The Bucket Team:

Jorge Gonçalves (dancer)
João Pádua (photographer)
Joana Mateus (Visual/sound artist)
Manuela São Simão (visual/performance artist)


This is a project developed within Porto Comunidade, a colective project taking place in the city of Porto, more precisely on Praça da Batalha, with performances at 13 and 14 of October, 2008. The project has been conceived and initiated by choreographer Emre Koyuncuoglu (Istambul) and the film curator Tobias Hering (Berlim), and is hosted by José Roseira and Ideias Imergentes ctrl.


The proposal of the project:

"Concept for a site-specific choreography of film, text, performance,

and discussion in public space in downtown Porto making use of scenes
from the film La Commune – Paris 1871 by Peter Watkins (2000), and
personal perceptions and projections of Portuenses on their city.

Like the film that it quotes and uses fragments of, Porto comunidade
wants to encourage a critical and imaginative debate about one's
community and one's own participation in it. Porto comunidade will
develop a suggestive narrative of Porto's downtown informed by an
interest in what is understood as "common". More specifically, the
performance aims to create through the imaginary of art a temporary
"community", a momentary political awareness that may initiate
repercussions in the way people take part and responsibility in the
real community of Oporto.

The film La Commune – Paris 1871 offers a complex experience that
will inevitably strike various different chords in each audience. It
re-enacts an extremely critical and powerful historical reference,
the Paris Commune which formally lasted from March 18 till May 28,
1871. The film was made with mostly amateur actors, a majority of
whom were in economically precarious or socially marginalized
situations. Frequent, often controversial discussions on the film
work itself and on the political issues at stake in the Commune were
part of the project and are included in the final film.

La Commune – Paris 1871 not only recollects a pivotal historic
moment. It is also the document of a collective process of self-
empowerment through role play and debate. It has become a unique
classic of political filmmaking through its attempt to use film and
film work as a complex system of signs and actions, whose layers and
facets – like those of society – cannot be represented in a
definite and final shape, but will always remain open for re-
enactment, re-instantiation and re-interpretation. For once, seeing
an actor totally absorbing the rebellious vigour of his or her
character and then turning on the camera and relating this experience
to his or her real life as a political subject, does not leave the
audience unchallenged. It opens the boundaries between fiction and
reality, imagination and practice, and turns an expecting eye on the
audience: What would you have done at the time? And what are you
doing today? How are your connections to your community and its
imagined possibilities?

By accentuating thematic suggestions of the film with the
significance of the screening sites in Porto's downtown, and by
developing a choreography of scenes, readings and gestures developed
on-site with the performers, Porto comunidade will create a tangible
and more specifically local context for this challenge. The piece
interweaves several layers of reference, inviting both a cognitive
and an imaginative approach. The layers will bring into play
different times and modes of actuality, past, present, future,
reality, transformation, utopia. These layers of reference could be
identified as: What was? What is? What can be? But even in this
tentative chronological order they immediately start intermingling,
since inevitably whatever was and is, was and is surrounded by
something that was not and is not, and therefore the question: Why
did this not happen, and what would the present look like, if it had?
This kind of dialogue about actualities and possibilities of the city
is the main intention of the piece and ideally each performance would
include a collective debate in which the audience can freely express
their experience with this offer and thus become actors, that is:
active. After all, it has been a driving force in theatre and
performance art to investigate different forms of "being in the
world" and to inform real life performance and behaviour by artistic

In Porto comunidade, the audience will be taken to a public space in
the city which many of them will be familiar with as inhabitants,
commuters, or visitors. They will be presented with performances,
readings, film scenes, which can dislocate this familiarity and thus
open up to an imaginary field of possibilities. The relation of the
citizens to their city can never be defined, and might even escape a
proper description. One of the fascinations of cities is the stark
contrast between the seemingly rigid factuality of buildings,
streets, monuments, and the constant flux of movement and use that
the people make of this infrastructure. Even where this use does not
leave a visible trace on the city's surface, it will contribute
significantly to the character of a city, to what the city is in a
given moment.

This constant friction and mingling of a rigid objectivity with a
practical subjectivity also describes the way the individual relates
to the community. The political as that which concerns everyone is
etymologically bound to the city, the polis, as a space for the
public expression of individual positions and the challenge to
integrate these with each other. Artistic appropriations of public
space tend to broaden the realm of this debate and have often served
to revitalize it when it was threatened by too much routine or
suppression. Porto comunidade is intended to stimulate a debate and
understanding of the city as the "common concern" of everybody.

Reference: Former projects with La Commune
The film La Commune – Paris 1871 has never received a wide
commercial distribution, partly due to its sheer length of 368
minutes. It is frequently used, however, in specific thematic
contexts, mostly supported by local initiatives who identify with the
film's political scope and enjoy its richness of perspectives. This
kind of non-commercial and community-specific use is encouraged and
supported by "Le Rebond pour La Commune", a Paris-based initiative
consisting mostly of participants in the film and dedicated to its

The project Porto comunidade has two predecessors. In 2006, Tobias
Hering organized a screening of La Commune – Paris 1871 in public
space in Berlin as part of the annual film festival "globale". The
film was shown in its full length, divided into 10 chapters to be
screened at different informal locations in a low-profile residential
neighbourhood in the Eastern centre of the city. Since the location
was changed several times throughout the screening, the concept
included the idea of turning the "film walk" into a performance of
its own right making use of public space in a unique and topical
manner by claiming the film's issues to be issues for these spaces;
and these spaces to be spaces for public political debate.

