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EMPREMTA 2017 festival internacional de performance

3 materials / 3 days / 6 artists

For this II edition of EMPREMTA festival internacional de performance we move the artistic proposals towards the matter and its personal and social connotations. Each artist works with a specific material, offering different and diverse perspectives that are born from her/his personal approach to it. The matter speaks to and with the bodies. For each day, one material is given. From this materiality each artist will be immersed in it through her/his individual journey and particular enquiry. Two artistic proposals will be united by a same material, on a same day and in a same space.


Day 1 _ SALT
Melina Peña_Kubra Khademi

The material given was thick sea salt. A cleansing process took place. The connotations and memories of salt are many; for both of these artists, however, the salt appealed as a resource of depuration.

Melina Peña, Mexican artist based in Barcelona, underwent a limpia (‘cleaning’) ritual of cosmic allusions. A personal yet shared extraction of her fears and ours was performed in her universe where an open door surrounded by translucent plastic divisions or walls created a portal-like environment. A flashing white light and a strong sound initiated the ritual with pungent intensity to be later replaced by an aura of silent and warm brightness where the actions could take their necessary form. On the entrance of her space, just outside the door of Peña’s microcosm, a crystal bowl was placed. This crystal bowl was filled with folded pieces of paper that had been written by the audience upon their entrance to the festival with ‘what you fear the most’.

The floor of the space had different piles of salt placed to create a triangle that mimicked the triangular shapes dividing Peña’s nude body, traced in her hair and marking her brown skin with a strong silver paint. Each pile offered a different energy, rhythm, action, and place in her ritual. She began sitting still on the middle salt pile with her back turned to the audience, where an inverted silver triangle marked her bare skin. She slowly muttered a list of things to herself, as if whispering an intimate chant or request. Her mutter became louder and repeated: resistencia, resistencia, resistencia (‘resistance’) while activating her movement. She travelled from one pile or zone to the other absorbing while performing its particular energy. Throughout her performance the finding, carrying, rubbing, and breaking of 2 eggs, the burning of copal (resin used in Mesoamerica for medical-spiritual therapies since pre-colonial times), and the different interactions with the salt were all allusive gestures charged with ancestral memories, knowledges, and beliefs. This spiritual cleaning was concluded by filling the bowl with egg and salt, allowing a communal cleaning of all of our fears in a timeless space near to an ancestral future.

Kubra Khademi, Afghani artist exiled in Paris, wears the salt bearing its weight in the form of femininity. Dressed in black, Khademi enters an empty and austere space. She walks from the audience mass into this emptiness where a small black stool inside a large black bucket is waiting in the centre. She seems heavy or bloated by something external, beyond herself. This feeling is subtle and even unnoticeable for those who are not paying close attention. Khademi’s body is slightly deformed. Under her tight clothes she displays a large bosom, abdomen and bottom. With her hands holding her expanded lower abdomen she walks to the centre, sits on the stool facing the audience and waits. A timid stream of water begins to fall from the top, slowly intensifying. This stream lasts for almost 40 minutes, falling on Khademi’s body while the materiality of the salt under her clothes transmutes, vanishing with the water.

The artist’s body pregnant with salt is released from its weight after a long and difficult process of washing away this substance while her body trembled under the water current. A birth, a torture, a release, an extraction of a burden, a subjugation; all of these could be and were part of Khademi’s action. The salt was reunited with the water while Khademi’s body regained its form.

Marina Barsy Janer

Performance researcher, curator and artist
Directors: Isil Sol Vil x Marina Barsy Janer

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