Cry! and let them cry.



…we hear so many voices trying to capture our attention…but in the end we only listen to just a few which are in our same frequency band, to those which awaken our consciousness.

This reminds me of what used to happen years ago with old broadcasting. We tried to get tuned into this ocean full of sounds in order to catch something that we thought was connecting with us, spending some minutes tuning in the radio until we captured something which had a meaning for us or to what we could really identify with.

During a conversation I had with some friends last spring, the renowned and now gone Radio Luxembourg came up in our conversation. They mentioned that they were constantly changing its frequency in order not to be caught as they were transmitting illegally. They were operating from a ship on the sea so they were never in the same place. These radio waves reached areas where the new sound and its messages were forbidden, or simply they were too far away to know what was going on. I love to think of artists like moving antennas which amplify their messages while we are the receptors who might be open to what they have to say.

In the early 80’s the Brazilian dictatorial regime was in its last years, and although not as strong as in its beginning the society in Brazil was still forced to remain silent without a voice, lacking a public platform on which to be heard. In this uneasy context in 1980, Gabriel Borba [São Paulo, 1942] made an intervention at the building of La Pinacoteca in São Paulo, a performance which was conceived by the artist as a comic “operetta” entitled “O preço do dinheiro” [The price of money] and in which he manifested his annoyance with a bank which wouldn’t lend him any money, becoming a cry against the system which then grew into some kind of celebratory protest in which the public got involved participating from its irritation, making his exasperation also theirs.

An event in which Gabriel gave his voice to an audience which found there a stage to express themselves along with the artist, a place which was transformed in a public square to raise their voices together, sparkling like common stars in a clean summery night. O preço do dinheiro allowed the public to identify with Gabriel’s position sharing the same concern and given a collective answer [just with a festive and annoying noise] to their desire for liberation and nonconformism.

In general it is quite rare that an artist uses the public’s words, concerns or desires to give them a platform to openly express their thoughts and their own ideas. I mean doing what might be regarded as an exercise which opens the doors for real voices and their own words in order to create a truly collaborative project. Speaker’s Corner reaffirmed the public intervention and recuperated the public space as a place to communicate without restraints, a real stage for people who usually don’t have one, a channel for the words of the common inhabitants or attendants of this public square.

The idea of working in the community has long been present in Loreto’s Martinez Troncoso [Vigo, 1978] mind, but it wasn’t until 2014 when she finally started to realize this ambitious and arduous endeavor. The project took form under the structure of an operetta which also involved the inhabitants of the small fisherman village of Trafaria in Portugal, a group of independent musicians and other local artists which helped her to orchestrate this presentation. This operetta seemed the logical step in Loreto’s practice as she usually congregates her own words along with other´s voices in vibrant pieces which frequently end up in a personal and intimate dialogue with the audience.