Residency Paula Chaves at MDT Stockholm

Residency Paula Chaves at MDT Stockholm

In the frame of the Creative Crossroad activity, Paula Chaves was selected by Veem House to receive a 2 years structural support by the LLB network to work on several projects. She is receiving a residency at ICI-CCN de Montpellier and at MDT Stockholm, and she is invited to participate in the danceWEB Scholarship Programme 2022 in Vienna.

“There is a zone of nonbeing, an extraordinarily sterile and arid region, an utterly naked declivity where an authentic upheaval can be born” (Frantz Fanon)

A hooded character named La ChicaScratch embarks on a transgenerational trip to uncover the hidden story of her mother as a young militant activist in 1970’s Colombia. Through it she reflects on her own journey: the dark reasons that led her to escape Colombia into political exile in the Netherlands ten years ago.

Paula Chaves Bonilla’s new performance House of Desaparecidxs is her testimony among thousands of other Colombians who fled their country in order to save their lives. People who had no other choice then to leave their homeland after being threatened for their political affiliations, for being sexual dissidents, community leaders or relatives seeking justice for criminalized, disappeared or murdered loved ones. House of Desaparecidxs opens its doors to these untold stories; we enter an utopian space in which we travel through non-linearly memories of the present, future and past – narrowing the border between the realm of life and death.

Resistance in exile
House of Desaparecidxs traces a lineage and space of belonging through communities, people and stories that resist the voracious necropolitics of capitalism and dignify life through solidarity and collective actions. The performance emerges as a technology of resistance in exile, and devises a way to reestablish dialogue with origins and histories. It refuses the  destruction of memory (memoricide) so common in conditions of exile.


Concept & performance Paula Chaves Bonilla
Research Natalia Chaves Lopez
Dramaturgy Ogutu Muraya
Scenography Nadia Bekkers
Scenographic Painting Rasureitor
Somatic Movement research guidance Lux Saüer
Outside eye Natalia Sorzano
Light design Mathisse Coornaert
Technical support Erik Gramberg
Political Cartel compilation and rap selector Rasureitor
Production Assistance Lina Lanas
Video Animation Rowena Buur
Produced by Veem House for Performance
Co-produced by ICI-CCN de Montpellier – Occitanie as part of Life Long Burning project supported by the European commission



Residency at MDT Stockholm

Paula and their collaborator Zwoisy visited MDT for two weeks, and MDT also supported their work with a co-production amount. This residency, with it’s open format, made it possible for the artists to work with ideas about how they function as artists, their working methods etc, and not only focus on producing more content. This kind of opportunities is really important to create an infrastructure for artists to develop and deepen their thoughts between limited project funded working periods.

Paula and Zwosiy met with local artists and staff working at MDT, and saw two performances at the venue. We see this as a valuable exchange.

About the residency:

Waste, cross-pollinations and hang outs

During this residency artist Pau(la) Chaves Bonilla will organize time for rest, for detox, for slowing down, for processing and digesting as a gesture to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of her migration from Colombia to Europe (The Netherlands). In a world designed by neoliberalism there is a high demand to produce, to move fast, to innovate, to generate profit and little to no time to reflect, to integrate, to question, to regenerate and find one’s own compass and sense of purpose

These logics of individuality and development ‘at the expense of whatever’ has also hit and shaped both financially and structurally the cultural sector and therefore the modes of production of our artistic practices. Burn-out, depression, chronic anxiety and collective fever have become common diagnoses in our artistic environments and contemporary cultures.

Within this dystopian scenario, setting time for practices like: day-dreaming, grieving, deep listening, collective care, observation, contemplation, spontaneity, connection with our bodies and the environment around us have become acts of liberation, healing and resistance. Can inverting the logics of what’s considered useful and obsolete start to reveal a new compass of existence and relation with ourselves, the environment around us and our artistic practices?

Can artistic practice be a space where we hang out with ‘waste’?

What are the cracks, the inconsistencies, the unpresentable parts of ourselves that we have had to edit in order to obtain respect and professionality with our artistic practices? Can we create a brave space to spend time with this dirt under the rug? Can this disorientation make space for unwinding and open up possibilities for transmutation and dissolution aka composting? Or invite potential repatternings?

During these 2 weeks of residency Pau(la) will invite two other migrant and south globe artists Zwoisy Mears Clarke and Esther Kamba to hang out -virtually or in-person-  with her. They will spend time together and gossip about their relationship with waste, uselessness and non-profit oriented logics within their decolonial artistic practices.

View their experience report in the upper right column.

Feedback Residency Montpellier

El casIllo hecho arte de concreto-cristal

En un casXllo disfrazado de convento y luego de teatro me camuflo a lo francés o re-descubro -desenterrando rabia- la sangre bastarda que un colono francés -sin nombre- me otorgo.
Me abrumo y regocijo igualmente ante el lujo, las facilidades y las amabilidades.
Caja de cristal que conXene a la bailarina presa pero también la promesa del rompimiento y quebrantamiento del cristal.
Las mil y una posibilidades de la invesXgación aresXca se reflejan en los mil pedazos de cristal roto; el casXllo- residencia paradójicamente las abraza y sin palabras les da confianza.
Los mil pedazos y mulXples imágenes, intuiciones, rutas toman todas sorpresivamente un lugar y sin coherencia tangible terminan por pertenecer a un todavía pero ya potente innombrable todo.

Gracias al ICI-CCN por la confianza, a Anne por la guía, a Thierry y Marco por la complicidad, a ChrisXan por el carisma y a los fantasmas por la compañía.

The castle made of concrete-glass art

In a castle disguised as a convent and then as a theatre, I camouflage myself in the French way or rediscover - digging up anger - the bastard blood that a French sejler - without a name - bestowed on me.
I am equally overwhelmed and rejoiced at the luxury, the faciliXes, and the amiability.
Glass box that contains the dancer in prison but also the promise of breaking and smashing the glass.
The thousand and one possibiliXes of arXsXc research are reflected in the thousand pieces of broken glass; the castle-residence paradoxically embraces them all and without words gives them confidence.
The thousand pieces and mulXple images, intuiXons, routes surprisingly take all their own place and without precise coherence they end up belonging to a sXll but already powerful unnameable whole.

Thanks to the ICI for the trust, to Anne for the guide, to Thierry and Marco for the complicity, to ChrisXan for the charisma and to the night ghosts for their company.

Residency Paula Chaves at MDT Stockholm

26.09.22 - 08.10.22

MDT Stockholm


Paula Chaves - House of Desaparecidxs

10.05.22 - 10.05.22

Theater ins Blau, Leiden (NL)


Premiere Paula Chaves - House of Desaparecidxs

11.11.21 - 14.11.21

Veem House Amsterdam


Residency Paula Chavez at ICI – CCN de Montpellier

01.07.21 - 13.07.21

ICI-CCN de Montpellier

supported/organized by MDT