AIM | Documentation

AIM as a model. A model of an existence possibility. An existence as fragility, in a world that doesn’t know where to stop, drowning itself in each piece that fits. A universe that destroys us, unbalancing itself on each step. AIM is the theater, but not a naturalistic one. Theater as a living organism, as a model for a thought that generates existence possibilities. Exposure of fragility as a motto for the blame within all of us. The model that exposes the failure of all other models. The gap in human condition as an essential tool to construct a structure justifying it. The catastrophe as appanage to a resumption, to a new model to recognize fragility of existence as sand, dust, vestige of a life that isn’t anymore. 

AIM is ritual. The ritual of the end, the ritual of purification. Water, charcoal’s dust, remains of something; ashes as memory and water as memory’s rejection and possibility of liberation to construct new memories and new ashes to generate. We cannot accelerate the world, we cannot narrow a person’s mind, we cannot bound and hide what is unbounded and shown. It is not possible to affirm the definitive, totalitarianism. As Hannah Arendt writes, “the aim of totalitarian education has never been to instill convictions but to destroy the capacity to form any”. 

AIM is a solo performance. A post-destruction, post-totalitarianism solo, where globalization, access to information and catastrophe are past. They turned into memories. It is in the middle of conflict and threat that a human being moves. He tries to understand how threat leads to opposites and to the destruction of both. Totalitarianism doesn’t work, extremism leads to confrontation and confrontation leads to total destruction. Possible models were destroyed. They can go, since he is here to reformulate memories, destroy them, confront himself with dust, ashes and clean everything as possible escape. He rushes to attain some form. Nevertheless, he doesn’t want to present any, he wants to present the post-form and the pre-form: the conflict and catastrophe as a post-possibility. 

How to transport conflict, catastrophe and memory remains to the stage? How to construct a performance art piece as metaphor for a model after all the models, where fragility disappears as possibility? The conflict is generated from the established and developed connections between the performer, sound, space, objects, light, movement, and time. So, AIM is also a place of confrontation between the intervening elements. Performance as a conflict space, as war and catastrophe. The performance art piece and the stage as metaphors for today. The here and now as metaphor for the actual. The performer as metaphor for humanity. The performer’s body as metaphor for life and death, and for fragility of existence. 

Yes. No. Black. White. With. Without. No! I challenge you to tell me you don’t want to fight. I challenge you to say no. Can they be white? Or do you prefer it to be in perspective? Stop!! What does being white has to be with being in perspective?? Don’t you get it? I don’t want to know. I want to contradict you! Totalitarian! No! Yes, quarrelsome. But not totalitarian. I asked you what you wanted. I didn’t understand. And I think you are manipulating me. Me???? Are you kidding me?? No. Wishing, silencing, wishing, turning on and not being able to do nothing more than screaming. Screaming. Connecting. Sim. No. White. Black. The grey ones, all the possible grey ones. No! Black and white. That is how everything starts. With or without. No half with nor half without. Without a bit or with a bit. There isn’t. With or without. What do you want? War!!! There is no tolerance in the difference. How can we tolerate the difference? How do we understand difference as a possibility? No! We don’t want to be different. We don’t want to be few or many. We want to be grey. No! Grey is a mixture. Purity! Black or White. With or without. Do you want? Come on! Desire of intimacy. Intimacy as unity, indivisibility. I don’t want diversity. Diversity is not possible. Totalitarian. Conflict. Us as one. Unity and purity of truth and satisfaction of equality identification. Do you want? No! Grey ones, I said! I want grey ones! There is no grey, there are thousands of grey ones. Let us delineate grey ones, generate mixtures. Let us consider it with a bit and without other bit. Let us mix it up, diversify. No! No! No! Manifest of purity, or manifest of conflict: not the right one nor the wrong one, there is only one of those options and everything turns into it. 

One of the artistic residencies where AIM took place was in EIRA/Teatro da Voz, between the 7th and the 14th of March 2016, with an open rehearsal scheduled for the 15th of March 2016. It started effectively on the 8th of March 2016. It was the first time I was seeing all the performance, still open to changes, small metamorphoses. It was not easy for me to question foundations and some details since most of them were already closed in the sense that they made sense and they didn’t need any improvements, besides small details. We focused on those details: what I was not getting, what I felt important to highlight more, regarding what was being discussed around AIM and what Flávio Rodrigues wanted. 

