TNT: Terrassa Noves Tendències / September 28-October 2, 2022
i protect you and you don’t know it
there will be something else
look for a wave
is that you?
what do I say?
i don’t know
what you talk about now it doesn’t matter
i know i protect you
i disarm myself
i want to be a door for you
the jaw of a horse
that is you
is not what you are
is what I am
-Alberto Cortés, One Night at the Golden Bar
Intimate relationships between friends, or lovers, or citizens all require decency and vulnerability. What does it do to the body of a viewer to invoke intimacy with a body on stage, with its surrounding affective and social implications, with its fears? Alberto Cortés, director/dramaturge/performer/writer presented a new work entitled One Night at the Golden Bar, within the context of the TNT: Terrassa Noves Tendències 2022. This piece, through presence, changed lives through the lucid sincerity of love that Cortés channeled. The theatre was transformed into a church, through a devotional and confessional piece of writing, singing, dancing, and being. Cortes’s work evidences the core reason for a festival dedicated to new tendencies in performance to exist- newness, freshness, rebirth. There is another reason for such a festival to exist and that is to present formats which derive from lineages which cross expectations, motifs, and mechanisms of performance making. Along these lines, the work Washington directed by Matías Daporta and co-conceived with Julián Pacomio, broke with the conventions of spectacle, presenting itself as a live “casting” to finish a Lars von Trier trilogy, parafictionally, repetitively, and generously including the audience in the symbolic exchanges between actor, director, and public.
The difficulty with writing about performance, is that it is situated in time and space and escapes the concreteness of documentation like a wild animal. It is not translatable. It is not deducible. It is not static. Thus, having visited a number of performances within the TNT, what emerges after seeing much movement, is the sense of community that sprung up around each theatrical event. Fundamentally, such a festival serves a way of world making that is communicative- of the spoken word, not the written word. Networks formed and reformed. Conversations around content which deviate into new forms of collaboration. Walks to and from theatres, pauses, waiting for tables at bars, not knowing everyone, not caring about not knowing.
These momentary dynamics ring true in reflecting upon the TNT. If community is formed organically, the project (whatever it may be), is a success.
In conversation with Matías Daporta, he spoke eloquently about his work across disciplines and its situated-ness in terms of cinema, theatre, and writing: “even if there is a coherence, there are ways of creating it through the politics we have of caring. There is something with the ethics of work and there are people who are more oriented towards the composition of the space and more performative questions. My interest is not singular. You can even have a perspective which is a personal interest. There are a lot of layers which allow the audience to have multiple readings and experiences. There is a mistake to think that coherence is limiting, I think it’s the opposite.” When speaking about his work with the rest of his team and their varying backgrounds: “first I started inviting people to have speculative talks on the Lars van Trier trilogy, and from there there were many ideas, we were fantasizing. I locked myself in the Pyrenees to write for two months. The script is not finished of Washington, but there was enough material to work on this. Then with Julián Pacomio, we developed the performance and the rhythm, and we chose four different scenes. I didn’t want to state where Washington was; I wanted to give a space of possibilities. So, it is placed in three different locations. Just changing a few words in a scene and the context is different.” Daporta has a research-based curatorial practice as well as an artistic practice. He comments that complex analysis is threatening. “When I try to be critical, people take it personally, and they don’t see it as an interesting discussion and a possibility of growth”. What kind of encounters or context are needed to experience multiplicity as a cultural agent as valid?
There are many figures, Daporta included, who practice moving between worlds. Daporta comments: “look how much time Yoko Ono needed to be recognized”. So to speak, it may take time for the lines between the categories of “curator”, “artist”, “dramaturge”, “performer” to be dissolved into a general creative respectability, which can live in one person simultaneously. On the same subject, Julián Pacomio enters with a unique analysis that “multiplicity creates a division”, and how he organizes these lines of impact and work: “it’s interesting, because it changes with time. I used to think that it was a problem not to have a specialization. Now, I am working with more confidence in all that I do and in terms of curatorial thought, dramaturgical thought, and choreographic thought. It is very important to work with other artists, not with people who are very specialised in one thing, to understand more the work in general. When I start to understand the work of someone else, I can enter”. Pacomio is preparing for the next year a variety of projects: “2023, I will be working on the second part of apocalypsis, Toda a luz do meio-dia, I am working on the idea of mid-day, working with imaginaries. The idea of sun, where there there are no shadows, much heat, no air. The image of Van Gogh of workers in the countryside, and Bruegel of workers sleeping under a tree. In Spain, there are images of two “siestas”: the one before lunch “la siesta del carnero”, a siesta during the mid-day and a second “siesta” after lunch. I am researching and writing on these images. I have written much about the sun, and the light of the sun, and on fire.”
“I protect you and you don’t know it” (Alberto Cortés). Perhaps you are protected from being only one thing, only one kind of human, only one kind of creator. You don’t know it because you may not see it. These words ripple: “I protect you and you don’t know it”. The idea of a hidden guardian. So too, a festival, like the TNT guards experimentation, protects it, knows that it is sacrosanct.
For Cortés: “the root of my motivation, is hope, something that can be transformed in myself and in the public. There is also a romanticism, to create a scene is a romantic act. The stage is a site to share questions, and this can be translated into a transformation. Activism appears through work, passing through it. The first impulse is about being with the contemporaneity of this moment, of what I am living. The relation to poetry is like a weapon, as a power, in the mouth. I don’t write dramatic texts. It can take the form of a performance. I am interested in how the body handles repetitions of words, as they resonate. The body is a consequence of the word. The body needs to word to become possible.”
There is an old adage that faith without works is dead. The converse may also be true, that works made with faith are alive.
TNT- Terrassa Noves Tendències will continue in 2023, and the artists involved will also persist.