This is a community art project that will take place in two villages of the periphery of Portugal. It combines performative arts, music and dance, in order to create a safe piece of territory where discriminated non-normatives communities can be hosts of a festive artistic experience.
The project aims to be a laboratory and playground where to create new ways to strengthen the voice of silenced communities, reinforcing their contact with the social environment they live in.
Two places: centre of Portugal, nearby Coimbra and south of Portugal, between Loulé and Faro.
Portugal suffers from a desertification of certain regions. It is said that 60% of its population will be around Lisbon in the next decades.
In a different tendency, (im)migrants come to these small places with two purposes: finding a job, when it’s impossible in the big cities or buying a house in the beautiful portuguese and cheap landscape. Two communities that don’t belong there but feed it.
In small towns or rural areas the “image of oneself” is very important. If you are not like me, you’re a freak. This means that differences from the hegemonic way of living can become a problem to the whole society. Outsiders, critics of the society have difficulties to fit in. Prejudices are in these contexts much bigger because of the impossibility of anonymity.
Democracy in cultural production is a critical issue.
Sexism, homophobia, classism, racism, ageism and ableism still define hierarchies in art and culture that we must face if we want to strengthen equality.
Our idea of democracy is based on transforming these hierarchies, engaging excluded communities and stimulating their active role as cultural producers. We experimented how enjoying music, dancing and celebrating together is a way to activate non-verbal communications that can be more powerful than words. It is an effective way to make the narrative of the world we live in more complex, to share different points of view and, most of all, to make more visible the rights of excluded communities.
We found that every social context shows peculiar expressions of exclusions, discriminations and oppressions. The silenced communities we collaborate with are often LGBTI families or discriminated ethnic minorities, but we also found that elderly or young people are often excluded from any active role in cultural production.
Our objective is to identify, in the two towns we will work, a specific community to collaborate with, depending on the characteristics of the social context. We will pay a special attention to those communities that are victims of discrimination and want to strike back, opening a safe space where they can host a dialogue with the public in general and celebrating together their diversity.
We will start to investigate the local context so that the result becomes really effective for the community. We will begin with an investigation, together with a mediator pointed out by the festival hoster, with whom we will work with local communities to understand which are the biggest prejudices. With this material, we will highlight and understand which will be the community and the prejudice to work with in each context. This material will be worked out to create a local score for the laboratory and for the participation of the community; finally we will move to the context and work with the community, where we will develop a laboratory for the creation of a participative party where they will share the stories of their life, being the masters of ceremonies and djs.
The practical result of this project is the creation of an artistic dispositive in a public space, where the meeting between the participants and audience happens through music and performance.
In this performance/party the non-hegemonic communities and the prejudices found will be visibilised. So the first result is to allow the local communities to look at themselves and to be critical towards prejudices, to know how to work with them and to understand art as a real tool to make differences in the society.
Together with the construction of this dispositive, we will edit a memory that will be delivered to the community/festival/context, which will allow it to replicate the methodology used to take care of other issues in that community.
We think that our project will contribute to strengthening European democracy in three ways:
Firstly, because it gives us the chance to listen to voices coming from the peripheries of Southern Europe, enriching our visions with experiences and ideas that normally stand out of the mainstream art scene.
Secondly, because it strengthens the plurality of democracy at a grassroots level, elaborating tactics and strategies that can be reproduced in other contexts and scales.
Finally, because it promotes the debate around the idea itself of democracy, questioning how plural are the political spaces we create everyday.
We believe that art is a powerful tool to make visible the problems of society. Through creative work it is possible to (re)present and to highlight problems that are hard to solve or that no-one is able to respond. When we cross critical thinking with art we can allow people to be more creative, more open and free. If art is (re)presentation, what can be presented as truth or fiction? With this project we can expose local problems, mix reality with fiction and put the finger in issues that communicate important things, allowing, at the same, for the communities involved in expressing themselves without worrying if they are doing it correctly because we frame it in an art context.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
Team (artistic, mediator, producer and coordinator): 40.800€
Office and production expenses: 4.150€
Communicationa dn documentation: 5.050€
Displacement expenses: 8.000€ (long residencies of 3 people)
Crossing this project with similar ones to enrich each other; knowing and pinpointing communities with whom we could work this project with; highlighting possibilities of further developments of this project.