Momentum – Inshadow Festival
There are artistic movements with enormous resilience that take place in various parts of the world and in our country as well. InShadow – Lisbon ScreenDance Festival has been taking place almost miraculously for about 11 years, through the persistence of Pedro Sena Nunes and Ana Rita Barata, and their VoArte team. The festival has video-dance and documentary competitions, several training-related workshops and events, as well as multiple exhibitions throughout the city of Lisbon.
At the Cistern of the Faculty of Fine Arts (FBAUL), we can see an exhibition with films by Merce Cunningham, celebrating the centenary of his birth; In*Outside, a set of photographs by João Pedro Rodrigues that documented the rehearsals of the play 3,50 x 2,70 (three and a half two seventy) by Ana Rita Barata and Bruno Rodrigues; Border, a video installation by Sofia Marques Ferreira; and Espaço | Marca, a video by Rafael Raposo Pires.
Merce Cunningham Centenário is a set of looped films, projected on a semi-transparent large-format screen. Behind it, we see João Pedro Rodrigues’ photographs and the area of the Cistern. The screening lasts about seven hours. At the same time, there are two sessions at the Cinemateca Portuguesa, with films focused on the centenary. The loop at the cistern features ten films of different lengths and directors, including Cunningham himself.
Dance is an ephemeral art, as Cunningham declared “(…) It gives you nothing back, no manuscripts to store away, no paintings to show on walls and maybe hang in museums, no poems to be printed and sold, nothing but that single fleeting moment when you feel alive.” Therefore, the film record of the choreographies has a remarkable historical fertility, otherwise we would not have perennial access (notwithstanding the questions regarding the perpetuity of film supports, whether analog or digital) to the work of one of the most important choreographers and dancers of contemporaneity, who is also a teacher and director. For Cunningham, the camera allowed not only to register, but also to be an integral part of the choreography, an active point of view. This is also why these films are so rich, as they allow us to scrutinise the choreographer’s perspective on his own work. They also give us access to different settings, wardrobe and music created specifically for the choreographies of artists such as John Cage (one of the most important and long-standing collaborations) or Eric Satie, Andy Warhol, Willem de Kooning, Jasper Johns or Robert Rauschenberg. It is also an opportunity, albeit posthumous, to see Merce Cunningham dancing.
This work alone would be worth a visit to the Cistern. The semi-transparent screen sequence allows us to perceive the films differently, because the surroundings are confused with the film’s own space. The scale is the human eye itself, transforming a film into a fruition that seems to happen in real time. The seven hours allow entries and exits, movements in different days and hours, turning the Cistern into an aqueous flow of people.
Espaço | Marca by Rafael Raposo Pires (student at FBAUL) is the only work that does not relate to the body, but to the natural space and the space created or occupied by man (under the urge of establishing borders). It is connected to the other works by the need for action and delineation.
In*Outside is associated with Cunningham’s films through the act of recording dance. A play with deaf actors and listeners, transcribed into photography, where we are only allowed to imagine the movement between them or what comes out of them, like the moment before and the after.
The FBAUL Cistern fuels this process of imagination and reconnection, given that its purpose in the past was to contain water (the cisterns were often built to store rainwater). Even today, one can still feel the humidity (as in almost every other similar building), a memory of that containment. It is also a register of movement, both sensory and olfactory. Momentum adds a visual and sound record, transforming the Cistern into a place of memory of senses and emotions.