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Em Circulação > Borrowed time  by Elizabete Francisca, 2020

Borrowed time 

by Elizabete Francisca, 2020

1. Oaxaca, Mexico, 2006 ("They want to force us to govern, but we won’t fall into this provocation")
2. AOLX, Lisbon, 2017 ("We are not speculators, we are spectators")


There is no other world. There is just another way of living.
Because crisis is a means of government.
Because the real catastrophe is existential and metaphysical.
Because the apocalypse disappoints.
We began our distinctively
human history and development
by an act of disobedience and knowledge
- that is, by rebellion and by thought.
- text freely inspired by the works of Comité Invisible, Mikhaïl Bakounine and Jacques Mesrine

3. Francisco de Goya, 1799 (“Y aun no se van” / “And still they don’t go” in Los Caprichos)
4. Leos Carax, 1991 (still from the film Les Amants du Pont-Neuf / The Lovers On The Bridge)


With the city of Lisbon taken as a strong and striking example, this project aims to create a space for reflection on the socio-economic transformations that large cities have undergone in recent years, and on how this process, while radically and profoundly transforming the lives of the inhabitants – especially women with low income – compels us to rethink the ways of collective life, resistance and insurrection. And this, through gestures, words and actions built on a “now”, but also, and inevitably, based on a collective history and memory.

Far from seeking to produce an accusatory speech, or to adopt a pamphleteering tone or even a mere demonstrative discourse, we mostly claim to make room for new ways of analyzing the collective modes of action and the notions of territory and sense of belonging. And this, in order to rebuild alternative perspectives about these paradigms, as well as new ways to politically rethink our own place and range of action. Decolonize the political imaginary. Put an end to the hyperuniformization of perspectives. Avoid falling into generalizations. Create breaches of thought–vision, vision–thought. Choose and accept paths that strengthen the autonomous and collective organization, capable of opposing the expansion of capital, the atomization of cities – and of ideas. Finally, keep in mind (see – feel – remember) images and events that emphasize strength (and not power), and call themselves revolutionary forces – ”revolutionary because sensitive”. Or as Georges Didi-Huberman would say:

The imagination makes mountains rise up.
And when we rise up from a real "disaster", it means that against what oppresses us and those who seek to make it impossible for us to move,we oppose the resistance of forces that are desires and imaginations first of all, that is to say psychical forces of unleashing and of reopening possibilities.

[The issue we address in the following paragraphs is not something new, and has not happened only here: here Europe, here Portugal, here Lisbon, here the districts of Alfama, Mouraria, Intendente or Anjos. Or yet again, here Mrs. Conceição from the Rua dos Lagares, Mr. António or Mrs. D. Maria Leonarda from the Belém district. It’s the talk of the town – and of the city –, and that is precisely why it is almost hackneyed or clichéd to tackle it by talking about a complex and irreversible mechanism. However, today it has become a reality that encounters limits until then unknown, a reality that violently transforms in record time what we call “home”, what we call “family”, what we call “social medias”, what we call “rights”, and what we call “our city”.]

Today, Lisbon has become the materialization of a political project that aims to reduce daily life to mere business – that is, permanent economic exchanges –, and seeks to pass every component of it to the neoliberal filter. This process has started with the austerity measures of the previous government, which actively encouraged economic agents to make profitable any potential experience of living in the city, turning them into sources of profit, exclusively. Inside this framework and process, and beyond the phenomenon of “tourist monoculture” and the metamorphosis of Lisbon’s city landscape into a picturesque "ready-to-wear", the issue of housing has become a priority.

In the city center as well as in the suburbs, thousands of people were and are being expelled from their homes without any possibility of relocation, following the astronomical increase in the rental prices – mainly resulting from the liberalization of the “Rent Law” (“Lei das Rendas”) and other helping factors, such as the “Golden Visas” (or “Vistos Gold”); incentive laws on real estate investment addressed to “non-resident” inhabitants, and the proliferation of the “Alojamento Local” (literally “Local housing”, it designates real estate properties used only for short-term rental, most of the time inhabited by foreign tourists). The right to housing is a struggle that already had started in the minority communities living in the suburbs, and where demolitions and express evictions generally happen – in 30 minutes flat – as in the neighborhoods Bairro 6 de Maio, Bairro da Torre or Bairro da Jamaica (to name just a few). But it has now extended to the city center and to other social classes, thus questioning the right to (live in) the city and the right to (benefit from) the commons and, a crucial point, radically transforming the places of residence.

The big cities that have already undergone similar transformations, such as Paris, Barcelona or Berlin, have today largely become empty places, ghost towns, no longer made to be inhabited but to be visited as museums without substance (or better, a substance based on the superficial prospect of selling the heritage of an identity already swallowed by globalization).

