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Clash of senses

by Bernardo José de Souza


Over the surface of the blank page, or the naked body, stories are written, marks are left. As a palimpsest, she absorbs layer after layer of paint – or of life, if we prefer –, and the reading of the signs there recorded constitutes itself in a permanent exercise of translation, since the quest for meaning always implies reaching the ulterior layers of narratives that are foreign to us. Only in this way we are able to penetrate in the unknown.

The singularities of a story can only be communicated through its translation. According to George Steiner, communication, comprehension and translation constitute analogous terms, since communication is based in comprehension and comprehension is only possible from translation processes through time, space and different frontiers.

By continuing her investigation process of the body and the word, Andressa Cantergiani finds in the foreign the enigma of translation. The alterity thar produces difference – and demand interpretation – becomes the object of her research in Antowrte, a performance that, as in Peter Greenaway’s Bedside Book, is made through annotations made over the skin. In answer to the question “what is a foreigner?”, the public writes their words, which are interpreted by the artist, in a tactile and intuitive wat, in translations transcribed to the gallery wall.

In this project the cultural differences, and the resulting political confrontations, acquire new mediation possibilities through language, that here doesn’t operate as a barrier, but as an open semantic field, a space for translation and interpretation. The result of this operation is a Tower of Babel of expressions that presents itself as a dialectic alternative to bodies and cultures foreign to each other.

In Dioptre, performance made by Andressa Cantergiani and Roberta Vaz, the opposition between two opposing forces creates tension and the consequential fraying of the dialectic possibilities, taking it not to a synthesis, but to a suspension of a common lexicon and its syntactical possibilities. The absence of pivoting purposes between both bodies inviabilizes any possibility of communication, producing and absolute collapse of the senses.

Two bodies fight in the dark in this performance, that happens in a blindspot in History, marked by the absolute aporia to the present time.

Like in Kafka’s parabole, in which two warriors signifying the past and the future find themselves in combat, in Dioptre the present time is also put in suspension. However, differently from the interpretation given by Hanna Arendt to Kfak’s text, here the past isn’t the moving force pushing us forward, in the direction of the time in which the future blocks and immobilizes us: in this performance, it looks like we are being despondently pulled backwards, reprising History, unable to face the fight between temporalities, and, therefore, unable to lucidly reflect on the violence processed here and now.

In the end, we have the beautiful and mutilated female faces, whose eyes have been thorn out in the collage series No Eye Gouging, by Roberta Vaz, emerging like contemporary medusas, petrified in front of us, possible mirrors of an uncontrollable world.

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