© Humberto Araújo

Em Circulação > The Caldeirão Highlanders, exercises in fictional anthropology by Vera Mantero, 2012

The Caldeirão Highlanders, exercises in fictional anthropology

by Vera Mantero, 2012

This work, created for the Encontros do Devir Festival, was developed around the process of desertification/dehumanisation of the Caldeirão Mountain, in the interior of Algarve (south of Portugal). One of the conditions of this commission was that I would have to record and use video images made on site. I did film at the mountain and I did incorporate images of mine in the piece but I mostly used Michel Giacometti’s films, especially the recordings of work songs.

The whole piece is peopled by voices that come from afar...

The sounds of the traditional “triangles” are used to reproduce the sound of silence, the sound of the earth. I reinterpret some of the songs brought to us by Giacometti and sing them to the workers I found on the mountain, reclaiming lost traditions, trying to reenact them.

But it is not just the music that is here at stake, it is also the spoken Word and the Earth; the words of an Antonin Artaud in combustion, of a Prévert hammered in the way of sound poetry (his words on ruins combining perfectly with the images of ruins I found on the mountain). The piece sheds a look on Giacometti’s precious musical (re)collection, on traditional rural practices and livelihoods, on oral cultures from the north to the south of Portugal and also from other continents, such as the references to South American native tribes (revealingly the audiences believe them to be Caldeirão highlanders!) brought to the piece through the research of Eduardo Viveiros de Castro.

With this “broad picture” of the Caldeirão highlanders I address in this piece all the different people that possess a knowledge that we lost, a knowledge we can find in the connection between body and spirit, between art and life. A knowledge that we can (and should, for our own good) retrieve. My dance at the end, with my precious cork trunk, alludes to this knowledge.

Vera Mantero

Ficha Artística

Conception and Performance
Vera Mantero

Light Design
Hugo Coelho - Aldeia da Luz and Vera Mantero

Video Script and Images
Vera Mantero

Video Editing
Hugo Coelho and Vera Mantero

Video excerpts from
Michel Giacometti’s complete film works: Salir (Serra do Caldeirão), Cava da Manta (Coimbra), Dornelas (Coimbra), Teixoso (Covilhã), Manhouce (Viseu), Córdova de S. Pedro Paus (Viseu) and Portimão (Algarve)

Text excerpts from
Antonin Artaud, Eduardo Viveiros de Castro, Jacques Prévert and Vera Mantero

Artistic Residences
Centro de Experimentação Artística - Lugar Comum/Fábrica da Pólvora de Barcarena/Câmara Municipal de Oeiras and DeVIR/CaPA


O Rumo do Fumo

Editora Tradisom

A commission
Encontros do DeVIR by DeVIR/CAPa (Faro)


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