Cadu’s first residency took place in March 2014, when Casa Gallina, still in ruins, was about to undergo its restoration. This first residency was the first approach to the barrio and to the inSite project. The work of this Brazilian artist is defined by his interest in different information codes, focusing on how time is made visible through visual gestures and specific situations. His work has often involved collaborators from different disciplines, which has enabled him to explore diverse means of production. For his inSite/Casa Gallina project, Cadu approached a group of vision-impaired senior citizens from a private organization, and a geologist from the Geology Museum, who is devoted to building awareness about the history of minerals in Mexico.
I am Mandala
The final piece was a performance ritual dedicated to and offered by the group. On the stage at the Teatro Julio Castillo, the participants as the only audience danced to danzón music while unraveling knitted mandala. Choreography in sync with the music articulated the dancing ritual as a consecrating event about time in the life of these ladies, about their personal history, and about the interweaving of affection as a group.
The tapes and the recording of this material, in the hands of the artist, will result in a video-installation to be exhibited. Cadu created a poetic reading, a structure which will guide the visual and sound editing of the final piece:
I am Mandala
I am a Supernova. Black hole and again a galaxy.
I impose gravity.
I have an orbit.
I was born as totem to become ritual.
I am a cabin. A particle to be inhabited and a particle in the constellation.
I am an ocean among waves.
I am womb. Animal evolution.
I gave birth to women-trees that bred the seeds for our present forests.
My desires, once again, I owe to you, weavers of worlds.
Nobody started with less.
We do not want more than what we have, we only wish to get back what was taken away from us.
Thus, come to filter those old anxieties of loves buried in me; those that left their soul in purgatory. Come to share this mourning. It is at the sunset of life when we are free. That which dies names what is alive.
We carry the traces of time, we have voids, invaginations, topographies of deserts. My eyes were able to see in the past, now I am old, I was born with the heaviness of extinction on my shoulders. When others look at me, they see Narcissus. Nevertheless, those who only see the end in me are deceived, because it is precisely in absences where new beginnings are found.
But come, slowly, joyfully. Embellished in your clothes made of corals that emerged from the blood of the Gorgon, that female mythical monster created by the Greeks. I need your most beautiful jewels. Pearl and that ivory that the Arabs named cazmal fil, they have been coveted throughout time.
Come one by one and in silence. Be vapor before adopting a form.
The Rabbit asked Alice: “Do you want to know how the watch works? We only see the hours now.”
Let us wait, then, because a third person among us is approaching the mothers of the Sun.
It is known that death must wait for the last dance of the warrior. Life was full of intense moments, the choreography will be long, fulfilling. And with pleasure (Death) will assist with every movement before taking them away. In every moment of life, its company is a latent warning to remind us to dance even at the limits of the unthinkable, of pleasure, of pain, and of sweetness. It is here not to announce the end. It is we who announce the end to the end. A revolution with no dancing is not a revolution.
Death became important.
Take the first end-thread of this knitting and let immersion begin.
Soften the ends of these dance pieces until they become a ciranda, a circle, as in the typical Pernambuco dance. Swimming against the tide does not change the river flow, but we keep trying.
Starting with the repetitive movement of your arms allow my surface to slowly suggest a form.
Carve rocks for Sisyphus. Call upon the one whose eternal punishment became a model of transcendence.
Become Sufis too: pure and wise as the Arab philosophy’s dictum. Trust the ascending power of the echo; trust the movement of each star in the zodiac. The roof in the mosque is the mirror of the cosmos.
Live off the date palm and the apricot tree, and receive the blessings you need: “Allah badique!” (May God take you). Allahu Akbar
They returned from the oasis with the eggs that grow in their own nest.
The eggs of the cuckoos.
The flight of the camel while crossing the desert is a symbol of what Zarathustra called the “first metamorphosis of the soul.” Before the difficult journey, the traveler knows that it is important to transform his soul into a workhorse and to repeat the movements that will force him to bend his knees, hoping to tame his ego.
Only rest when you must.
Fishers: sit and contemplate the results of your work.
May glory await you.
Be rebels, stubborn satellites that liberate themselves and fill the space.
This is a map to get lost, cartography that as it vanishes, it reveals unprecedented internal landscapes.
Or it swallows the borders of islands that vanish under the movements of the oceans.
Deconstruct the territory. It only counts when borders disappear. When it is shared with other observers. When the paths of conquests and abandonments join.
