earth, body with organs
Photography by Inês Subtil
In São Miguel, with the leftovers of the Furnas stew, a meal is made called 'the burial of the bones'. As in Christmas, with sopa seca (‘dried soup’) or roupa velha (‘old clothes’), the moment of conviviality is made with the-end-of-the-party leftovers.
The casseroles used for the stew, as Ursula would say [*], are, too, a basket: that which holds, which contains, and contents. Could they not, for instance, be named an archive? Like the crazy quilts that bell hooks evokes, choosing the fabric with which to dress the pan, the way it is wrapped and then tied with fishing line, traveling from the various points of the Island to the graves — each of these objects in action are also a form of storytelling. And history is rooted in their trajectories.
Without access to writing, to the stage, often to their own face or voice, it is through the objects that women value or use in their daily lives that we can tell or re-create their public memory.
In this performance that turns the buried thing into an archive, we proposed to different women we met on the island to choose an object, asking them what they would like to archive; to plant, in their own terms, that which is theirs in the memory of the future. To bury, therefore, not so that it will be hidden, but so that it will be found.
We saved the location of these artifacts, and with it their 'geo-meanings — which may even be antitheses to the very idea that a single object is capable of summing up a woman's identity — or even, that the category woman may be a static identity that groups together the diverse inner world of a single person.
[*] Ursula K. Le Guin, 2022, THE FICTION AS CARRIER BAG: A THEORY. Warm thanks to the all-terrain curator, Reina Del Mar, for bringing this and other books to the May 2022 corisca residency.
Geo-Location: Ribeira Grande
others to follow
Each woman brings an item of her choice. It can be an everyday object, it can be a beloved object. An object with the sense of symbol, of totem: that which encapsulates ancestry, lived experience, and the deconstruction or not of a sacred.
Four photos will be taken.
1.Opening a hole
In the ritual of the Furnas stew, men dominate the earth apertures and have privileged access to the pit, to the entrails. The relationship is privileged, that of men with the Buraco. In folk legends, the demons are given parts of the women, the kept women.
2. Putting the object in the hole
The food goes, but the food comes, and men are in control. The time of the abduction - or the time of the ‘meeting’ - is the dawn. At the dangerous hour, it is the men who approach the boilers and control the process, and the women are driven away.
3.The item lying on the ground
And the woman with the capote (the hood) is like the stew in the pot. What is going on may even be a kind of antiphrasis of the abduction [antiphrasis: making fire with fire]. Switch the "ethical" sign of the positive or negative polarity of the act, the negative act, by taking away its polarity.
4. Closing the hole
Take the woman to the underworld, and that could be a disaster: take the woman, and you’ll be left with infertile land for half of a year. But then you turn this into an almost instantaneous act of re-fertilization. The food goes, but the food comes back, it is dawn, and we will make it ours, the living 'burials'.
may 2022 – ongoing
Beatriz Toste e Clarisse Canha
Ministério da Cultura - República Portuguesa
Marques Britas SA - Grupo Marques
UMAR Açores - Associação para a Igualdade e Direitos das Mulheres