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daily chronicles

The Shared Life
Part II – The Community at the Convent

Text by Claudia Galhós

“Don’t forget to look at the stars”.

What is it about artists that always look beyond what it is expected for a person to see? What is it about artists that are so curious and sensible that they want to touch the world that touches them?

That is part of the reason why they don’t forget about the stars and look at the stars and remember people that is important to look at the stars. This is also connected to something that has been recurring in TryAngle Montemor-o-Novo: the gesture of going outside the protected space, conditions and set up organised by TryAngle, or transforming it’s configuration, which means a constant questioning of the status quo (through art)…, in any case, it is some form of really going into the world and outside of the clear, defined and identified artistic frame.

It could be said that this quality of desire, towards the exterior, coming from a given idea of interior, is not strange to the universe of contemporary art if we consider it in a more generic way. Some of the experimentations being done here are good cases of this: Anna Nowicka’s research on her “Close Up”, the project once (in the first day of TryAngle Montemor) known as “Cinematic Practice” is just one example. But, in a different way, so are some of Leandro Kee’s questions, such as: Why are we choosing to do what we chose to do?

In a more clear or direct way, there is a recurrent profound movement towards the other and the outside. And in this case, unexpectedly so, an outside represented by the city of Montemor-o-Novo and it’s history and inhabitants. But either way the impulse comes from a deep dive into the inside.

“Don’t forget to look at the stars”. This was the interpellation Raman Zaya posted on a poster that he carried for everyone to see from the Convent into the theatre on the second day of TryAngle, tuesday (September, the 11th). And that was the beginning of his “each day a question” he started to bring from the artistic context of TryAngle into the outside world, to the people of the city of Montemor-o-Novo. The next day, Wednesday, the question was: “Is fado a woman?” And with the question written in a big poster he transported it with him through the streets and into the Theatre Curvo Semedo. And with this ephemeral history of the life of the posters, they are supposed to reenter the space of the Theatre, through the door of Teatro Curvo Semedo, to be part of a fragment in his project “Fragments of Separated Rooms”. This way they transport some kind of memory of that travelling between the art’s space of the Convent, the live of the city, and back into the theatre, where art and life are expected to meet in some way…

The big auditorium of the Theatre is where Raman has now installed the set up of this experimental project. With him, is Andrea Spreafico, Alwynne Pritchard and Philipe Vincent. Latter Miguel Borges joined the group.

The theatre at this point is divided in different spacial fragments. The area of the audience is separated from the stage by a grey curtain in all his length. The stage is divided in two, with a black curtain serving as a kind of wall, that crosses it in his depth, but not completely. In each side there is a small bench. This is the set up he prepared for him to explore his ideas and stories, that he is sharing with his accomplices and collaborators. But the set up, he says, has a double use and meaning: is a set up proposed for other artists in residence in TryAngle to explore their own ideas but with the challenge of putting it – the ideas – in this specific architectonic context, that transformed and fragmented the conventional and natural configuration of the big auditorium of Teatro Curvo Semedo.

One of Leandro Kee’s proposal is to do an inquiry in the streets of Montemor, asking people what they would want to see presented in the Theatre of the city. But there are other examples – besides the impressive challenge of gathering hundreds of people from the city and surroundings in the Bullfight Arena, next saturday, to take a collective photo in the scale of 360 degrees (see day one chronicle in TryAngle Montemor-o-Novo, “Art for the Masses”).

In Convento da Saudação cohabits Rui Horta’s choreographic centre O Espaço do Tempo and the archeological department Oficina de Arqueologia… And this coexistence in the same historical space was more than enough for Andrea Spreafico to propose a double dive into the archive world, of the archeological and of the choreographic centre with specialised guiding tours with the archaeolog Sira Camacho and choreographer Rui Horta respectively. For this, he was accompanied by Jorg Ritzenhoff, Linda Blomqvist and Leandro Kees. What they are going to do with that is yet to be decided… Andrea also constructed a “Pig” – a rectangular metallic structure, bigger than a man, with a camera on the top of one size (-proximately on the level of the face of a person) and at the other end a projector able to project in real time into a wall what the camera is recording, with wheels that allows it to move if pulled by someone or something.

Andrea was inspired by the visit at the biologic agricultural farm Herdade Freixo do Meio and the words from the agricultural engineer Alfredo Cunhal about the fact that the pig is an animal created by man to ingest, process and digest what he gets from nature to give back to the nature. And this ‘Pig’ structure was all he wanted to create, and now is there to be discussed by all and used by any other artist if someone wants. And immediately there was Alwaynne’s idea of taking it into the city of Montemor-o-Novo and record inhabitants talking into the lens and being projected into the white walls of the buildings of the city. Still Andrea has this idea he is working on of an analog karaoke, which means singing like in a karaoke but open to the city inhabitants and into the music of ABBA played live by the philharmonic collective Banda da Sociedade Filarmónica Antiga Montemorense Carlista. And these are only some examples…

All this is part of a shared conviction between artists who believe they are people involved in an ecosystem they influence and are influenced by, and that life is a shared experience, even when one goes really deep inside the skin. And still with all this, they say: artists are narcissistic people, only focused on themselves…