What is documenting?
I think I could not define any concept of it. Philosophy is not my strong point. But I could say that for me the first thing is to watch.
What is watching?
I have said before that philosophy is not my thing, let alone semiology. I keep learning to watch. And my gaze is constantly transforming. I think that's why I can't define anything. I have the impression that everything changes. As a baby, anthropologists say, I learned to look for empathy, trying to understand the emotions of the people who took care of me and entered my field of vision. But even though I have been watching for so many years, it is difficult for me to become aware of my gaze, to identify where I am directing it from or to. It still requires me to pay close attention. And of course, on the way I get lost, life sweeps it all away and I forget what I had intended to look at. I am an unstable being.
Why did you want to document Linha de Fuga?
For many reasons. First because I wanted to leave the interior exile that I live in, here in Galicia, at my mother's house. Then there were other reasons. In Portugal I usually feel good. I love to run away. And, of course, I liked the project. It placed the documentarists at the same level as the rest of the artists. And coming from Catarina, that seemed to mean that I was going to be able to have the liberty of doing whatever I wanted.
Now that I think about it, this was probably the first reason
How did you look at the Laboratory?
A priori, as an encounter too complex to try to understand. Many people were going to participate and their goal was to generate escape lines. Too many possibilities for a mind like mine, with a tendency for reverie and confusion. That's why I decided to think about a pair of anchors before starting. I chose a format and a focus of attention.
I decided to make a diary. It is smaller, manageable, intimate. I guess this decision connects to what Janaína later conceptualized as participant documentation. We, as participants of the Laboratory, are part of the documentation, we self-document. The self looks and looks back at itself. It is one more. The documentation is born from a documentary body relating to its own process, with the other bodies and places; with the bodies with other lives and from other places that we meet in this encounter.The second decision was to direct the gaze at space. The reason for this decision has to do with a literature workshop that I just had done when the open call came out. It was proposed that we read Carlson McCullers and Natalia Ginzburg, paying attention to how they built a story based on the description of the spaces. Then, write with the same attention. That experience of building from something at first sight tangential, resulted in a surprising depth and intimacy. Looking at the laboratory from the starting point of spaces could help me make the complexity of the thing appear without having to go to find it. I think that looking at the detail, inevitably, is looking at the whole world.
What did you find looking at Linha de Fuga?
Many things and many people, but not to diverge from our conversation, I guess what I found was the correspondence between Janaína and me. You find the movies at the editing table. When you sit down to look at the images, a necessary cleaning begins that makes you dive to find possible connections and dramaturgies. That is where you begin to understand something, where you open doors and where, sometimes, you close them, lost. And it is in the loss that you go back to the beginning and think about the diary, or the space or those engines that you found along the way.
The meeting with the other documentarist, the linguist Janaína Behling, was also decisive for what we did. Since we met we had the desire to share each other’s process in some way, but I think that for a long time we didn't understand each other. We were finding how to share the process and influence each other. Correspondence, for me, was an essential engine for the last two letters. The first one, which is a kind of declaration of intentions, came out of the seminar we did the first week with Luciana Fina, but I made the other two in direct dialogue with Janaína.If you will allow me, seeing the final documentation I see an aesthetic and political look. Are there perhaps looks that go through those others you say you seek?
Yeah, sure. Because even if I try, I can't escape who I am. I guess that's why I'm also looking to be as honest as possible. Although lately I am increasingly doubting the value of honesty. I think it sharpens when my level of misanthropy rises.
Isn't it a bit weird that you talk about misanthropy when your letters are almost a portrait happening?
My level of misanthropy and humanism fluctuates a lot. I think that's why I go to politics, so that working or living makes sense.
When Janaína suggested working on the morphology of gesture, the truth is that I didn't really know what the hell she had in mind. For me it was pure abstraction. But Janaína was telling me things that were incomprehensible and at the same time full of possibilities. One day she explained that everything is text
, where you put your eye is text. And when we read we take it inside the body. Then comes speech, when we repeat what we read. And later writing, where what we learned materializes in many possible ways. And it is there, in perception, that abstraction comes. An abstraction that does not occur without a body that practises it or without a space where it occurs. Because, according to Janaína, if it wasn't for space, how would the body know what it is going to say?
As you can see this type of dialogue makes you think and in my case I connected with many elements that I was working with. That is why I was encouraged by this dialogue of deaf people with Janaína, although then I needed to come down to earth, to politics, in order to understand something else.
To start recording images about the morphology of the gesture I had to find myself in an article by Amador Fernández-Savater
in which he spoke of the political gesture, of the disobedience practised with the body, of fruitful images because they move us, affect us, recreate our gaze, which make us think, which require from us a movement that is not an automatic response in which we apply the codes of our stereotypes, but a new thought, a new reality. I move better in politics than in philosophy.
Do you want to say something else to finish?
Well, I would like to say that I actually decided to do this interview because I was quite overwhelmed by the idea of writing about my work. After the last few weeks, in which I have been stuck at the computer editing day and night I needed to distract myself, to propose some game that I could do from the sofa with my notebook and my lilac pen. That is why I copied this idea of the poet Pedro Casariego
, because I love to copy the masters. It also happens to me with movies. Of course, I know a priori that the result will be much worse than the original, but in the meantime I play and have fun. I am a hedonistic being, although I often forget it.