Choreografen Marcela Levi (Rio de Janeiro, Brazilië) en Lucía Russo (Patagonia, Argentinië) verkennen verschillende dansvormen en tradities in hun oeuvre. In het ene werk verdiepen ze zich in de rave-cultuur van bepaalde wijken in Brazilië, in het andere pakken ze de historische en actuele clichés over zwarte lichamen in dans aan als antwoord op de domesticatie van lichamen van mensen van Afrikaanse afkomst in Brazilië, van wie verwacht wordt dat ze niet al te zichtbaar zijn in de publieke ruimte.
Voor deze video filmen Levi en Russo het geschreeuw en het gejoel tijdens de dagelijkse “Casserolle protesten” (de “potten en pannen protesten”) die elke avond om 20.30 uur opstijgen vanaf de balkons in Brazilië. Daarmee protesteert de bevolking tegen het bewind van Bolsonaro en zijn regering. Die slaan namelijk de adviezen van de Wereld Gezondheidsorganisatie WHO om de verspreiding van Covid-19 tegen te gaan grotendeels in de wind. In deze video combineren ze de beelden van de protesten met flarden van één van hun performances HARM—ONY. Ook schrijven ze er een essay over.
Essay Marcela Levi & Lucía Russo
The Spanish word "ventana" (window) is related to the Spanish word “viento" (wind). In its origin, "ventana" means breather, opening, nose hole (in English the word WIND-ow derives from WIND-eye, and the word VENT derives partly from French vent ‘wind’, reinforced by French évent, from éventer ‘expose to air’, based on Latin ventus ‘wind’).
The window is what gives breath, it's a respirator. It is the opening through which the air enters and leaves in an enclosed place. The nostrils (“ventas” in Portuguese) are those openings in the body through which the air flows.
COVID-19 is a respiratory disease whose one of the symptoms is lack of air. The word “pneuma" - which is partly found in Spanish words as “pulmón” (lung) and "pneumonia” -
carries the meaning of creative force, vital principle, wind and respiration that animates the body with its breath.
Eric Garner's cry "I can't breathe, I can't breathe" resonates now.
Like all other independent artists, Improvável Produções had its schedule completely cancelled. So far, in Brazil, there are no governmental or institutional programs to help artists and independent groups at this time of crisis, which, as we all know, will cause recessions, protectionism and mobility regulations. How not to die is the question that echoes and reverberates on the horizon when we look through the window. In the midst of this scenario, a private bank (that in the fiscal year of 2019 had the highest liquid profit in the history of Brazilian banks: 5 billion euros), via its Cultural Institute, launches a public call for proposals called "Art as a Breath". The public call proposes to select 120 artists, groups and companies from all over Brazil to "breathe". And all the others? Using the term and the action of "selecting" during a crisis in which everyone is unable to provide for themselves; isn’t that unacceptable?
“we can´t breathe, we can´t breathe”
#fora (get out)*
#acabou (it's over)*
*these hashtags refere to shoutings daily heard in Brazil during “casserole protests” against Bolsonaro and its government
In Rio de Janeiro, in 1918, 600.000 people out of a total population of 1 million contracted the Spanish flu. Among them, elected president Rodrigues Alves who died before assuming the position.
On March 11, 2020, the WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic.
On March 17, 2020, according to media reports, the first death as a result of COVID-19 took place in Brazil.
During that same month, current President Jair Messias Bolsonaro holds his "traditional birthday party", greets his followers with hugs and handshakes, and calls the population to return to the streets, to work, disrespecting the rules of conduct, defined by the WHO, to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
Today, May 11th, there is a massacre ongoing. A Brazil ungoverned by Jair Bolsonaro. Almost 12.000 Brazilian people died of COVID-19. We can´t breathe, we can´t breathe. Hospitals from big cities are in collapse, doctors are selecting who has the right to a ventilator and people are dying in their homes. They couldn´t breathe. There are no tests even for relatives of people killed by COVID-19. Indigenous people are dying. We are thrown at our own luck. We can´t breathe, we can´t breathe. The president still publicly speaks against isolation and social distancing. He continues to embrace his followers who gather daily in front of the Government Palace. He stimulates and attends demonstrations calling for the closure of Congress and the Supreme Court. We can´t breathe, we can´t breathe. He designates militars to occupy about one hundred strategic positions inside the government: Ministries of Health, Education, Environment, Justice, Science and Technology, FUNAI (National Indigenous Foundation), Infrastructure, Telecommunications, in addition to the Post Office, National Banks, Petrobrás, Hospital Services, etc.. We can´t breathe, we can´t breathe. In the midst of the health crisis, he dismisses the Minister of Health because he was following the WHO recommendations. When approached by journalists on the 28th April in relation to the more than 5,000 deaths until that day, he answered: "And so? What can I do?". We can´t breathe, we can´t breathe. Deforestation in Brazil's Amazon rainforest rises sharply in April, increasing 64% compared with the same month a year ago. We can´t breathe, we can´t breathe. Government approves policies that benefit evangelical churches, agribusiness and rural caucus, logging companies, mining companies, deforesters and arms dealers, to the detriment of indigenous and environmental rights, education and the reduction of violence. We can´t breathe, we can´t breathe. There are already 25 requests for impeachemnt of Bolsonaro not accepted by the President of the Chamber of Deputies. Bolsonaro is still supported by a large part of the national business community and by a considerable part of Brazilian population. We can´t breathe, we can´t breathe
On March 18, the first “window casserole protest” (“Janelaço” in Portuguese) explodes against the president's ineptitude. From many Brazilian windows drums and screams can be heard, and the hashtags #fora and #acabou are projected on the facades of buildings. The window casserole protests continue daily until today, and at 8:30pm we, and many other neighbors, meet at the window. On May 4, composer Aldir Blanc dies in Rio de Janeiro from COVID-19. That same day, people return to the windows, but this time to sing and play a song written by Aldir during the Brazilian military dictatorship that says: Brazil does not deserve Brasil. Brazil is killing Brasil. From Brasil, SOS to Brasil.
The act of repeating for Live Arts’ workers is an experience of transformation and it is radically opposed to the common notion of repeating as fixing habits and automatic patterns.
Rio de Janeiro, March, April and May of 2020
 On July 17, 2014, Eric Garner died in New York after police officer Daniel Pantaleo put him in a chokehold while arresting him for selling cigarettes without a tax stamp. Video footage of the incident generated widespread national attention and raised questions about the appropriate use of force by law enforcement.
Video: JANELAÇO DA ALMA: a homemade video conceived and created by Marcela Levi and Lucía Russo. Performance: Dana Martínez Cazaña, Helena Neheme, Ícaro Gaya, Kharlos Villanueva, Lucas Fonseca, Lucía Russo, José Urrea Silva, Matteo De Blasio, Martim Gueller, Marisabel Dávila Lobo and Tamires Costa. Drawings: Lucía Russo. Camera: Breno Romeiro (HARM-ONY at Sala Hiroshima, Barcelona) and Lucía Russo (Janelaços). Edition: Marcela Levi. Vídeo insert: Babel by Cildo Meireles. Production and artistic realization: Improvável Produções
Bio: Marcela Levi & Lucía Russo are choreographers. In 2010, they founded Improvável Produções (Improbable Productions) in Rio de Janeiro, a space for training, research and creation responsible for the conception, creation and production of dance projects presented in inumerous art centers, museums, festivals and theatres in Latin America and Europe. Levi & Russo are committed to a polyphonic artistic direction in which different inventive positions intertwine in a process that embraces deviant lines, dissent and internal differences as a constructive critical force and not as self-exclusive polarities.