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AiR 2018 :: Performance Miriam Simun 2019

Performance by MIRIAM SIMUN

08.-09.03.2019, Friday and Saturday

Direction: Miriam Simun
Dancers: Joana Silva, Lucília Raimundo, Mauro Pires a.k.a. Maurrice, Miriam Simun.

The American artist Miriam Simun, in residence at Carpintarias de São Lázaro, supported by a grant from the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, has chosen to give a performance as the final presentation of her residency, which will take place on March 8th and 9th.

The starting point of this artistic residency came from Simun's desire to continue a training program for social and techno-sociological change (already started in a residency of hers at MIT Media Lab, 2017-18): how can human beings increase their resistance and resilience to survive in a world in which cities are constantly growing, in terms of populations, density and multiculturalism; in which new technologies increasingly regulate communication between human beings; and in which we live an ecological crisis, with all kinds of natural disasters. Reflecting on all this, the artist began to question how human beings should evolve to better connect with each other as well as with our environment, what surrounds us?

The title of the performance "HOW CAN I BELIEVE WHAT YOU SAY WHEN I CAN FEEL WHAT YOU DO?" ("How can I believe what you say when I can feel what you do?") is related to a famous quote by African-American novelist James Baldwin (1924 -1987) "I can't believe what you say when I cansee what you do." ("I can't believe what you say when I can see what you do.")[1]
We have exchanged "SEE" for "FEEL" thus opening up a little more space and possibilities in turning this statement into a question. HOW CAN I BELIEVE? (what you say when) I CAN FEEL WHAT YOU DO. HOW CAN I BELIEVE? (what you say if) I FEEL WHAT YOU DO.

This work and final presentation is about bringing people together, trust, negotiation, compromise and agreements; about the performing and being; it is about feeling something genuine. A work that tries to answer the question "What can we do together that we can't do alone?" and how to keep going in moments of constant failure; we have to fully engage and dance our way out of it. This performance was created with and presented by Lucília Raimundo, Mauro Pires and Joana Silva. Directed by Miriam Simun.

Miriam Simun found this quote ( ascribed to Baldwin) for the first time in the book "My Grandmother's Hands" by Resmaa Menakem. In this book Menakem advocates physical exercise to overcome and heal historical and social traumas that are deeply rooted in our bodies. Some of these Menakem's exercises acted as a starting point for the work developed by Miriam and the 3 dancers. Later, the artist realized that this Baldwin's quote is so famous that it is not only found all over the internet, but also printed on T-shirts. Upon doing some further research, the artist found the original source, "A Report from Occupied Territory" (first published in The Nation, July 11, 1966), where Baldwin turns out to quote Tina and Ike Turner's song, "I Can't Believe What You Say (When I can feel what you do)." This information turned out to be the most perfect turn for this work, providing a new interpretation and the possibility to claim and borrow and believe it or not and represent and transmute and simply being.

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