, plaster mask, inject print
The wooden plank on the floor still contains clay remains and tools used for the carving of the various pieces in the show whilst also alluding to the photograph of Sara Rodrigues’ father’s hands carrying hundreds of tiny indiscernible pebbles. The other photograph shows him holding a single stone, and this same one is reproduced and enlarged in clay, to be then cast in plaster and presented as a mask on an exhibition stand, stripped of content. Yet the clay pieces on the floor next to it hold the many symbol possibilities taken from observations of previously collected stones. In this way each piece refers back to the other, constructing various ongoing narratives.
Tamesa | 2012
Exhibited at “Knell Dobre Glas”, Galeria Quadrado Azul, Porto
Clay, plaster mask, video projection
(21’) on loop
Augmented stone reproductions are made out of clay to the size of stylised yet fully formed heads. One was shattered in the process of casting whilst another is carried out in plaster and painted with reference to the original. From a animisitic style token head stone, the full blown mask is titled ‘chief baboon’. A video projection of the Thames river bed in the corner shows a top layer of clay formation gathering on its shore.
Exhibited at “Knell Dobre Glas”, Galeria Quadrado Azul, Lisbon
Tamesa, Heads (Triptych)
Plaster casts, headphones (1:30’) on loop
A triptych of ghostly plaster casts is created from dozens of stones collected from the Thames. Resembling bone remains, at closer look these token relics also reveal an anthropomorphic individuality whilst serially resting. The audio clip is taken from a field recording of the Thames river bed as water washes in and out, where one can also hear sirens and duck calls in the midst of the cityscape.