Wild Card residency for Clara Amaral

Wild Card residency for Clara Amaral

In the frame of the Wild Card exchange program ICI-CCN de Montpellier offered a residency to its partner Het Veem Theater, who selected the artist Clara Amaral, who used it for working on her latest project « I am the forest » (working title).

The name of the production was later changed into "In your eyes, a cascade" and performed on November 9 and December 20, 2018 at Veem House for Performance Amsterdam.


Projet description:

I am the forest and you, you are the grassland; I am the forest and you, you are the grassland, will look into the notion of transition, specifically the moment that one thing is no more itself but not yet the other. Looking at this place as a site of potentiality. This lecture performance addresses the history of the Earth and our relation with it by establishing links between the transition from the common to the private, in regards of land ownership and how this event talks and relates to the history of power, in regards of minorities, femininity and continuous extraction of finite natural resources.

In this work, Clara Amaral will be using the iPhone as an interface of augmentation and exploring the screen as a place of choreo-graphic production through an animated life backdrop.

In my upcoming work "I am the forest and you, you are the grassland; I am the forest and you, you are the grassland," I am interested in areas of transition.
Grassland is, most of the times, located between a forest and a desert. In case the rainfall increases the grassland will become a forest and if it decreases it will become a desert. In this sense, grassland lives in tension between the possibilities of becoming something else or remaining itself.

This makes me think about grassland as a place that is continuously in tension, always about to transition into something else.

The definition of transition is: “The process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another”. When thinking about transition, one thinks about the moment that something else stops and something other starts, nevertheless what I’m fascinated with is the moment that one thing is no more itself but not yet the other. The moment that tension is not resolved but continuously sits in the potentiality. The image of a falling body is precisely a physical experience of a transition. The body rests———the body starts falling ———the body falls———the body is falling———the body rests again in some other constellation and maybe even plane. The dramatization of the concept of the fall allows me to look at this drop of gravity as a movement not only in bodies but also in thoughts.

In my writing practice I’m interested in expanding movement to the territory of language.
How to suggest and read movement in socio political structures and events that could seem deprived of it?With I am the forest and you, you are the grassland; I am the forest and you, you are the grassland, I will address the history of the Earth and our relation with it.

The notion of transition is deeply present in the history of the land, specifically in the passage from a common notion of the land to a privatized one. Silvia Federici, in her book Caliban and the Witch argues that the privatization of the land subjugated women into what she called “Reproductive Labor”, constituted by cleaning, cooking and raising the children. The European populations of pre-capitalistic Europe attempted to protect the land as a common good, precisely because it was the stage were women held positions of economic, political

and social value. The moment that the land turned into a privatized good all these positions disappeared. The respect for these positions is closely linked to a respect and honor for the Earth and Nature. As Carolyn Merchant writes in her book The death of Nature: “Miners offered propitiation to the deities of the soil and subterranean world, performed ceremonial sacrifices, and observed strict cleanliness, sexual abstinence, and fasting before violating the sacredness of the living Earth by sinking a mine.”

I am the forest and you, you are the grassland; I am the forest and you, you are the grassland, desires not only to establish much necessary links between the history of the land and the history of power, in regards of minorities, femininity and continuous extraction of finite natural resources, but also to think poetically about the concept of transition.


The format :

A lecture performance with a choreo-graphic backdrop,

In a previous research project called A lecture in II parts, Part I- The world is a vampire; Part II - Everything is everything, I live streamed the screen of my iPhone in order to show videos and small objects, via the camera of the mobile. Apart from that I used the application Notes with the intent of illustrating or recapitulating what was said, via sketches.

For the upcoming project, I am the forest and you, you are the grassland; I am the forest and you, you are the grassland, I would like to deepen my research in the strategy of using the iPhone as an interface. I would like to continue the work with the application Notes but instead of using this application as a way of illustrating or recapitulating what was said, I will use it in order to produce a choreo-graphic backdrop and through that enhance the poetic characteristics of, not only the text that I’m delivering orally, but also of the mobile phone as a device.

