The idea of personal transformation, is a response to the many legal challenges we face to represent legally nature: in a court room is needed a “guardian” to speak in behalf of nature as a legal entity, as a similar status is applied legally to the guardian of an orphan. As challenging as it may, clearly to be the spokesperson of nature, a transformation of the individual is needed. The embodiment of humans as nature can only be felt deeply if we understand and reclaim the notions of ‘indigeneity’, and reinterpret cultural archetypes in a european context.
The journey has begun in my travels through the amazon while collecting evidences to enrich the presentation of the crimes for our future speculative court. The understanding that there is a deeper meaning of this travel came afterwards, when I was back in Belgium, and realize that we still don’t know how to best represent nature in a court. yet, the understanding that we are a hybrid form of nature vs culture, as result of capitalistic colonization, is somehow the error of human nature that I’m trying to explore.
The acknowledge of deeper engagement to be one in nature, was an outcome of the inspiring talks I had with the wise people I encounter in my journey. I remember water fighter from Standing Rock telling me “Learn your history”. Yes, I don’t know much about my own history, which land I belong to and if being from Portugal makes me an indigenous from portuguese land. Where do I stand a citizen of this planet? Where did I lost somehow as an indigenous of this planet my obligations to protect my land?
The transformative process, started when I decide to experience the ecosystem differently, and went on a journey to collect stories through individual conversations with victims of environmental crimes, nature-protectors, activists, lawyers and spiritual leaders. Among them, Sarayaku (EQ), Lago Agrio(EQ) and Sioux, Standing Rock (US) communities.
To honour the wisdom, which was given to me, I decide to engage a natural embodiment as a guardian of nature, a future “law bearer”. The documentation process started in june 2017 during the summer solstice.
I see this year, as a durational transformative process in which I imagine a universe of archaic rites, an embodiment and self-acknowledgment of Gaia as a body with its own metabolism.
I envision this year of rituals in which I use repetition while focusing on daily life habits to decolonize the self and to give up existing patterns forced by capitalism society. And as well using the metaphor or the metabolism of nature, I devise a cycle of protecting and revolting, and empowering of the self through self-acknowledgment of the elements earth, fire, water, air.
This transformation is being documented in a diary which will be the basis for the script, and serve as the main structure for the performance.
Referring to James Lovelock, is not new in my work, however, the combination of his scientific approach, and notions of Gaia Hypothesis as a body with a metabolism and the notions of Gaia as non-anthropomorphic deity, cosmically uncontrollable and unpredictable, are somehow the relation to climate change. The personification of nature is an archive of embodiments processed by different exercises of (re)conciliation, (re)animation of nature. Through the use of performative rituals, animistic experiences I create rites of solidarity and equality with the four elements: Earth, Water , Air, Fire. In other words, to decolonize the self, we must go beyond the “imagined disaffection”, we need to understand the sublimity of nature and search for the quality of greatness beyond human eye. As in the same way Michel Serres, proposes a contract with nature, when he asks ”what language do things of the world speak, that might come to an understanding with them, contractually?
The transformation works as well as methodology to involve the main actress Anna Mendelssohn to experience the same type of exercises I indulge my self to become the representative of nature.Through out the year, we will also exchange and listen to each others voice and synchronized our intentions.
At the same time, the practiced rituals will be accessible to anyone who would envision this transformation as an embodiment to be one with Nature. The idea is that the process can be an inspiring and able to be repeated by anyone.
The photographs are a documentation of specific moments of my transformation journey, and it is speaking by it self.