DIARY OF A BODY n. 1: Life does not fit into words, nor into frames

if words, instead of being considered only by what they say grammatically speaking, were heard from their sound angle, perceived as movements, [...] the language of literature would be remade - actually become alive. (A. Artaud, letter to Jean Paulhan, 28/05/1933)

ENDLESS, performance, Mirada Iberoamerican Festival of Performing Arts 2022. Photo: César Meneghetti.


On September 13, 2022, I participated in the MIRADA - IBEROAMERICAN FESTIVAL OF PERFORMING ARTS (Sesc Santos, Brazil) with the performance ENDLESS, in which for 5 hours I write and dance in flux in a space that unfolds in infinite layers of meaning. This action took place in the midst of a "whirlwind" of texts, drawings and thoughts by Antonin Artaud: the exhibition Theatrumcorpusmundi, curated by Christine Greiner and Ricardo Muniz Fernandes and the launch of the book Artaud: thought and body, by the Japanese philosopher Kunichi Uno by the publisher N-1 (Sao Paulo).


Kuniichi is the author of two other works that are almost a daily reading or training for me: THE GENESIS OF AN UNKNOWN BODY (N-1, 2014) and TATSUMI HIJIKATA: THINKING A EXHAUSTED BODY (N-1, 2018). To learn how to deal with a physical reality that is always unknown, despite always being the same. To live with a body that exhausts and renews itself repeatedly in a passing timeline. It was in 2020, on the date of the defense of my Doctoral thesis entitled THE BODY AND ITS (MY) REMAINS (orientation Priscila Arantes) that Christine Greiner, then part of the evaluation board, told me that she was working on the translation of a new book by the Japanese author about Antonin Artaud...


Since 2011, with the work HERE AND THERE [OR SOMEWHERE INBETWEEN] (video, installation, performance, Radialsystem Berlin, 2011) and others that followed as the series of ONE MINUTE DIARIES (video, Festival Verbo/Galeria Vermelho, 2015) and the performances MUSIC BOX (Paço das Artes SP, Studio Stefania Miscetti Roma, 2017, Lux performance art Festival SP, 2022 ) and ABSENT BODY (CLAREIRA Project, MAC-USP, 2021), my research has addressed the written and spoken text from a different perspective of meaning creation: text as image, text as sound, text as movement or gesture, text as drawing, text as clothing or skin. The focus is not exactly what is written but also how one writes and what writing generates in the world of the understandable/sensitive.


Initially, when I did this action of writing with the whole body on large platforms, it was in an enclosed space: a "box".


MUSIC BOX, Studio Stefania Miscetti, Rome, 2017


And not by chance the performance was called MUSIC BOX. Perhaps because it was about a still suffering female universe, a woman trapped in a limited space of expression and who writes and rewrites all the whirlwind of repressed thoughts and feelings in the body. Perhaps because my body at that moment was steeped in repeated experiences of pain and loss and writing and dancing on this floor were ways to "soften" the impact. As the curator Paula Braga wrote about my individual exhibition INSCRIPTURA (Paço das Artes Project Season, SP, 2017): "From writing to gestures, the common point is the smoothness that tries to avoid physical pain. The pulse can't stand to force the coal into the canvas, it needs to learn how to make the cursive letter flow so it doesn't hurt to get so much into pure thinking."


ENDLESS is another (relevant) expansion of this practice of body writing. But with some essential differences. In this prolonged action in time, the metaphorically infinite place that is created in space (and I include in this concept of place the people who passed, the events, the writings of Artaud in the installation, the sounds, the lights, the wind...) erased these locks and limits. I wasn't in a box but in an extended horizontality.


ENDLESS, performance, Mirada Iberoamerican Festival of Performing Arts 2022. Photo: César Meneghetti.


Maybe because of experience, age, repetition, learning to deal with transformations. .. In my actual body admittedly unknown, I had nothing repressed, only fluid. A repetition of exhaustions and rebirths. Neither words, nor language, nor the canvas, nor the skin, nor the breath were limits to my feeling-thinking but means of it. Instruments channeling the subjective material to another dimension in which the contours of the self are blurred and prolonged into the otherness, into the outer space. To finish, I borrow again Paula Braga's words: "against this pain: to try again, to fail again, to fail better. To write, to dance on the words, to write on top."





ENDLESS, performance, 2022. Photos: César Meneghetti.































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Christina Elias
to write the body