UM~BRAL #1 at the window of Teatro da Garagem
The jamb is one of the furnishing parts of a doorway. In this doorway, the lintel is the ceiling and the sill is the floor. This composition of elements, together with the depth, recall the romantic idea of the doorway as a threshold (the threshold of a passage). The gateway to a place, a non-place, where the dreamer daydreams. In this three-dimensional interval of dreams, between what is outside and what is inside, the street and the theatre, the physical and the virtual, Bruno José Silva and Reina del Mar, dreamers of the UM~BRAL project, are in motion.
The curators propose to voluntarily occupy a window at Teatro da Garagem (Teatro Taborda), facing the castle hillside and orienting the system of views to a Lisbon formed by valleys and hills (something that, these days, so many wish to have at the window). The place is special: it brings together the outside, the inside and again the outside; as the lexicon of the door, which is here a window, showcase or shop window, is mimicked, exploiting the doorway thickness to establish a dialogue. The first dialogue is between Adriana João and Rebeca Letras. The passers-by are spectators of this two-act conversation. First in front of the illuminated shop window, like an aquarium with the front and back duality. A second time using a blackmirror that we quickly take out of our pocket to photograph. The exhibition happens physically as a piece-installation chained to a manifesto written by the authors, who we will talk about later; and it is virtually loose, a domain that can be accessed quickly through a smartphone – https://um-bral.net/.
Adriana João and Rebeca Letras did not know each other before the project, but they joined the “sonic crochet for absolute beginners” class proposed by the curators early on. In the accompanying text, a kind of initiation manifesto to handicraft, we can read: “you experience the translucent immateriality of the materials, you listen attentively to the scintillating scraping of burnt clay”. Concretely (and if the Portuguese language would allow us to use a more liquid state) we see in the window an atmosphere of circular currents, ceramic cycles, “lunar”, “energetic”, “sonorous” and “hydrological”, luminescent attachments and luminous detachments. This reminds us that an artistic practice is beyond a ritual, an act of meditation and learning.
The installation experience devised by Adriana João and Rebeca Letras only reaches its wholeness in the titillating sound that comes from the screen, from another less analogue and more virtual window (at this moment, we put on the headphones and ditch the real to dive into the virtual blue of this futuristic aquarium). Perhaps the curators’ aim was to explore the easy confusion and corruption of the word window: opening a new window, minimizing or maximizing the window, peeking through the screen, scrolling the shutter, swiping the frame, turning off the curtain with the fingers, zooming in, zooming out …
In the end, the window has this ability: to frame a sense, attributing meaning to the opening in the construction, imagining a fictional escape from the opaque plane. It opens the visual field and, in pop culture, it is even the stage for chatting and flirting. In this window, especially in the twilight, the sound and the fury of the materials is visual and audible (1).
UM~BRAL is a transitory project, without ongoing curatorship, that happens in unconventional venues, reactivating new and other discourses. UM~BRAL #1 opened at the presentation of Volume IV – Colonialism, at the celebration of Umbigo’s 20th anniversary and can be visited at the window of Teatro da Garagem until January 30. The virtual piece will stay on the domain until July 24.
(1) As footnote, underlining in the curatorial text that says “we will always be beginners, we begin, beginning”, I want to add, in David Bowie’s birth and passing away month, one of the verses from the song “Sound and Vision”: “Don’t you wonder sometimes /About sound and vision?”