Brooklyn, New York | 2018
Commisioned by ISCP (Internationa Studio and Curatorial practice for its Summer Open House
Curated by Julie Horne Møller (Performance Curator at the Horsens Art Museum, Denmark).
In my performative work, I'm currently researching the basic principles of Butoh dance and applying them to Installation Art. After World War II, Butoh was created through the collaboration of its two key founders, Hijikata Tatsumi and Ohno Kazuo. One of the core ideas was to "resist fixity.” In the transient nature of the ISCP loading dock, bodies and things are in constant flux just as they are in Butoh. My piece was an attempt to think about how we carry on our life experiences as "loads": we enter, negotiate, and inhabit spaces. Many times we also disrupt them.
To me, bringing a long poem into the work has been a personal accomplishment, something that circles back to my experience in the theater and as a poet in Brazil. I crafted the performance text while in residency in Iceland last month—my own considerations about performance and Buddhism intertwined with excerpts from two books I was reading in Iceland: “Alice Iris Red Horse” by the astonishing Japanese poet Yoshimasu Gozo and an interview with the Icelandic artist Rádhildur Ingadóttir in her catalog “Ultimate, Relative," for the exhibition at Hafnarborg Culture Center where I was in residency. They were beautifully read by my collaborators during the performance.
RED: BODIES OF RESISTANCE
(Simone walks up the ramp holding a red cloth)
Sung as a preface:
Here, this narrow road, where does it lead?
Perhaps we are circling quietly around a "flower."
1. Body Ascends
Flux of a Performative Body: movement of walking holding a long red cloth.
Everything is subjected to movement and change. There is true reality and reality as it appears to us. Everything is dependent on certain conditions and we are simply a manifestation of them.
Deconstructing makes it sound like a deliberate act of the intellect, but I think the motivation for performing comes from somewhere deeper, from the fundamental creative instinct.
I'm not the same now as I was then; yet, I'm not somebody else.
2. Things Move
(Simone wraps cloth around table and begins to push it)
Flux of an Object: movement of pushing a table
There's no other way but the way of existing in space rather than organizing space in order to exist. In the transient nature of a loading dock, bodies and things are in constant flux. Narratives vary from time to time. Moods and feelings matter more than details and progression.
Horses are nude. I wonder about what kind of small roads are under the shadow of white happiness....
(Simone unwraps cloth from table and begins wrapping around guests)
Flux of Other Bodies: movement of weaving and pushing bodies. New relocations.
The experience is physical. Different sorts of connections emerge from the intimacy of the material, from creating new spaces.
Materials take different forms.
Your experience is now bound to this place and therefore it can never be setup in exactly the same way again.
We are in a state of flow.
3. Things Go
(Simone stands on dock while Martha wraps he and takes her out of the dock)
Red Body: The sleeping hollow is where all things become red.
I repeatedly circle back to geometry.
Alice, iris, red horse, red castle
Isis, stone, squirrel,
Rabbit, universe, of enormous silence!
Loup, loo, white wolf, from far away, faintly audible, the voice of reality comes to us.
(Text by Simone Couto, Yoshimasu Gozo, and Rádhildur Ingadóttir)