THE TRAP is the continuation of my research around themes I have been exploring in my previous solo works. I have been focusing on the obsession with the "ideal/sucessful body", a kind of evolutionary canon structured by Western society based on the consumption of goods. I am intrigued by the ‘void’ that begins to appear as one passes from ‘private’ to the ‘public’ body. The ‘void’ could be a symptomatic and nihilistic loss that takes place in this transition, so that one can follow the canons in which we are all immersed, which propagate permanent contamination, based on the desire to "become" and “obtain”. These canons that propagate a desire, are particularly linked to ‘industry’ and ‘post-industry’, which gallop through virtual society, full of illusions and traps, wanting to keep us in a state of selfish entertainment so that some can triumph in the perverse game that is ‘contemporary society’. In a deeply empirical observation, I see people increasingly isolated in front of the screen, watching, sometimes appearing, with the simple purpose of being ‘objectified’ for the sake of a particular pleasure, to prove they exist and can, for a while, erase the burden of being ‘subject’. There is a certain pleasure in being passive, in being a ‘channel’ for desire. Television and other media are ideal platforms to prove that you "could" be a subject. The power of ‘image’ is terrifying, especially when associated with the body.
All societies impose to the individual, the desire to accomplish ‘something’ (usually already from an early age). Learning and coercion for the purpose of having social cohesion and peace to serve the needs of the industry, which creates social ‘standards’ to sell products (although the fragmentation of audiences and their specialization is still in development). We can highlight two verbs within this social and political learning that we are forced to memorize from childhood: "winning" and "getting". These verbs/desires blind us as much as they poison us. When reflection attempts to derail the gear to identify what is the origin of this ideology (because it seems the gem of the ideology of progress/capital), the conclusion is easily reached: this source does not serve a deep need, something that feeds our root, but it is instead useful to spread the merchandising of the great illusion, always in the form of distraction.
It seems that no matter how much we try to fight these normative "desires" that force us to our own entertainment in irrelevant surfaces (making us the actors of the old society of the spectacle), we never manage to escape and never absolutely (because absolution is impossible). Our own body becomes both "weapon" and "target" and we continue to perceive ourselves as a bionic machine because when we look at the mirror, we want to overcome ourselves, we want an intimate "public," we want to be the poster we see, even if that means stopping what we are. We aim to be transhuman or even posthuman to achieve an ideal body (both in terms of beauty and health) through technology and artifice.
Mariana Tengner Barros
A solo by MARIANA TENGNER BARROS
Artistic advisor: MARK TOMPKINS
Assisted by : ANTÓNIO MV and NUNO MIGUEL
Video: ANTÓNIO MV and MARIANA TENGNER BARROS
Texts: MARIANA TENGNER BARROS and NUNO MIGUEL
Costume: ANTÓNIO MV
Set: NUNO MIGUEL, ANTÓNIO MV and MARIANA TENGNER BARROS
Music : FILIPE LOPES
Dramaturgy collaborator: JOÃO MANUEL DE OLIVEIRA
Coproduction: CIRCULAR - FESTIVAL DE ARTES PERFORMATIVAS
Funded by CALOUSTE GULBENKIAN FOUNDATION
EIRA is supported by the GOVERNMENT OF PORTUGAL / DIRECTORATE-GENERAL FOR THE ARTS - STATE DEPARTMENT FOR CULTURE