SÂLMON TEXT 2021


We must find the place where to look from.Søren Kierkegaard.
¿No lo ves?La Zowi

It is said that, after surviving the plague and the sack that devastated Rome in the 5th century, its inhabitants celebrated their reencounter in other cities by “crowding to the theatres, pouring into them and filling them, playing a madder part now than ever before”[1]. A few years later the Western Roman Empire would fall. If “the theatre, like the plague, is a delirium and is contagious”[2], that may be because it is still capable of altering the ordering of life or the choreography of normality.Great epidemics have always been transition periods, hallways to every single epoch transformation, ductile timespans where facts and fictions merge violently and imagination takes shape again, like in dreams or in the theatre, both being laboratories of disruptive power where that which happens penetrates the bodies as they wake up or crowd the streets. Theatre, in such a feverish state as we are set in now, can become a place to dream of a different waking life, a metallurgy where the malleability of imagination allows us to “render the given order entirely plastic and subject to de-re-formation”[3].In performing arts “life is always decided now, and now, and now”[4], recursively. They are ready to give themselves completely to every gesture, word or image, being so alive that their only horizon is the urgency of the present; current performance practice builds a potential territory for finding out strategies to dance out the fears and the uncertainty that rule upon us today. We could transform such uncertainty into a performative opportunity, in order to fill up a void with agency and breathe in there, while encouraging us to envisage other worlds. After all, “what a body can do is what a body is doing”[5], nothing less.While being plunged into virtuality, detached by social distancing, alienated by all sorts of inequalities, subsumed by unbearable forms of violence, paralyzed by their condition of passive spectators, bodies moreover suffer now of a “crisis of presence”[6] which is being triggered by the collapse of a society that falls like Rome fell. Only instead of fleeing, we might try to inhabit the chaos and surrender to the “perpetual dynamic turmoil”[7] in order to “persist in the very breach to produce a new skin from there, a new sensibility that responds already to other requests of the real, and so it turns our broken defenses into the building materials of a new body”[8].The Sâlmon Festival launches a new edition with the support of a renewed organism that preserves it, a tentacular structure that gives it continuity and takes on the challenge to face the upcoming 2021 and 2022 editions: a festival born out of dialog, while it embraces the risk that invariably defines the arts. The Sâlmon 2021 is envisaged by its curators as a chance to gather again and become delirious (from Latin delirare, “going off the furrow”), abandon the marked trail, and in doing so, invite Barcelona to become delirious too. That delirium should reverse the state of precariousness in which experimental performing arts dwell by creating an expanded framework of intensity for the artists that inhabit it, with the entire collaboration of the constantly supporting spaces that set themselves against the hegemonic model of a city-event.If performing arts have survived every time and circumstance is because they answer simple and vital needs: gathering in order to see what happens as we share a present time, after encompassing ourselves to its contingent whims. Yet performing arts are currently being cancelled and reduced to displaying “a sign of subalternity”[9] before other sectors of society, or even worse, being forced to adapt to different procedures. If “what’s clear is that technology won’t offer any new cultural form by itself”[10], performing arts find themselves in a crucial position to reappropriate technologies and assimilate them for their own modes of transmission. Sâlmon 2021 invites us therefore from the 17th to the 21st of February to the delirium of experimenting with other possible modes of contagion. The suggested medium is television, and “becoming delirious is meeting the future”[11].In order to watch, we must first find the place where to look from. In theatre (from Greek theatron, “place for viewing”), the performativity degree zero may not be more than arranging a place for working out the gaze. In this time patrolled by flows of data and images in apparatuses of “choreopolice”[12] that scatter us relentlessly, this festival calls for coming together and raising our gazes around an open plató or great performing apparatus on the MAC stage at Mercat de les Flors. This stage will be devoted to a TV utopia and a performative autopsy or “action of looking with one’s own eyes” at the live production of images. “Start from scratch”[13], open up a new space and see what happens.Sâlmon invites us in this edition to take a sit on a long after-dinner conversation while television springs from the private sphere and the market and lands on the public and experimental space of performing arts, a chaotic and cathode sequence shot on the hybridization of synchronous languages. A scopic device that unfolds new stalls from where we can look at how the chain between bodies, events and images that has been torn asunder by spectacle and virtuality is reforged. While taking distance from screens, the festival will address a new spectatorship via streaming on the public TV channel Betevé, and propose a haptic gathering around those screens, as it was done in homes and bars by lighting fires and opening windows.From the 18th to the 21st of February artists, curators, technicians and spectators will engage together on the plató of the new Sâlmon, on- and off-camera in different formats, before the mixdown of different disciplines, which is not so common in the framework of Barcelona’s public institutions. In the evening, performances will take place upstairs, on the Pina Bausch stage at Mercat de les Flors. In addition to the plató, six artists will occupy Fabra i Coats from the 1st to the 17th of February as they produce La pantalla pródiga, an ad hoc kaleidoscopic event that will open the festival. On the 21st of February we will say farewell to Sâlmon 2021 with OKAY CONFIANCE, a specific context that adapts to each occasion and which will extend the plató to the Graner premises, where a team of artists will have spent one week on the preparations for a space of trust and common learning where ethics and technique go hand in hand.This new Sâlom, however, does not stop here. While being aware that “world-making activities dwell on processes, and the future discloses only if a process discloses it from the present”[14], the festival will keep its fire burning for the upcoming 2022 edition and fuel it with Entre, an experimental residency program that involves several spaces in Barcelona and other international platforms, and which will open its doors in May and September.After surviving the plague in the 16th century, it is said that a woman would start to dance on the city streets, and would infect hundreds of bodies with her dancing, thus becoming a movement epidemics or a dance plague that would last for months until public order was reinstated. As in The Decameron, Sâlmon shelters us in a laboratory that sets in motion a metallurgy of the imagination to prepare for the day when we will all be released into a desolate outside world. Maybe this way we will achieve to take a breath before we become delirious, as we rehearse new “choreopolitics”[15] able to reinvent any normality.