In the first effective day, Flávio Rodrigues presented the performance piece to Carlota Lagido, his artistic mentor in this project, whose feedback was important to think about the several aspects of the performance, as well as several possible metamorphosis. The light was a central theme along the conversations, since this performance uses artisanal kitchen type lights and they are turned into the public, removing the visibility. It interferes with the public’s comfort, since it obligates the public to concentrate in order just to see what is being developed, demanding also a particular attention to angles, moments. The public is, then, activated within this performance. 

An interesting characteristic referred by Carlota Lagido was the idea of started with an almost empty space, to start constructing in there using some materials hidden on the floor. So, the scenography is constructed in real time along the performance from disentombed materials. In this piece, stone shoes turn into a wall separating a sheep and a dog. Everything is black, over charcoal. Also, a saint is settled over the separating wall: religion as an argument for destroying wall and constructing them, paradoxically. 

The following days of this artistic residency were occupied with details: to change some transitions, to change some details, to take photographies and videos of the performance to construct communication tools – trailer and photos. Meanwhile, we developed some conversations where we were able to explore different ideas coming from the performance, as well as to perceive Flávio Rodrigues’ process to achieve the current format: a first phase, to research movement and ideas, a second phase where he tried out several different materials, and a third phase where he realized that everything should be hidden on the floor. 

This piece was constructing using “one-time doing it” style. This means that Flávio Rodrigues didn’t create several separated ideas, but he constructed them through improvisations from beginning through end. It was thought and tried out as a whole, where each rehearsal’s analysis allowed the elements and materials to arise and to give consistence. 

Time is suspended. Everything fell apart. A black veil, a back light. The elegance of the end. The desire to restart. Come in. Movements are clear, precise and virtuous. There is nothing to explain. Everything is to be dig up, to exist. It is not possible to distinguish the beginning from the end. The air thickens. History starts to be drawn. Narratives and desires being dig up. Life getting out of his mouth, the transformation of an empty space as a metaphot for a look, for a perspective. A set of possibilities is drawn in space. Courage reveals itself. Imagery is symbolic, landscapes are built. I observe. I asphyxiate in that place from which I don’t want to get out. The elegance swallows the anger. The poetics of a construction about destruction. The target is you. It is me. It is us. We are all there. AIM. 

AIM – Score 

1. Puts a stone on the floor (left corner of the stage). 

2. Reverberation/Earthquake (legs and body trembling). 

3. Spits little bells that were inside the mouth. 

4. Movement sequence in direction to a black trash plastic bag with charcoal inside. 

5. Dumps the charcoal through the mouth. 

6. Phosphor on the mouth. Turns it off. 

7. Walks sideways and picks the sheep. 

8. Puts the sheep on the charcoal. 

9. Spits on the sheep//tear. 

10. Slaps the floor with the feet. 

11. Foot on the mouth, scratches the beard with the same foot. 

12. Head on the wall 3 times. 

13. 3 different religious positions. Shows hands in the end. 

14. Takes off the dog from a black plastic bag, shows it and move it nearby charcoal. 

15. Puts the dog on the charcoal in front of the sheep. 

16. Throws a piece of charcoal to the wall. 

17. Goes to where the crown is hidden, spits on it and take it. 

18. Puts the crown on the head and glove on his hands. 

19. Picks the toot. Whistle. 

20. Bursts a small balloon with talcum powder inside. 

21. Starts a walking with stone-shoes. 

22. Pushes the spitted bells with the stone-shoes. 

23.Destroys the charcoal with the stone-shoes. 

24. Uses the stones of the stone-shoes and constructs a wall between the sheep and the dog. 

25. Goes back to the initial stone. Throws it to the air and puts it again on the floor. 

26. Lights a phosphor and throw it to the floor, and it extinguishes. 

27. Unwraps the saint (it was thrown with the charcoal), puts in waling over the wall and spits on it/tear. 

28. Goes to a corner, picks a black trash plastic bag, fills it with air, closes it and hugs it, as if it was a child or something valuable. 

29. Lays down over the bag, body as a cross, with hands as a spider. 

30. Gets up, take a facial mask from the bag and put it on. 

31. Takes the European Union’s flag and wear is as a skirt. 

32. Changes the flag and uses it as a dipper. 

33. Takes out a rope from a black trash plastic bag and starts to rope skipping. The EU hymn start to be heard. 

34. The rope becomes a whip with which he beats the floor. 

by Telma João Santos