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daily chronicles

The celebration was beautiful, man!

Text by Claudia Galhós

There are rare moments where the feeling of brotherhood is shared between a community of strangers in a particular context. When that happens, even triggered by the simplest of actions and ideas, and even if only for an instant, it seems people are together and feel part of a community, as ephemeral as it can be.

Saturday, the 15th september, thousands of people from different cities of Portugal manifested against austerity measures, that government is imposing in order to deal with the economical crisis, and the role of Troika in these matters. The meeting started at 5p.m. all over the country. And in Montemor-o-Novo, the artists kept working in TryAngle, persisting on the artist role of permanent questioning. Even if they were not physically present in the manifestation, they were engaging in a posture in life that puts into practice an attitude of citizenship, which means active involvement in matters of living in society.

At 6 p.m. around 200 people from Montemor-o-Novo responded to the invitation of going into the Bullfight Arena and join in a community feast, consisting of a couple of artistic proposals, the first of which was a 360 degrees group photo, which celebrates being together and the utopia of a compassionate community. In the photo there are children, adults, old people… There is people from all fields of work, of all ages… There are families, single people, couples… And there is the team from TryAngle. But it was not just the fact that all these people were there for the photo, was the fact that they went there available to be with the others, even if it meant being patient and waiting and repeating the ritual of waiting.

Old people sitting on chairs, with not so much strength to be up, made the effort to be standing during the long minutes and pauses that were needed for different versions of the photo to be taken. There was a dog playing in one side of the arena. And there was a child crossing opposite sides of the arena to go from the mother to the grandmother, and at each attempt getting lost in the way. And there was Tiago Rodrigues, the curator of TryAngle Montemor, giving information to the crowd and being humorous. And there was Rui Horta asking the mob to sing together “Happy Birthday” to someone present. And there was 200 people forming a circle inside the arena singing “Happy Birthday” to someone most of them didn’t know…

The 360 degrees photo was a shared project from artists Ola Osowicz and Anna Nowicka. After that ceremonial collective photography, other offerings to the population proceeded: Philippe Vincent’s “Hunters” with artists ‘hunting’ and ‘shooting’ other artists in the middle of the arena with videocameras at the sound of Jacinto Lucas Pires singing a personal version of a fado song and playing the drums; followed by the french dancer and actress Alma Palacions singing a very popular portuguese song in portuguese, “Ó Rama Ó Que Linda Rama”, with people accompanying her in the singing, and finishing with an open fall, for anyone who wanted, into the puffs placed in the ‘curro’ (where the bulls are spur before entering the arena) – a different context for Leandro Kees’s “Falling” project – and a first coming alive of the “Pig” structure of Andrea Spreafico, outside the Bullfight Arena, projecting images into the exterior wall (an experiment of the possibilities of such a structure that processes image and sound it captures in real time and projects it in real time, in this case in open air, which is the reason why it needs the complete darkness of night)…

This was the atmosphere of the intermediate presentation day that happened as a celebration of community spirit. And with that feeling and context, a song seemed to be in the air. It is a song from the brazilian Chico de Buarque, called “Tanto Mar” (meaning: “So much sea”), where he celebrates portuguese revolution known as the “Carnation Revolution” that ended dictatorship in April 25th 1974.

The song was recorded for the first time in a live concert of Chico Buarque and Maria Bethania in 1975. The first version, before censorship, starts with these verses:

Sei que está em festa, pá/

Fico contente/

E enquanto estou ausente/

Guarda um cravo para mim/

Eu queria estar na festa, pá/

Com a tua gente/

E colher pessoalmente/

Uma flor no teu jardim…

English translation (of the meaning):

I know you are having a party, man/

I am happy/

And while I’m away/

Save a Carnation for me/

I wanted to be at the party, man/

With your people/

And harvest personally/

A flower in your garden.