Lost in sleep twitch

Any leap in the dark has two outcomes: either the courage and adrenaline when discovering the unpredictable or the fear of falling into the unknown, with no foot, no reasoning, and no safety.

Any day has two moments: the one when we are awake and the one when we plunge into sleep, that parallel reality in relation to what we know and understand in the sunlight. In this interstice, a rupture can happen that shows clarity. As someone said, “There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in”. In this limbo between being awake or falling asleep, this drop – twitch – is a physiological, emotional, brief, abrupt, and involuntary shock, a muscular discharge that crosses our body and, perhaps, memories, uniting what we have mastered and what we want to unravel.

It may frighten, excite, or serve as a warning, but this spasm is always one more risk on life’s seismographic diagram. Indeed, who wants it to be linear? The unwanted monotony.

And, in that dip before falling asleep, we make a kind of promise:

A gentle decline into the unexplored unknown.

A leap of faith.

A bold immersion to lose our balance momentarily, but without losing ourselves. [1] Finally, we encounter the uncertain contour, that border between what has happened and what will happen, allied in a new possibility.

In this space, Vasco Barata comes into play to underline the turmoil of an uncertain life. At Galeria Fonseca Macedo, Ponta Delgada, the exhibition Sleep Twitch shows us that, along with routine, we are randomly interrupted by violent and unexpected leaps, which add another vertex to the diagram of existence. Through imprecise, diffuse, provisional, and suspended inputs, in a combination between photography and installation, Vasco counterposes objects that dialogue about the various stimuli to which we are subjected; some scares, some warnings, by vagueness or ignorance, that point to various realities of that which we live. For example, the installation Low-level clouds reminds us of the changing landscape, where fabrics naturally placed on the ground are raised to the sky, becoming clouds. In From differentiation to sameness, various mundane objects are placed on a sisal thread, which groups them without criteria. Without individuality, they are only read as a whole. Or The Whisper, the authorial creation of a kind of arrow, whose name is a reference to a whispering transfer of rumours, murmurs that overcome barriers and spaces. A cautious interjection.

In this rearrangement of artefacts, where they acquire a new meaning or distort the obvious, Vasco Barata wants an unsettling reality, where everything is redefined and questioned, like Alice in Wonderland. A leap between wakefulness and sleep. Or, if we wish, a limbo between this world “here” and that infinite world of so many other “there”. A reminder that, to find balance, we have to allow ourselves to get lost and know how to do it.

Sleep Twitch is on show at Galeria Fonseca Macedo, Ponta Delgada, until June 26.


[1] Quoting Søren Kierkegaard To dare is to lose ones footing momentarily. To not dare is to lose oneself.”

Master in Curatorial Studies from the University of Coimbra, and with a degree in Photography from the Portuguese Institute of Photography in Porto, and in Cultural Planning and Management, Mafalda develops her work in the areas of production, communication and activation, within the scope of Photography Festivals and Visual Arts - Encontros da Imagem, in Braga (Portugal) and Fotofestiwal, in Lodz (Poland). She also collaborated with Porto / Post / Doc: Film & Media Festival and Curtas Vila do Conde-Festival Internacional de Cinema. In 2020, and she was one of those responsible for the curatorial project of the exhibition “AEIOU: Os Espacialistas em Pro (ex)cess”, developed at Colégio das Artes, University of Coimbra. As a photographer, she was involved in laboratory projects of analogue photography and educational programs for Silverlab (Porto) and Passos Audiovisuais Associação Cultural (Braga), while dedicating herself to photography in a professional format or, spontaneously, in personal projects.

Signup for our newsletter!

I accept the Privacy Policy

Subscribe Umbigo

4 issues > €34

(free shipping to Portugal)