ICNOVA doctoral student António Figueiredo Marques co-authored the talk “Of memory or performative gesture: performance letter” at the II EASTAP Conference (European Association for the Study of Theater and Performance) at the School of Arts and Humanities of the University of Lisbon and at the D. Maria II National Theater on September 23-25, 2019.
This year’s theme was “Shared Memory (ies): creation, research and politics in the European contemporary stage”.
Our imagined letter could start like “Dear Mónica (António, Bárbara, Aníbal, qwert, …), I stretch my hand out to you …” and I extend myself towards the reach, fingers lay down on the shoulder, the paper plane thrown, the depth of vision. My desire, meaning, my affection, carrying the body–word torn out as irruption of time.
And, afterwards, dear António, afterwards, we reverse the flux.
Every time I read and become affected by the letter I inherit a new and eternal present, I open another time, I inherit the time line and make it an affection sphere. The space, not the same, focuses in a single point.
I inherit and bequeath all letters [Three Marias (Barreno, Horta, Costa 2010), Artaud-Genica (Artaud 1976), Wilde-Bosie (Wilde 2003), Krapp’s last tape, Beuys (1977), serttel, …), the letter’s performative gesture signals not only the disciplined body, but also builds unconventional affairs articulating ways of mobilising world and ways of (un)knowing world.
Although a fixed record, Mónica, the letter is also subject to changes of time mutability. Perhaps, exactly that fixed record will make it more changeable (every time I re-read the letter) because it is less vulnerable to memory. This gesture states the future of the past (Schneider, 2011).
The letter-body quotes, sheds skins, regenerates fingernails. The letter goes to the future. Our epistolary (novel or nonlecture – Cummings 1953) relation has not started yet.
Has the correspondence art – academy not started yet? I don’t oppose, António, but we shall not make a monument.
No, we shall not, we don’t want the dead.
Artaud, Antonin. Textos 1923-1946. Ediciones Caldén 13. Buenos Aires: 1976.
Barreno, Maria Isabel; Maria Teresa Horta; Maria Velho da Costa. Novas Cartas Portuguesas, Edição anotada, Org. Amaral, Ana Luísa. Lisboa: D. Quixote: 2010.
Beuys, Joseph. Letter from London. Litograph, 1977.
Cummings, E. E. i: six nonlectures. Cambridge: Harvard University Press: 1953.
Schneider, Rebecca. Performing Remains: Art and War in Times of Theatrical Reenactment. New York: Routledge: 2011.
Wilde, Oscar, De Profundis, Lisboa: Relógio d’Água: 2003.