terça-feira, 28 de julho de 2015

AND, This song of freedom

And Lab © Rita Draper Frazão 

Last month I was invited by Fernanda Eugenio to draw live the And Lab workshop she was hosting.
Fernanda is a Brazilian anthropologist who developed a method to relate (it was what her Phd thesis was about and also a result of her collaboration with João Fiadeiro) - she called it AND.

Connect the parts involved, in whatever relation, promoting its life is, its main objective and, therefore, the word "and" to name it, as and links two different words.

This could be used in multiple situations. I'm naming a few examples: how publicity campaigns are done, how texts are written, how lovers relate, how a piece of art talks to its public, or how one relates with its peers in the office. It is applicable to all relations that involve communication and hence its utility.

A game (o jogo in Portuguese) was created in order to practice attention and reflexion on these matters. There can be several games, and the workshop was composed, in it's grand part by them. These games use objects as a mean of expression of its players. To have a complete insight about it please read this. It is quite complex*, so I'll keep it short and regarding the drawings presented here. Hope it gets you at least curious about it!

*The whole And Lab manifesto is here, and there, you can find the full info, if you're interested in knowing in detail about it.

Jogo © Rita Draper Frazão

The drawing above regards a possible game board, a table, and some of the principles of this practice are written on it: the game has the rules its participants define, it has no winner, it notices and uses observation*, it relates and regards the relation itself as its ultimate purpose.

I've put no outlines on purpose - the shape is defined by its ambience - its interveners, the players, not the opposite, as most of the times we see and do - the shape of things is delivered to us done, we don't have to built it. This question of the shape and the hollow has much to do with the exhibition I did in January. If you didn't see it yet, take a look here, where these matters are a bit further developed.

If I had put a black or dark background color, the table and the white would seem much lighter, even smaller. I wanted to do the opposite: I chose a light color as a background color so that the table and the white would seem bolder, fatter. In the end it's got a lot to do with the Gestalt Theorie - it is something I have studied at the fine arts school, and still consider it as one of the most important things in my work and in visual perception matters.

*In Portuguese we have a word - reparar - that means notice, but when written like it the drawing re-parar, it means also to stop again, so in this case it would mean something like forcing a stop, a pause, a reflexion.

1st game © Rita Draper Frazão

The image above refers to the first game done. Using a squared table, and without its players talking to each other, objects, available in the lab, were placed into the area defined as the game board - the table in this case - to start taking positions that have to be continued then by the other players, regarding its qualities. 

At this point 3 objects were placed there: a yellow tape-measure, a yellow pen, and a book with a yellow spine (it was on the other side). In this case, its possible relation - to be continued - could be that all elements had a yellow part and that all were placed vertically and parallel to each other.

While drawing during this sessions, I often thought on how, in Descriptive Geometry, a plan is defined and how it needs several elements to define its direction: one needs at least: 3 dots, 1 dot and a line, or 2 lines. This is crucial for the And method, since a game is only established, once 3 positions have been taken by its participants.

I wanted to draw the participants but also to use the method on my drawing practice. So what I did was trying to co-relate the drawings with what was happening, with the people, objects, animals, plants and situations I had in my front. Sharing with you now all the work done:

Ana Dinger © Rita Draper Frazão

Above is Ana Dinger, a researcher whose Phd covers these matters as well. These circles made part of Fernanda Eugenio's explanation on a white board to explain how the relations can be spirals (they deepen), as tangency points can become a new relationship, and so forth. But in my drawing, I included those circles as a thought tool, and I caught Ana exactly in the middle of her process, before she took a stand to play in one of the games done.
Soraya Jorge © Rita Draper Frazão

Above is Soraya Jorge. She is related to the Authentic Movement practice and teaching in Brazil. She is a force of nature, made us laugh a lot during the workshop with her lively spirit (hence I chose red) and with this drawing I wanted to convey her movement (one's action) as one of those circles spoken here before. In other words: our actions can be lines and the lines can be a tiny part of what a circle is. The vitality of a circle could be to create tangents - our encounters with others, when we meet, when we disagree, when we fall in love, when we fight, when we relate. 

Catarina Machado Faria's foot © Rita Draper Frazão
Catarina Machado Faria's feet are a masterpiece I could not miss in my drawings. I wanted to register I had noticed them! Catarina was sat in the floor with a pillow on her back, with those orange circles. Again, this important shape is here appropriated in a different way, like if her feet could spray circles in the floor - metaphorically a possible place to built something, by walking, by doing. Catarina's beauty lies beyond her feet, she is an anthropologist and a researcher with a love for arts to be embraced - the path to come. 

Ana Vitória © Rita Draper Frazão

This is Ana Vitória's portrait and an important moment in the game played during one of the sessions. Ana was lying down on the floor with her face below a table that was fragilely held by some objects. The table could fall on her face at any moment, she was behind an eight-ball situation. She portrayed the moment when, in a relationship, one makes a position that is risky, and dangerous, to the self and to the relation itself. It was a moment of tension, of thinking and learning. Regarding the drawing itself,  the table and Ana both have bolder outlines in contrast to the erroneous and fragile nature of the roughly sketched like objects below the table, reinforcing its unfinished nature - that they could change place and form at any minute. Ana is a choreographer, and you can see more of her work here.

The Simmel Cat © Rita Draper Frazão
Encapsulated in the vortex of a white time, are accidents. Things that weren't expected to arrive but that impose themselves in a way, we have to consider them as elements of the game we are playing -the reality we are living in. 
It was the case with this cat, named Simmel. I imagined the pet inside a blue capsule, could be an effervescent tablet ready to burst in fireworks, as here.
His name comes after the name of the sociologist Georg Simmel and his nature was of a professional "relationshiper" - several times he entered in our games changing its course in a beautiful and unexpected way.