In that sense, I understand the text and the production of images as two separate timelines that neither compete with one another nor express the same idea, but complement each other in the construction of a poetic experience. My interest lies in using the iphone as an archive for materials that were produced before hand and as an interface that allows me to produce live images, through the “screenshot” technique. By using the iphone as an interface, I’m interested in enhancing movement and choreographic relations that exist in it, but that most of the times remain in a place of functionality.

In my previous project "Do you remember that time we were together and danced this or that dance?" I collaborated with graphic designer Dongyoung Lee in the design of the immaterial publication. For the upcoming project, together with Dongyoung Lee, I would like to understand the timeline that is produced in Notes, as the raw material for a booklet that traces back the performance.


The mobile phone :

The mobile phone hosts the potential of transformation of private into public. We reach out for it, in order to reach out to the world. But also to make use of the agenda, to take notes, to add reminders, becoming therefore, an object that deals with private matters. In this lecture performance, the tension between private and public is enlarged, by sharing the screen of the mobile with the audience. What once only I could see, becomes visible to all of us. The mobile phone with the help of the beamer becomes an instrument of amplification. The notion of transition- private to public; small to big- is once again addressed, but this time through the mobile phone. The use of the screen of the mobile in order to study choreographic concepts allows me to explore the notion of space in a dematerialized way. A space that exists only in the screen and in it’s projection but that nevertheless can convey layered choreographic relations between different elements.

When thinking about the land and the way that it has been serving our necessities in terms of finite natural resources, the iPhone is precisely an example of this. The minerals that are pulled from the earth from around the globe are the very first step in an iPhone's life. Rareearth minerals create the magnets in the iPhone's speakers and the phosphors in its screens.


Links for research materials:

Video work:

These videos function as research material that allowed me to understand what are the possible tools that I can work with when working with the iPhone. I’m extremely interested in working with “Screenshot” as a method that allows me to use the design of the iphone as the starting point.



Password: forest


This text is a first draft into the desire of exploring a dramaturgical curve that, for now, goes as follows: The fall>>>down to the Earth>>>…...


Report by Clara Amaral:

« Residency in ICI-CCN Montpellier with the project:

I am the forest and you, you are the grassland;

I am the forest and you, you are the grassland.

For the residency period in Montpellier I invited dialogue partner* Susan Gibb (curator at If I Can’t Dance, I Don’t Want To Be Part Of Your Revolution) to reflect together with me about the conceptual framework of this upcoming project. My desire was to have a critical perspective onto what I wrote I would be doing versus what I am actually doing. For that it was essential to have an external perspective with me.

For this work I’m researching the screen of the smart phone, specifically the iPhone, as a “place” that allows the exploration of virtual and dematerialized choreographic concepts\experiences. For that, I share through projection the screen of my iPhone and bring the attention of the audience to its interface that most of the times we use in a functional way - making calls, send sms, do video chats, take notes, make pictures, etc. By not using the iPhone in a functional manner I’m interested in opening up other spaces where this technological device can be inscribed, like for example the poetic space.

Another of my interests in this new work is looking at the keyboard of the iPhone as a way of producing language and like that practicing storytelling possibilities that are rooted in digital tools. Side by side with all this, during my residency period at Montpellier I kept on working practically on the text that I’m developing for this lecture performance. Montpellier was my last research residency moment before starting the two residency moments, one in Brussles and one in Ghent, which lead more practically to the making of this work that premieres in Bâtard Festival in Brussels and Veem House for Performance in Amsterdam, in November 2018.

The working time in Montpellier was extremely fruitful and beneficial for my process. I had concentrated studio time to dedicate to this research. The studio space and all the support from the ICI-CCN team was essential to be able to develop further this project. »


*Dialogue partner: Since this project is a solo, I’m interested in establishing dialogues inside and outside studio with people that have been accompanying my work. Some of these people are curators, artist or dramaturges.

Website Clara Amaral: http://claraamaral.tumblr.com

Wild Card residency for Clara Amaral

20.06.18 - 30.06.18

Montpellier (FR)

supported/organized by CCN Montpellier