To continue our discussion around time, we talked with artist Dárida Rodrigues, originally from São Paulo. Her research is materialized through audiovisual installations, audio walks, performances and site specifics as an attempt to investigate relational art and human consciousness itself. Dárida shared with us the experience of creating during the isolation period, the role of the abundance of time within the artistic practice and her personal relationship with the passage of time.
I would like to start by talking about the intention behind your work in "stretching time" in order to take a closer look at our surroundings and what lives inside of us as well. Where did this need to merge artistic expression with meditative methods come from?
D: Well, I feel that time, or rather the passing of time, is one of the only constants in our experience, while everything changes. And the possibility that time "stops, stretches or flies" based on our perception of each particular experience, always interested me a lot. I think that this phenomenon of change in perception and above all, the relationship that is established between this and our mental and emotional states, is also one of the things that have always connected me to meditative practices for a long time now.
So I think that this opening of an internal space where temporality unfolds into other possible configurations and that simultaneously allows one to inhabit the present moment more fully, which I explored a lot through meditation, of emptying the mind even for a few seconds, it also crosses my work, I think, in a way prior to an intentionality. It's really a gap that attracts me as an investigation and that I'm interested in exploring in this transposition of territories between art and life, perhaps because, at least for me, these fields of the meditative, or the spiritual, are also the fields where art operates. It has naturally become part of the process to integrate or even subvert meditative methods by experimenting and creating relationships between subjectivity, time and space.
Your latest piece "Vice-Versa" explores this idea of movement of affections that interconnect inside and outside, the reception and expression of information and images... And the work also ended up illustrating the passage of time through the observation of the flow of people on the street and interactions with the piece itself. What did you get from the experience in creating the "Vice-Versa"?
D: I'm still processing everything…because the work has unveiled many layers that have been interesting to look at. But I can say that this impulse to experience an inversion of point of view, taking advantage of this relationship between inside and outside that the window and street space provides, through the projected video resource, allows many other relationships to be established and compare, for example, time with space, in the inverted mirror that does not directly reflect the viewer, created through the video and that calls our attention a lot due to the possibility of experiencing two or more temporalities simultaneously, such as that of what was happening inside, what was happening outside, in the present moment and what was happening in what was seen in action in the video performance/projected mirror, which also brought other speeds, repetitions and interventions and which mediated these various relationships between plant subjects, passersby of the present and the image. I feel it is worth exploring this relational time space further.
The piece [Des]segredo proposed a trajectory of a mapped path to traverse the work in a given space. How do site-specific works manipulate our perception of time?
In the process of creating [Des]segredo, which was also a master's project, the À Luz audio-wall, developed for a specific route in the Belas Artes building in Lisbon, which is a very old construction, from historical materiality, where not only material but temporal weight is felt; it was interesting to explore the proposition of an interior (or meditative) drift through displacement in space, as a process of approaching a common place of relationship one to one, around the idea of Secret, which was proposed at the end.
From this soundscape brought by voice instructions, experienced and recreated in the present when walking through space and also through the subjective temporalities that happen in the moment, for each participant, I could also observe how a space/temporal journey made specifically to exist in an artistic space, can not only influence (or manipulate) our perception of time but also be influenced by it. This is because I feel that site-specific works are linked intrinsically to space, at the same time that they open themselves, through this possibility of the manifestation of a subverted temporal space, for interventions and transformations of the same and in this sense, they are very interesting in this exploration of the universe interior and relational in dialogue with temporality.
The work [In]surgir, which was created during the quarantine, is another work of auditory immersion. One of our questions within the theme of time is to investigate how the lack or abundance of time affects the creation processes. What was it like creating this piece during the quarantine?
It was, at the very least, a good interrogation exercise, so much so that in the beginning I called the [In]Surgir series "Exercises for “Touching Becoming, Embracing Pain and Chewing on Reality”. I, who had decided to kind of transgress in the field of art, some meditative methods, by proposing displacement, distraction, a poetics that involved me personally in the texts and audios, suddenly felt that life asked first of all nothing, to digest, with an unprecedented limitation of space and movement, a dystopian and uncertain reality, where these "conventional" meditation methods, despite being physiologically very useful, didn't seem to make as much sense to me at the time. It was really a necessity to integrate them with the creation process. So I started writing these audio-instructions to work with the possibilities of a meditative and sensory abstraction from this confined condition and of the sudden pseudo-abundance of time and impossibility of movement, with all the emotions and queries that arose.
Do you believe it is still possible for artists to enjoy the esoteric nature of the creation process in an extremely fast-paced world like the one we live in today?
Yes, it's hard to think of what's not possible in terms of art. But personally, I feel that it is essential to let yourself exist in life and art in the most integral way possible for each one, so that we are not totally swallowed up or captured by the extremely capitalized and mediatized life, which characterizes the instituted, flawed but accelerated “humanism” of today. And I think that this esoteric, spiritual or transpersonal universe is much broader and present in our subjective experience, than what we often imagine or intellectualize, especially because we operate almost always within the western hegemonic thought, where we have difficulty in making room for what cannot be configured by these parameters and so we do not connect with the possibilities of intuiting and creating our own natural rituals or spells, even the not “supernatural” ones, to explore our inner universe and invent other realities.
The artistic field is a very fertile ground for this exploration, in my opinion. Much of what we see as part of an esoteric nature and unrelated to the rational thinking we know may be common practice for some other communities and species, for example. if we see or if we make art only from the point of view of our (often limited) culture, we will always leave out experiences that are perhaps fundamental to exist and, who knows, politically flourish in the present time. I don't see a space or time more receptive to this than art.
To learn more about Dárida's work, visit her website and social media.