Star feet © Rita Draper Frazão

One of the topics, approached on the art to relate and practice it, was the principle to observe the elements (already there) that allow a continuity. This means one should exercise its relating ability, establishing connections with the elements given. And that's just what this drawing above is about. On it, from left to right, are Fernanda Eugenio's, Flora Mariah's, Ana Dinger's and Catarina Machado Faria's feet. 
There was a moment that when I looked to them, they were all in line, all with black trousers, and Fernanda and Flora had both stars on their feet. The drawing just prolonged a possible (in this case visual) relation, sprinkling the stars to the other two as well. Making this relation about feet, stars and black trousers. 

Flora Mariah © Rita Draper Frazão
Inspired by her name, this one is Flora Mariah. She was close to some plants, and other stuff as well, but I selected just that, and chose earthy colors to give life to the nature of a wide jungle inside. Flora is ahead the Amaréfunk project in Rio de Janeiro, take a peek! 

Lilian Gil © Rita Draper Frazão

In between the moving lines, there is Lilian Gil. This dancer has the colors of generosity, of love and devotion. Her. Always with beauty and kindness. 

Francisco Gaspar Neto © Rita Draper Frazão
At a certain moment of the game, walnuts were used as an object-tool of a code to express a relation. Francisco Gaspar Neto had an active role on it as well, and I addressed his portrait with a linguistic gag: Nós Somos (we are, in Portuguese) sounds just about the same as Noz Somos (but Noz means walnut, not we!). If one wrote we are walnuts in Portuguese, that would be Nozes somos, so I wanted to make clear my wrong writing was connected to nós so I incorporated the accent in the vogal o (that does not exist in noz) as a reference to it. Metaphorically speaking, this little gag could translate in the "walnuts" of life - actions - we incorporate as bricks of a relationship, a "wall nut". 
Besides being an investigator, Francisco also runs his theatre company in Curitiba.

Mariana Ferreira © Rita Draper Frazão
This one preceded the moment when Mariana Ferreira had an eureka moment: we were all talking, exposing ideas, thinking out loud and then when she finally got a clue about what she was trying to understand there was an immense exclamation in her eyes, and she said aaaaaaaahhhhhh! She was more observant along the way, and here took place a release moment.
Mariana joins the world of psychology with physicality with her work in psychomotricity helping people with cognitive/movement disorders. I just got to know that, afterwords making this portrait, but I thought it was funny because there is some stiffness and liberation feel on this drawing.

Jorge Gonçalves © Rita Draper Frazão
This one caught Jorge Gonçalves in his brief participance in the workshop in a moment of pause and distraction. The colors are of a languid coffee break or a chocolate snack :) Jorge organized the Degrowth Public Policies Course, in Montemor-o-Novo. Take a closer look to it here and here.

© Rita Draper Frazão
Had in mind to draw all the participants that I came across with during the days I participated in the workshop (I didn't attend to all). Just to make it true, and as I was a participant in the workshop as well I made this little one with my feet and my sketch book. 

I have to say it was not an easy task to draw and participate in the games, conversations and activities since I think of drawing as the uttermost exercise of focus and attention. Due to that fact, I had to do the things I did, in different occasions. Drawing when drawing, talking when thinking collectively (with my drawing book closed), and playing when I was a player, and nothing else. 

It was fun and cheerful for me to do this, so I wanted the colors to match that feeling. All of them were indeed real, I just added the background color,  having in mind a nice contrast with the rest. 

Isso Isto © Rita Draper Frazão

This one above, could be the sum of the parts, that still, isn't equal to its whole, as the whole is a much wider concept. This, again, is one of the principles of the Gestalt Theory and is key to the work we were developing here. As much as we folded the sheet of paper, more and more folds were marked there, each detail could be a this (isto) and all of it could be a that (isso). 

Envergadura © Rita Draper Frazão
All the stuff we add into whatever relations we are into or that we create, are elements that compose it, that lead into a certain direction (as in Geometry the 3 points that create a plan with a certain inclination and location). It's with these elements that relations are built of - reach, magnitude, latitude, structure, wingspread, all words that in Portuguese are summed up in one: envergadura
The typography was written by hand and I had in mind never taking the pen out of the paper (always proceeding its movement with a continuos line). It resulted in a tower of eminently falling objects in flames over an horizontal patient word. 
The objects drawn were part of the last game played and the fire was the last action - not taken into reality due to its obvious dangerous nature. Hopefully, in drawings, everything's allowed!

Fernanda Eugenio © Rita Draper Frazão

This one is about the freedom and the individual. It is Fernanda Eugenio, the mentor of And Lab and of this workshop. I took her t-shirt print and though that, in my drawing, it didn't need to fit it in a t-shirt, in a content or in a shape, it could be leading a direction,  leaving at the same time, room for others to add other things. And that was exactly what Fernanda made possible. I also had in mind topics we discussed in the workshop: how individuality (and a so called freedom) can interfere with our perception of space (our own) and relationships. 

Thank you Fernanda for inviting, for trusting my work and to all the participants for having received me in such curious and nice way. Always making questions, asking me to see the drawings but, still, respecting my space while doing them as well. These persons are all special and it was a privilege to draw them.

In the end, this whole thing of the And Lab is about being happy in a sustainable way. Everybody can learn these tools. One does't need to be an artist to learn it, just curious and persistent enough on wanting to improve life. 

Let's not just write the book. Won't you help to sing these song of freedom?

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