In a first collaboration of Emre Koyuncuoğlu and Tobias Hering in the
Turkish Black Sea town of Sinop, excerpts of the film were made part
of a narrative performance involving choreographed dance and theatre
elements, readings, a live "tour guide", and a closing discussion
with the audience in a wide open circle. Sinop Komün-ikasyon'u was
part of the "Sinopale" 2006, an art biennial that was inaugurated
that year. The specifics of the piece were largely influenced by the
location, the former Sinop prison in a medieval fortress towering
over the city and officially abandoned in 1996 after being in use as
a state prison for over a century.

Notwithstanding its very specific local setting, the experiences made
in Sinop in adapting a multi-layered performance piece to a historic
will inform the production of Porto comunidade. Therefore, some
aspects of this precedent project shall be discussed here, in order
to outline possible dynamics.

Site specificity, in Sinop, meant to reflect on the anxieties,
experiences, and preconceptions about the prison, its meaning for the
local population as well as Turkey's political identity. Not only
was this site by no means a public space; as a prison it was even the
most dramatic counterpart to such an openness: a space of seclusion
and segregation, a place whose entire raison d'etre was to hinder
free movement and to control or break communication.

In the face of this, the "Sinopale" was meant to re-open this
space, to make it accessible again and to invite audiences to come
and claim it. This invitation was broadly embraced by the local
public, for whom the prison had not only been a sinister landmark
over their city, but also a stigma on their collective identity.
Sinop was infamous for its prison throughout the country, a remote
town on the Black Sea coast to which mostly "political" prisoners
were exiled, people whose behaviour, action or thoughts had deviated
from what was officially sanctioned as proper and conflicted with the
interests of those in power. Interestingly, though, while Sinop
prison became a place where thousands of people were locked away,
disappeared and died for over a century, the small town around it
developed a reputation for its relative tolerance towards political
and religious convictions and became an exile for a heterogeneous
population of people who were in political and/or legal trouble

For Sinop Komünikasyon'u, it was necessary to confront the almost
over-determined gesture of organizing an art biennial in such a
place. Inevitably this challenge meant to try to give a voice to the
immensely conflictual narratives of the prison and ultimately to
those who had been silenced there. Instead of performing and
stretching the ideal openness of a "public space", Sinop
Komünikasyon'u tried to perforate the visible walls and dominating
limitations of discourse in and around Sinop prison and the political
practices that took place there and are still taking place elsewhere.
The piece used historic and contemporary texts, some written in and
about Sinop prison, choreographed elements developed with 10
performers on the site, and scenes from the film La Commune – Paris
1871, which were screened in an accentuated manner, inviting
imagination, interpretation and infiltration by performers and
audiences. On each of three nights, the final part of the piece was a
discussion among all participants – performers, organizers, and
audience – sitting in a wide, open circle in one of the prison
yards. Thus, Sinop Komünikasyon'u, by endorsing the gesture of the
biennial, was an invitation to not only come, see, and listen, but to
also take part, reply, and react to this invitation. This was broadly
accepted by some 400 people on three nights, appropriating the space
and contributing their own projections and experiences around and
even inside the prison in three final debates, which gave each night
its unique accentuation.

Enactment and re-enactment can be empowering experiences and are as
such often employed in performance art. Generally, enactment
facilitates the step from spectator to participant. Protected by the
veil of a role one is more likely to become an "actor", therefore
active, especially in public space organized by anonymity and the
gaze. Yet, at the same time, this role play brings into focus the
general disposition that in order to perform and be recognized in
public one always has to assume a role, and therefore challenge the
difference between "real" persona and enacted character. There is
no guarantee that my performance will be interpreted or recognized as
how I intend it; however, there is no other way of challenging
misinterpretation and neglect than to step forward and act.

In Sinop, during a week-long on-site rehearsal, the performers –
some professional, some not - developed visual interpretations to
communicate with the untold stories and the unwitnessed history of
the prison. These performances were meant to untie some of the
critical knots which any debate about this site was to encounter, and
to therefore breach the barrier of shame and ignorance that encloses
many painful experiences, even when they have a collective relevance.
The scenes from La Commune – Paris 1871 in turn were meant to open a
broader context of reference for this debate. One of the film's most
striking features is the unique engagement of the performers with
their characters and the narrative they are performing. They
frequently step out of their roles to freely express their
reflections on the historic events they are re-enacting and to relate
these to their actual real life experience."



Organization | Organização

IDEIAS EMERGENTES – Produção Cultural, CRL
Rua Santa Catarina, 777
4000-454 PORTO
T/F + 351 22 20 10 107


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