The Diplomat’s Walk into the Small Infinite
In 2017, departing from Isabelle Stengers’ conceptual figure of the diplomat, I initiated an exchange with artist Camila Sposati, on our view of the connections between our two countries—Portugal and Brazil. From this exchange, I initiated a reading of philosopher’s José Gil’s book “Portugal, Today: The Fear of Existing”, in which Gil explores the historical reasons for Portugal’s non-inscription. I took on the reading of this book through a practice, that of translating it into English, allowing for a very particular form of inhabitation of Gil’s words. Through the practice of translating the book, I experienced another way of reading and inhabiting words, disturbing, due to the physical experience of moving between screen and paper, but mostly, for how words became inhabited, affecting me. I experienced the discomfort of ‘speaking’ another voice, other ideas, words and rhythms. This inhabitation, as act of miscommunication, positioned me in looking to re-inscribe a part of Portugal’s colonial/postcolonial history. This was the departing point for my work at Manifold Books, where initiated a conversation with artist Maartje Fliervoet, visitors and the space of Manifold, departing from this process of translation. This process led to an ongoing research into Alexandre Rodrigues Ferreira’s Philosophical Journey in Brazil (1783-92) from the point of view of Stengers conceptual figure of the diplomat.
Translating José Gil. The process of translating José Gil was an experiment with another way of reading and inhabiting words, looking at the process of translation as act of miscommunication; taking an embodied practice that affected me deeply. The process of translation was also a process of communicating with Maartje Fliervoet and the public at Manifold during a two months period; in this way opening the translation to other acts of miscommunication. >>
Parede. Sensing the wall, the whole wall, the white wall. Making the wall part of my inner map. Inscribed in me. Affected to me. I evade uneasiness, to fully embody my experience. The experience of performing a practice, that of rubbing the wall. Perhaps I can create a new space from which to read, to move, to write, to think, to engage. I am open to the unknown through the repetition of a practice. I need my body to be involved. The materiality of the wall becomes part of the practice that draws me into the space. A space where I desire to become open to the interference of what surrounds me. For me, this, in itself, is a practice that both disrupts and makes me present. But still, am I creating an absence; absenting myself from the wall. I question if my exercise casts a presence. I am scaling myself to the wall. It is in the size of my hand, multiplied by many. >>