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Homo Spatium in San Agustin

CONCEPT > Dario La Stella, Valentina Solinas
PRODUCTION > Senza Confini Di Pelle
COLLABORACTION > LASA (Laboratorio artistico de San Agustin, Havana, Cuba), Ricerca_X, University of Turin, Piemonte dal Vivo, Festival Architettura in Città

The Homo Spatium project is hosted by LASA (Laboratorio artistico de San Agustin, Havana, Cuba) in the frame of the artistic residency Sesiones Publicas where the artists are stimulated to elaborate their work in relaltion with the neighborhood of San Agustin and to create a public opera.

DIARY OF A RESEARCH (into the communist castrist neocapitalism)

20/08/2017 - Sunday

Yesterday I left Turin, slept in airport the day before. Transfer to Amsterdam. Fly to Havana. