Vou A Tua Casa [2003/07]

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THE TRILOGY

Vou A Tua Casa” [literal translation: I Go To Your House; official English title: “Going To Your Place”] is a theatre/performance trilogy that ran from 2003 to 2006 in many Portuguese cities (Lisbon, Porto, Évora, Covilhã, Braga, Amares, Caldas da Rainha, Torres Vedras), and also in London (UK), Hamburg (Germany), Kortrijk (Belgium), Arnhem (The Netherlands), Berlin (Germany), and Helsinki (Finland). The first part of the trilogy [also known as A-Side], happened in the spectators’ own houses (for up to 10 spectators per house). The second part, sub-titled “No Caminho” [‘On The Way’, or else B-Side] was a one-to-one encounter between Rogério Nuno Costa and a spectator, who had to choose the public place for the performance to happen beforehand. The last performance, sub-titled “Lado C” [C-Side] happened in Rogério Nuno Costa’s apartment, for a group of 6 spectators, 1 specialised observer, 1 invited artist and 1 kitchen assistant. “Lado C” is a theatrical dinner/conference event where the audience is invited to join an ephemeral club founded to help the artist solve his personal/professional problems. A subtle storyline links the three performative moments within a poetical, yet concrete, urban route: Vou A Tua Casa is a geo-emotional path in the city: the first step is your house, the last step is mine, the step in-between is this impossible on-the-way space in between, where I might be caught by you.”

FUI [“I Went/I Was”] was a group of 7 performance sketches/rehearsals/tests/trials for the building of a thesis around the trilogy ‘Vou A Tua Casa’. Contrary to the trilogy, FUI interventions were all held in public places and cultural venues (galleries, theatres, museums), embracing a wide range of formats: durational performances, installation, texts, videos, talk shows, theatre performances, exhibitions. The project ran throughout 2005 and 2006 in Braga, Porto, Lisbon and Torres Vedras.

Following the end of the performance-based works, the project “Vou A Tua Casa” proceeded to its documental phase. “DOCUMENTATION PROJECT” [2006/07; online publishing date: 2011] is a cross-disciplinary editorial project aimed to compile a set of documental materials produced and collected during the public presentations of the trilogy “Vou A Tua Casa” in a book and a video documentary. More than a speculation around the residues left by a particularly fragile group of performances, the project is built upon the documentary practice itself, hence operating critically in such concepts as ephemerality, memory, intimacy, public/private place, site-specificity and autobiographical discourse.

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VOU A TUA CASA [LADO A]

GOING TO YOUR PLACE [A-SIDE]

The title is literal. I like them that way. I don’t believe in poetic, symbolic, philosophically enigmatic, sophisticated, occult, encrypted titles. VOU A TUA CASA does not cheat; but it could potentially scare, even though its main purpose is as simple as this: an (urgent) performer going to someone’s place. Nothing more than an artistic, theatrical adventure constantly escaping space and time. Questioning the limits of theatricality and performativity always comes along, but doesn’t interest me at all. What catches my attention are people, their houses, and the fact that I go and visit them; if this is more or less ‘theatre’, more or less ‘performance/live art’, more or less ‘spectacular’, it doesn’t matter. The things I are filled with a batch of forced reality, ripped off from my heart, and full of mischievous tricks and hooded lies; I do like to fake… pretend that I am thrilled, for instance. I do not believe in truth. Everything is false. It’s false that there are people, houses, and me visiting them. The cities are liars. I lie along with them, and we’re all happy.

Presentations: Lisbon (2003/04), Torres Vedras (A8 Festival, 2004), London (Postscript Festival, 2004), Covilhã (Quarta Parede, 2006), Kortrijk (Fresh Festival, 2006/seminar), Braga (Censura Prévia, 2006), Caldas da Rainha (Sonda Festival, 2006), Porto (A Sala, 2007), Hamburg (Dance Kiosk Festival, 2007), Helsinki (2017).

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NO CAMINHO [LADO B]

ON THE WAY [B-SIDE]

Between your house — where I have been —, and mine — where I wish you could be —, there is a point in the middle. A point underway. On the way. If you might catch me there, I would be able to tell you the secret, unmask everything, unmask myself. In that impossible underway place where it is possible for us to breathe at the same time, I want to be part of your world. Permanently and helplessly. Nothing else matters but what I have to tell you, in that precise moment, and also all the things you want me to cut out. I will throw away as much of my real life as your will to SEE a performance might eventually dictate. And then it’s gonna be forever. Until I have enough. Until you have enough. And our “special moment” may therefore succumb to the natural laws of universe.

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LADO C

C-SIDE

At the dinner table: 15 spectators [pretending to be students or members of some sort of anonymous corporation], an artist [pretending to be a cooking teacher or the guru of a brand new conceptual-nominalist sect], a mysterious observer [pretending not to know anything about the event, but having rehearsed his role very well…], and another artist, invited by the first to boycott 5 minutes of the show. Rhetorically speaking, C-SIDE is an “under construction” event; the performance itself is discussed, and the roles the participants have to perform are indefinable, interchangeable and constantly put into question. The goal is to reflect upon the reasons behind the fact that we are “there”, not in some other place. That is: domestic marketing, office appliances buy&sell, Portuguese nouvelle cuisine, the cure for migraines, Google searches, ultra-secret conspiracies, art funding applications, 90s fashion tutorials, emo-teen sleepovers, post-truth or post-dare, second hand embarrassments and cheer-leader routines, all mixed up in a nutritional, ergonomic, esoteric, medicinal and hipsta-cool-tural event. C-SIDE is an unusual performance, at the same time welcoming and ambiguous, effortlessly agreeing with “reality” first, in order to change it afterwards. Thomas Hirschhorn, who does a cameo appearance in the performance, would say: this is not “political”, but it is “politically” performed. An extraordinary rendezvous of people who meet to solve one artist’s problems, in exchange of gourmet food and curriculum vitae credits.

C-SIDE was financed by Direcção-Geral das Artes/Ministry of Culture (Portugal), with the support of Transforma AC, DIF/Publicards, Festival Alkantara, Companhia de Dança Contemporânea de Évora, EIRA, Cão Solteiro, Escola Superior de Comunicação Social, LUPA Festival, Encontrarte Festival and Ballet Contemporâneo do Norte [Associated Artist].

Presentations: Lisbon (Alkantara Festival, 2006), Évora (Habitar A Cidade Festival, 2006), Porto (LUPA Festival, 2009), Amares (Encontrarte Festival, 2009), Lisbon (Geraldine, 2011).

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The dramaturgy of the being in everyday life

Mónica Guerreiro

“What would happen if a stranger suddenly got into your house, presenting himself as an actor and proposing a different formula of dramatic experience? An experience that has for first aim the will to take further the spectators’s perception towards the everyday life objects and facts. To invade that intimacy, to seize part of the privacy of someone watching (and allowing to be watched) are Rogério Nuno Costa’s foundations for the Going To Your Place project. Going to the spectators’ houses was not exactly the most important thing: the sum of possibilities opened by the thousands of different props, as well as the various chances of dramaturgical deflection in each corner or room, offered the spectator a brand new challenge and a very different theatrical adventure. This is absolutely not about taking theatre to one’s home, but to give a sort of “home-like face” to the theatrical game, by playing with a group of circumstances for the performer to study and to integrate in real time. The simple presence of another person – the spectator –, transfigures this simple action of discovering one’s place into something else: while exploring the space in which he enters for the first time, Rogério/performer gives us, minute after minute, various signals that help us following him across the path of the performance we’re in. This is obviously a theatrical exercise, but also a sociological experience that puts in question the way we build up our private life configurations. This character of ephemeral transformation functions as an action primordial principle for Going To Your Place: the leaving of the performer coincides with the erasure fo every particle of his presence, as weel as with that feeling of abandonment one feels in every performance’s end. Nonetheless, the reciprocity of the experience assumes here unusual outlines: the unpredictableness exists in distinguished doses for both spectator and performer; the space/time logic, even when it’s appropriated creatively by the author/performer, is a spectator’s decision in the first place; the relative fragility of the performer’s role, away from the security of the set and put in a potential position of guest (with all the usual discomfort brought by that position), rather than in the position of the action leader. How does Rogério Nuno Costa achieves, with this performance, a strategy of subversion upon the conventional patterns of representation? Just to get into the triviality of definitions (there’s no need to relate to details of the performance content), I would say that this sense of theatre as an “act of will” (Peter Brook would say…) is taken to its limits by Rogério Nuno Costa as a pretext for the consecration of this minimum common denominator: a constructed artificiality and a spectator. In other words, a common space, a will to see and a will to be seen.”

[in ‘Sinais de Cena’ magazine, n.º 1, 2004]

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