“Wherever you go, you'll feel at home”: isn’t this promise one of the slogans, or even mottos, of “franchising”, “merchandising” and so many other concepts in “-ings”? Wherever you go you will have the best possible experience of the place you’re visiting: this very experience tends to make reality invisible, to take away what can be considered the most disturbing, dirty, uncomfortable, rough, or even problematic and harmful.

The places are redefined and redesigned through processes and methods that recall expressions such as “complete cleaning”, “homogenization” and “embellishment”. These very processes, in addition to destroying the unique and complex nature of places, inhabitants and things, create proto-paradises: almost “non-places”; rootless spaces detached from any affective and historical relationships with those who created them as their own places of living; spaces characterized only by their efficiency and by a so-called "universal" esthetic, suited mainly for a bourgeois social class that pretends to force reality into their own requirements, rather than adapt themselves to a different reality; renovated, “upgraded” and “hip” spaces, which contribute greatly to widening the social gap.

Thus, gentrification can also be recognized as a feminist issue.1

According to numerous studies of urban geography, and to the observation of several activist movements that organize and accompany actions of struggle and demand for the right to housing, for dignity and for social well-being, these transformations affect mostly women. Poor women, racialized women, elderly women, or single mothers. They are the ones who take to the streets more often, and therefore, this seems to be a women's struggle. Here is a phenomenon that is not really talked about, yet obvious in the gentrification process. Processus of systematic displacement that increase the vulnerability of women, where issues of social class, race and gender intersect and in which the “feminization of poverty” appears, as the result of the concealed implications and the exclusion of the women's perspectives in the neoliberal economic models, which are predominantly sexist.

(operational mode, positional mode, in order to handle more or less structuring and recalcitrant materials)

5. Raoul Hausmann, 1921 (Retrato de Herwarth Walden em Bonset, cartão postal enviado a Théo Van Doesburg)
6. Germaine Krull, 1925 (A bailarina Jo Mihaly em “Revolution”)
7. GAC / Grupo de Acção Cultural – Vozes Na Luta, 1976 (letras do canto “Casas Sim! Barracas Não!”)


It is through registers that range from the most concrete to the most abstract, from the most linear to the most poetic, or even from the most material to the most immaterial, that we claim to address the subject. Original texts by Rita Natálio, drawing influence from Laurie Anderson's United States, Ailton Krenak’s words, the lyrics of Grupo de Acção Cultural – Vozes na Luta (GAC), and those of the Invisible Committee - and more precisely the books The Coming Insurrection (2007) and To Our Friends (2014) – will be used as a basis for the construction of the dramaturgy. Texts set to music so as to be recited, sung, and to give the rhythm, interacting with images on canvases, various objects and the presence of two bodies.

Two bodies-sculptures, two bodies-actions that settle within the space through a work of long-term presence, that the artist-performer Vânia Rovisco has tirelessly been experimenting as the fundamentals of her own work.

1 “Gentrification is a Feminist Issue: A Discussion on the Intersection of Class, Race, Gender, and Housing”, in The Hampton Institute – A Working-class Think Tank

Ficha Artística

Artistic Direction
Elizabete Francisca
Cocreation and Interpretation
Elizabete Francisca and Vânia Rovisco
Creation Support/Research
Kino Sousa
Music Composition and Sound Design
João Bento
Stage Design
Vasco Costa
Eduardo Brito, with Elizabete Francisca, Vânia Rovisco and Kino Sousa
Light Design
Zeca Iglésias
O Rumo do Fumo
Teatro Nacional D. Maria II, Centro Cultural Vila Flor and Cineteatro Louletano
Fundação GDA


Premiere 15 February 2020, Festival GUIdance, Black Box, Centro Internacional de Artes José de Guimarães, Guimarães/Portugal 

01 - 31

Borrowed time new creation by Elizabete Francisca

Artistic Residency - O Rumo do Fumo, Espaço da Penha, Lisbon, Portugal

coproduction Teatro Nacional D. Maria II and Centro Cultural Vila Flor


Borrowed time new creation by Elizabete Francisca

Premiere - Black box, Centro Internacional de Artes José de Guimarães, Guimarães, Portugal

coproduction Teatro Nacional D. Maria II and Centro Cultural Vila Flor 

in the framework of Festival Guidance and the programme O Rumo do Fumo - 20 Years




Borrowed time by Elizabete Francisca

Fábrica das Ideias, Ílhavo, Portugal

coproduction Teatro Nacional D. Maria II and Centro Cultural Vila Flor 

17 - 19


Borrowed time new creation by Elizabete Francisca

Sala Estúdio, Teatro Nacional D. Maria II, Lisbon, Portugal

coproduction Teatro Nacional D. Maria II and Centro Cultural Vila Flor 

in the framework of the Cycle I dance therefore I am and the programme O Rumo do Fumo - 20 Years




Borrowed time new creation by Elizabete Francisca

Fórum Cultural José Manuel Figueiredo, Baixa da Banheira, Portugal

coproduction Teatro Nacional D. Maria II and Centro Cultural Vila Flor