I see windows, and trees full of leaves, and buildings with red bricks, and a train station. Do you see them? While I watch the tracks of the trains, cars drive bringing city sounds, composing to the birds that only sing during summer. And someone rides a bike. And someone goes shopping. And the phone shows me 79 unread messages. And I see you there.
Como é que faz pros olhos enraizarem?
Everyday our eyes travel through a hundred million pieces of information. We get root inpulses, desires to root, but the eyes get lost with new impulses coming from the outside. The eyes are lost beings. Maybe all eyes are sons of Hermes and change focus at every instant.
The eyes, the ones that keep the same color for a whole lifetime, change direction at every instant.
Como é que faz pros olhos enraizarem?
The head says: eyes, look that way. Have some focus, find something to look at. The eyes reply: it feels so good to drift...
I wish I were like eyes and did not care about the head.
Once, my eyes read something by Cixous, talking about how myopia can be a blessing for writing, since it distorts vision and opens space for disorientation.
Right now I'm using contact lenses. How far can you see without contact lenses?
Como é que faz pros olhos enraizarem?
I see a focus. The focus is where the eyes get pinned. The focus is you inside a red brick building, so far away that it's almost imperceptible. If I had myopia I'd think it didn't exist.
You're the focus. On the margins of focus, a whole dance of information.
I close my eyes. Lose the focus. Lose the dance. I, myself, don't know where I am. A leap of courage: to go to the tip of my toes and open my arms.
I open my eyes.
Rooting through the eyes is when I see that I will fall over you and decide to move away.
I decide to move inside the Earth. In the depths of this darkness there could be an entire ocean but, instead, it is dry and earthy.
So I articulate.
Slowly I make the Earth around me more moist. By articulating, the effort of moving in dryness turns into sweat and the sweat humidifies the soil, and the soil becomes almost like a pool inside which you can swim.
Your whole body becomes articulation. You become the vertebrae that build up my spine.
We are one moving being.
We move with the effort to sweat out our insides and make it easier to travel inside the Earth. Without sweat, things become more difficult.
We no longer need limbs. We have tentacles.
We have body parts that articulate themselves in multiple directions, that can go everywhere, that can swim.
We have tentacles that make it possible to embrace each other, but also to set us free.
We have tentacular arms and legs. We swim.
Vision roots landscape to the body
Inhaling life from the outside. Life rests inside of our chest.
We train the lungs to become more flexible.
We train ourselves to receive the world.
No extra movement. Limbs, head and tail are all resting in their own place, all disappearing to become one. Oness. Once.
Once I was a being with limbs and head and tail. Now I am a being with lungs. I wonder if you can see yourself as a being with lungs as well.
I explode with air and give back to the outside, becoming empty. No emptiness lasts for long, for as soon as something gets filled up, it explodes.
Nothing is full forever. Not me, nor you.
We live and die 35 times per second. And in all these 35 times we try to stay alive and fail.
As soon as we die, something outside of us takes shape in thin air.
We breathe with this new being although we cannot see it.
Between them and us there is a pathway, a transition, a dark door through which everything moves. But we cannot see each other.
Through this door we reach for what we can give each other, and for what we can take.
We alone. Them alone. The three of us connected through a door. A rite of passage.
A tear falls off my eyes as I laugh.
A drop of sweat following the path of your spine as the sun shines.
Water swimming down your throat.
Blood rushing through our veins.
from one second
to the next.
Small deaths are happening at this second while I write these lines to you.
I die this second as a write these lines to you.
I let my body cry, this time not of happiness, because I want to let you go into the depths of the Earth - that same place where I've been.
But that's your choice.
If you decide to go there, look for an old being with grey hair and a different type of skin, a type that I cannot explain that well. That being has been alive for so long, collecting skins from everybody it has met.
If you meet this being, let it take your skin as well. I did once. It was a major way to die.
I came back from it carrying a new skin. It's not entirely fitting my body yet, but that being said it took some time to adjust.
If you go there and meet that being, and it takes your skin away from you, tell me if you managed to find a skin that fits better than mine.
Recently I listened to a story about contemplating death as a way to make you appreciate life. As I started to contemplate death I thought of all the beings that I once was, and all the beings that got detached from me as I moved through the world.
