Inspired by the unique surroundings of our artistic residency at AgitLab, we organised a gathering for collective listening inside the bamboo forest, Águeda, Portugal.
In the past months we had many encounters with the interconnections of death and (re)birth that we would like to share. This gathering as a regenerative act was an invitation to exchange our feelings, to attune to one another and to re-connect with our belly-button selves.
Our artistic research on birth, death and rebirth cross-cuts through visual & media anthropology, Japanese philosophy, Sufism in Nigeria and indigenous practices in the regions of the Amazon. We found that all these fields deeply resonate with each other in their perceptions of death and rebirth and on this basis we may fabulate a subterranean network of subversive spiritual practices across the continents.
Following Maurice Blanchot, the artist has to descend to the land of the dead in order to create an authentic work of art; in our view, this process involves a deep experience of profound loss and failure that questions our very sense of a self, of artistic creation and even art itself, resulting, thus, in a feminist turn from philosophy to mysticism, from creativity to care. The old obsession of the artist/philosopher to create and control can no longer cope with a vulnerable life out of boundaries, a life which has become unable to be mastered. However, we believe that artistic creation is able to attune itself to these new matters of care, that artistic work can be care work if it is able to adapt to slower, calmer moves like a tortoise, or that the loss of a self is rather a stretching of it, an expanded self which both cares and creates, or creates with care.