Relieve Malaise

- Which kind of art do you want to experience when your soul aches?

The project brings together artists from Sweden, Germany and Brazil for a two week workshop at Kaysaa residency outside Sao Paulo. The group will together investigate what kind of art a person who is under emotional stress would like to meet. Does humour, compassion or activation of the body’s movement support the person to find a way out of the impasse?

There are obviously no universal recipes for which kind of artworks make depressed people smile. Different strategies might work for the same person on different days. The same piece might have very different impact on different people. What has a negative impact in a short perspective might invigorate in a longer perspective.

The group is well aware of these issues. They still want to investigate what being deeply sad, depressed or being stuck in a rut means. They want to look at the human condition together and not veer away from the sadness that is part of our lives. This interest is particularly connected to the current political situation in the world where right wing populism spreads across the globe. The group acknowledges that this is a political discussion. Still the impact on the individual, when they are subjected to abuse and violence is real. So, how should artists in a time when acts of violence against the “enemies” of the far right becomes more frequent? What should artists do when democratic values and tolerance are undermined around us?

The group specifically wants to draw from the late work of Lygia Clark where she provided sensory experiences on the brink between art and psychoanalysis in order to try to “cure” the members of the audience. We want to make use of this unique work and the political setting that it was created in (during the Brazilian military dictatorship) and see what we can learn from it today.

If possible, we would also like to invite neuroscientists and psychologists to talk about their knowledge about sadness, depression and other emotional states. This would allow the group to get a better understanding of what happens in the human body when we go through the spleen of human existence. By working together and sharing experiences we hope come up with strategies of resistance that remain artistic rather than activist – or maybe both?

The group will develop performances during their residency at Kaysaa and also show them publicly there. After that the group will travel to Sao Paulo to show the work publicly at Casa do Povo and Vila Itororo.

Artist list:
Carima Neusser – Choreographer, Sweden
Per Huttner – Visual artist and musician, Sweden
Olav Westphalen – Visual artist, Germany
Carola Uehlken – Curator and visual artist, Germany
Lia Chaia – Visual artist, Brazil