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daily chronicles

Between forgetting and remembering
Text by Claudia Galhós
“Half the walk is but retracing our steps” (in “Walking” from Henry David Thoroeau)

It has passed only one week. But now, each time we enter the meeting room in the convent, each person already knows what he is doing there. There is a huge paper covering the mirrors that occupies one of the four walls of the white room. It is there waiting for a weekly squedule that now is familiar to everyone. The work is not organised on daily basis but is open for the weekly dynamic proposed by each artist, being updated each morning. So, the days are there already open for personal use, and the organisational structure is there to be a partner and walk side by side with artists creating a path for all to walk together.

Tiago Rodrigues, the curator of TryAngle, at this point, has little to explain about how things are going to be. On the opposite side, on the white irregular naked wall, there are new A4 papers with names for projects to begin, with the respective names of artists doing them: there is Philippe Vincent’s “Amazon” or Sofia Dinger’s “Dear Isis”, for example…

It didn’t take long for the group of strangers to feel at ease with each other. And the same happened with the relation with the space, the old convent on the top of the hill of Montemor-o-Novo. All this relation – with people and the architectural space – crosses some of the ideas being experimented here, with different perspectives and approaches to this ephemeral and particular community that is living together for two weeks. That is the case of Alwynne Pritchard’s “Time Choir” – in which almost every person participating in TryAngle, even the ones that are not artists, describe a fragment of a video from the first day of TryAngle, where choreographer Rui Horta (director of Choreographic Centre O Espaço do Tempo) talks about the history of the meeting room and explains what is going to happen in that same space for the next days.

Alwynne proposes to each person to do a verbal description of what they saw on video. Through a kind of police interrogation, the person exercises a mixture of forgetting about what they remember from the actual moment in itself, but relating to it intermediated by film. So they experiment a detachment from the personal involvement in the actual moment it happened, while at the same time experiment putting themselves at the centre of the action but as if seen from a distance. The exercise is in itself a paradox, that unfolds its significance through  the multiplication of perspectives and personal ways to relate to the practice of memory – between remembering and forgetting.

It has passed only one week and this monday, the 17th september, after a saturday completely open to the exterior – in Bullfight Arena – and with the participation of the inhabitants from the city – something not seen in the context of TryAngle, or even Collina (the lab that preceded TryAngle), the week starts with internal presentations at the end of a day in which almost everybody is busy finishing projects, editing video and/or audio, or developing ideas coming from the week before.

Between the dynamics of the day and the presentations of the night, there was the second zap visitor Ludo Abicht, speaking about “Does art make a difference? Or doesn’t?” (for the lecture, read Ludo Abicht’s text in day eight segment in this site). Also in Ludo’s presentation the importance of reactivating, transformed, the familiarity with impressions of the past was a constant. As an invitation to walk again, with a different approach, in the trail of what was embodied, either as conscious knowledge or just a more organic, intuitive, emotional intelligence that guides each action and gesture, artistic but also personal.

After dinner, in the same spirit, technology accomplished its task and didn’t disappointed when finally it didn’t work when was supposed to work at the precise moment of a presentation, in this case “Interviews” from Leandro Kees. We have been there before. Counting on the efficiency of technology and being left down by it.

Then we all went down to the ground floor of the Convent, where the ruins are more present, to meet the tender poetic desolation of destruction that has in itself a potential to attract whispers from the past. It was there, at 9p.m., that Jorg Ritzenhoff shared his “Fado – Fade” project. A spacial corporeal movement of voices that come from a root already lost.

He started by recording each artist singing a song of his choice in his native language. Then, by chance, exchanged the songs between artists and recorded new versions. With all the material, he created a new musical pattern that in this night moves through the space and through fragments of the singing or humming voices. It exposes a kind of interiority that is of the life that was erased from those stone walls, and an interiority to the life of TryAngle, and of the sad delicate and intricate human poetry of each language and the tone and variations of the chosen songs. Knowing that “Half the walk is but retracing our steps”, is knowing that to be able to retrace means that for some time in between one has to let go.