All those beings, a part of a past that is now gone into the depths of the Earth, where death becomes substance for rebirth.
After trying on your new skin, come back to meet me. Come back so we can try our new textures, so we can try and see if the sun touches us in any way differently. Come back and we celebrate skin-life together.
My skin dies every second.
Every second that it dies, I am reborn.
Right now I see you, although it's dark.
I see you although everything is blurry and I cannot distinguish you from everything around you.
I always loved to wander, but I never knew I could wander like this.
In every path I enter there is no track to follow, and so we need to create our own. What we didn't know is that every track brings us to the exact same place.
I always loved to wander, but I never knew the world would turn into this labyrinth where we always end up in the same place.
Yesterday I found a gift laying here. It was not for me nor for you. It was simply a gift without a note. And so, if it doesn't belong to either of us, we leave it there and continue to wander and build tracks in the dark that lead to the same place, where the same gift is waiting for someone who is not us..
You and I have swam inside the soil, made it all moist, got rid of our skins. We have bled and sweat ourselves out. We have found ways to survive.
You and I have found this space of many spaces.
Our limbs, now connected, travel beyond our bodies and reach out into all those different directions where we see there is room to grow.
There is so much room to grow.
Together we find our eyes no longer afraid of the dark. Darkness becomes pathway to follow, space to be inhabited, landscape to wander in.
myself from you
I would like to make the materials for this research available for all who are interested in it. Therefore, I created a channel on are.na, where you will find references, texts, images, publications, and other materials that in some way root back to this research.
Feel free to follow the channel and make as many branches/connections as your brain allows.
Sharing gratitude to all of those who were in some way involved in the development of this work.
Special thanks to:
Alice Nogueira, Anna Lublina, Dario Bardam, Elena Light, Gry Tringskog, Laura Stellaci, Lisa Horvath, Lu Chierigati, Mara Kirschberg, Rose Beermann, Aleksandar Georgiev, Rúbia Vaz, and Arthur Murtinho.
Jaçanã is one of the indigenous names of this plant.
In Portuguese, one would call it Vitória-Régia.
Inside my lungs there is a forest made of green leaves and small animals I had never seen before. But outside my lungs there is nothing but air.
I expand my entire self to gather all elements of the outside, to put them all inside of me. Then I realize you are there.
The plants in the drawings above are unique to the Amazon Forest, having great cultural and economic value to the state of Pará, in the North of Brazil.
By the end of 2020, official Brazilian records registered 103.161 forest fires that year, which devastated 30% of the Amazon's biome. The records also show 11.088 sq km of deforestation in this region, a number 70% higher than in the previous decade.
These numbers stand for death and/or loss of home for countless wild animals, plant and fungi species, and people who live in the surroundings.
For most of the world, this catastrophe represents a loss of natural resources that should be preserved for future generations on this planet. But for the people that inhabit this land, the forest represents not only a space for living, eating, and working, but also a place of symbols, myths, spirituality, and culture.
Losing the forest is much more than losing a resource, it is a loss of one's own subjectivity, a loss of a home.
About the plants
The drawings presented on this website were made from the understanding of the biology of plants, together with the understanding of their myths.
It is impossible to separate one from the other.
This website works as the performative archive for a research on the body as a means of connecting humans to the world around us.
The materials presented here are a study on the choreographic system of roots in the forest, how they grow, communicate, and develop under the soil.
At the same time, this is a study on the human, on the multiple possibilities through which we can grow, communicate, and develop above the soil, in the airy environment we inhabit.
Here, the act of spreading roots (enraizar) is perceived as a process for opening paths for movement, activating tactile senses, and observing the world through multiple possibilities of reality.
Spreading roots through the body is a research on how to cohabit a space with all the beings inside it.
The materials you will find here are the translation of a physical exploration into drawing, text, and video.
About the artist
This work was made by Ana Clara Montenegro (she/her), dance artist, teacher, and performer working in between Brazil and Germany.
Her work is centered on the moving body and is usually in relation to environmental and feminist studies.
Forest fires in the Amazon / 2020
This work was made in the frame of Rough Proposals Festival 2021, in collaboration with Kunstlerhaus Mousonturm and Tanz Plattform Rhein-Main