Peneș Curcanul 4-5, Timișoara
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We can only observe the past. In each and every moment the present we are inhabiting becomes the past for somebody else. The same can be said in relation to the way our gaze meets the immensity of the universe or the personal histories. The distance travelled by the gaze to meet its object turns everything into past.
How is history becoming movement, how is a theme or an interest becoming movement, what can be uttered through movement and what procedures to use are the issues at the core of the “Lucky Dust” performance, created by Vera Mantero, Mădălina Dan and Ștefania Ferchedău, in a Romanian-Portuguese coproduction by The Institute of the Present and O Rumo do Fumo.
“Lucky Dust” is triggered by a selection writings and performances of the Portuguese choreographer Vera Mantero, dating mainly from the late 1980s and the 1990s, together with recent texts written during the working process in 2022 and 2023, and has generated two solos performed by Mădălina Dan and Vera Mantero.
The performance is presented in Timișoara on 28 and 29 June at FABER, Multifunctional Hall, in connection with the European Dancehouse Network meeting organised by AREAL, and in Bucharest on 2 and 3 July, at /SAC Malmaison. It includes the documentary “Let’s talk about it now,” 1999, by Margarida Ferreira de Almeida, recorded during the Culturgest retrospective of Vera Mantero’s work from 1989 to 1999.
“A body is what we are in the world.
Then there’s a number of things we can do and which can project us out of our bodies. But we cannot leave our body temporarily, we cannot do so until a pain passes, for example. No one can get rid of their body; we cannot exist beyond our body. It is as if there really was a destiny, a corporeal destiny: everything that will happen in our body that we cannot control, be it good or bad, is our destiny.” (Vera Mantero, “My Body and the Body of Other People,” 1988)
“We are our age, we are our demons, we are our energy.
Anatomic body, phantomatic body, humoral body, fixed biography body, preserving artistic persona body, self-sabotaging in real life body. Companionship of hormones, intense emotions, flush of feelings. Hormones that deform you, emaciate you, make you somebody else. You can only defy them with a huge exploded laugh.” (Mădălina Dan, “Entities,” notes from the LUCKY DUST process 2023)
Choreographer, performer, researcher and thinker, Vera Mantero (b. 1966) is a major reference in contemporary dance. Her working process is similar to that of an archaeologist or astronomer whose gaze goes deep beyond the surface of the world to search, to find sparkling links, to decode them, while having the body as an instrument of experimentation. She uses writing as a medium to reflect on her work, to generate new ideas and to thoroughly capture a present that slips away. Her artist notebooks, starting from the mid-1980s and until early 2000s, uncover the route she took to condense her practice in a composition scheme which is, at the same time, concrete, poetical and philosophical in its dimensions. Vera Mantero’s work was a reference to the emerging Romanian dance scene in the 1990s and was later shown in Bucharest in 2007, and in Timișoara in 2021.
Mădălina Dan (b. 1980) is an established choreographer and performer who moved towards contemporary dance in the early 2000s, creating her own choreographies since 2007. Living in between places, cities and countries, she is preoccupied with the limitations to systematically documenting, collecting and self-historicising her work, while always carrying inside an imperceptible patrimony and walking with it everywhere. Drawn towards connecting art and life, she employs various protocols to navigate personal archives and understand how past impacts the present. She finds poetry in the precision and concreteness of life and unexpected humour and irony often pervade her dances. In her recent work, Mădălina Dan is interested in testing the tactile as an escape from the visible to the invisible realm of the subjective and affective body-reality.
Researcher, editor, arts manager and mediator, Ștefania Ferchedău (b. 1979) undertakes detective work in archives, interviews and by creating various contexts in which the artist’s working process becomes visible. She is drawn to understanding inner mechanisms of artistic thinking, to searching and generating unmediated access to the route that an idea, concept or text takes, to supporting and accompanying the construction site of an artwork. Ștefania Ferchedău believes in utopian projects being essential to the actual existence in the arts. In 2016 she founded the Institute of the Present, an interdisciplinary research structure which makes all of the above possible.
Based on an idea, practices, works and writings by: Vera Mantero
Concept and direction: Ștefania Ferchedău
Choreography & performance: Mădălina Dan and Vera Mantero
Set design elements: Andrei Dinu
Sound & stage managers: Alexandros Raptis, Alexandru Andrei
Visual identity: Daniel & Andrew Studio (Andrei Turenici)
Producer: The Institute of the Present
Co-producer: O Rumo do Fumo
Acknowledgments to all those who contributed to the development or showing of the co-production in 2022: Mário Afonso, Alexandra Bălășoiu, Alexandra Gîrbea, Cosmin Manolescu, Cátia Mateus, Rita Monteiro, Cristina Potra-Mureșan, Vera Santos, Ezequiel Santos
Funders: The project is part of the national cultural programme “Timișoara—European Capital of Culture in the year 2023” and is funded by the Municipality of Timișoara, through the Center for Projects. Cultural project co-funded by the Administration of the National Cultural Fund. O Rumo do Fumo is supported by República Portuguesa—Cultura | DGArtes—Direcção Geral das Artes.
Partners: FABER, AREAL | space for choreographic development, SAC/ @ Malmaison
IP—The Institute of the Present is a research and an artist and theory resource platform in the field of visual and performing culture conceived by Ștefania Ferchedău and Alina Șerban.
The “Uncensored Act” programme dwells on the idea of community, collective action, collaboration and solidarity in the spirit of shared values, with a route that is triggered by the history of Timișoara in the 1989 context, connected regionally and internationally through the proposed artistic content.
The project does not necessarily represent the standpoint of the Administration of the National Cultural Fund. AFCN cannot be held liable for the content of the project or the manner in which the outcomes of the project may be used. These shall devolve entirely on the beneficiary of the financing.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, www.institutulprezentului.ro