Place what you have apprehended intellectually on one dish in the balance, on the other, place that, which is scarcely lit by the lighthouse. Our vigils generate encounters, approaches to thought that is not thought. To that which is not only to be used.
Trust the drift.
Maintain the winding mirage between what is and what you dream.
Live in the world-geography of an imaginary calligraphy barely suggested.
A creator’s path is made by numerous waits. Profanations lead to that, which evokes them, to a field of interdiction, perplexities and impasses, but that is full of changes and variations recovering the free flow of things.
Thus, do not fear, Moiras, Greek symbol of destiny or muses.
Walk softly through the land of dreams.
As bodies vibrate, temperature rises.
Everything vibrated in a spiral.
Respond to this impulse, spread your wings and defy gravity.
Allow for time to dilate, just as your fans. Perfume the ambiance with lavender. Or melt in milk. But do not forget to impregnate the air with risks.
Breeze storm of holding hands.
Line and curve.
The intensity of colors was never created to be admired, but to show the urgency of moment. The shout of a life and death drama.
Sexual spur and constraint of an untamed system that is perpetuated by the self-consuming act.
When watching animal rituals we understand why we imitate their movements, sounds, and moans. They are attempts to return to natural states of passion, which have not yet been rationalized, and whose objective is the crescendo of the representation of erotic play, and perhaps, of its intensity.
We perform these ceremonies to come out of ourselves, to reconcile with the forces inside of us.
Watching nature perceiving it’s a constant evolution in a discordant symbiosis, in laceration, and no one says that this is not the same for us.
Our return also happens in those circumstances.
Do you wish to enter into the Inferno museum? It returns its Phoenix to me in its entirety. It is home, the great deceiver where the Self is consumed in a delirious ambition to promote a more-Self. It is the place where we invigorate the cycles of the matter. Fool is he who ignores that nurturing has no need of a tribunal, of violence and excess. “Separate and join”, or in Latin, Solve et Coagula.
Sometimes dancing is similar to a vigil: caution and the least possible number of movement are required. A forgotten echo in the horizon of my endless orbit.
It is a conversation circle.
It is exchange of ideas.
It is tamal.
Move with your own footprints and be thrilled by your own stories.
“When making honey, the bee counts the time it did not fly”. (Milton Nascimento – Amor de Indio)
The woman who occupies the place of the lover is not honored. We should stand up for both and even dance a little.
In its entirety, our existence is translated through only one thread. Feel time passing through your fingers. Feel its weight, but also its lightness. Feel our finitude.
Now, you are in me, and I am in you.
We are mandala.
We feed through our stomach.
If the pattern vanished, a strong emotional fabric took its place.
An elevated stage arises, full of dreams and mysticism.
Sweat and love just in one tear.
March 2014/ First residency
During Cadu’s first residency in March, the artist walks through the barrio, and establishes his first contacts in order to identify possible agents and situations for his joint collaboration process.
January 2015/ Second residency
Cadu begins by approaching two specific sets of contacts: a group of senior ladies who meet to dance at the barrio’s Casa de la Cultura, and some students who work with a private organization supporting blind or visually impaired people. The objective is to continue his research process that considers the social and learning dynamics in both communities.
November 2015/ Third residency
During Cadu’s third residency in Santa María, he strengthens the links with the participants in the senior ladies dance class at the barrio’s Casa de Cultura. The group Las chicas de ayer, hoy y siempre (Yesterday, Today, and Forever Girls) rehearses numerous choreographies for mambo, cumbia and danzón, among other styles. Cadu is amused by some of the ladies knitting to “pass time.” To the Brazilian artist, the link between the ladies embroidering to pass time, and their own life passing, is an element that is maintained and becomes evident when they dance; it empowers them and entitles them with a new freedom that is different from the use and perception of time established by traditional gender roles.
Closure of Project
August 2016/ Fifth residency
In August, the ladies’ dancing club performed the ritual of unraveling the mandala that was knitted specially for them. They also danced the choreographies based on their favorite danzones. This final phase of the project demanded two days and the whole event took place and was recorded at the Julio Castillo Theater (INBA), in Mexico City. The 4 x 7 meter mandala began to vanish with the rhythm of the music, while the ladies wrapped it into big hanks of yarn. They also recorded the audio for the sound editing process of the video, which will be the final component of the work. Cadu is currently finishing the two-year collaborative process with the senior dancers—a process that built strong bonds among all the participants and that reflected the ways in which these ladies enjoy an autonomous and affective time through dance while, at the same time, they recuperate the meaning of their own body and of life itself.