FERNANDO GANDASEGUI

[1] St. Augustine, The City of God. Translated by Marcus Dods. The Modern Library, New York, 1950.[2] Antonin Artaud, “The Theater and the Plague”, The Theater and Its Double. Translated by Mary Caroline Richards. Grove Press, New York, 1958.[3] Patricia Reed, “Logic and Fiction: Notes on Finance, and the Power of Recursivity”, The Psychopathology of Cognitive Capitalism: Part II, Berlin, Archive Books, 2013.[4] The Invisible Commitee, Now, Ill Will Editions, 2017. Translated by Robert Hurley.[5] Paz Rojo in an interview published on the 17th of May, 2015, on the blog ¿Qué puede un cuerpo?[6] Amador Fernández-Savater in his article “Crisis de presencia. Una lectura de Tiqqun” published on the 10th of March, 2015, in the 4th fanzine of Carne Negra.[7] Toni Navarro in his article “Terraforming the Earth, Redesigning the World” published on the 9th of November, 2020, on the CCCB website.[8] Amador Fernández-Savater, “Crisis de presencia. Una lectura de Tiqqun”.[9] Roberto Fratini in his Manifiesto manifiestamente imprudente y viral para un Teatro Infeccioso y una Cultura Insegura published in the magazine Ítaca on the 23rd of October, 2020.[10] Mark Fisher, Ghosts of My Life. Writings on Depression, Hauntology and Lost Futures. Zero Books, Winchester/ Washington, 2014.[11] María Zambrano, “Delirio, Esperanza, Razón”, Nueva Revista Cubana, Number 3, 1959.[12] Police choreography, police dynamics, police kinetics. (…) Choreopolicing imposes a forced ontological fitting between pregiven movements, bodies in conformity, and pre-assigned places for circulation.” André Lepecki, “Choreopolice and Choreopolitics: Or, the task of the dancer”, TDR: The Drama Review, Vol. 57, Number 4, 2013.[13] La Zowi & Yung Beef, Empezar de cero, single published in 2019.[14] Amador Fernández-Savater in an interview published on the 29th of November, 2020, in El Salto.[15] “Choreopolitics requires a redistribution and reinvention of bodies, affects, and senses through which one may learn how to move politically, how to invent, activate, seek, or experiment with a movement whose only sense (meaning and direction) is the experimental exercise of freedom”. André Lepecki, “Choreopolice and Choreopolitics: Or, the task of the dancer”, TDR: The Drama Review, Vol. 57, Number 4, 2013.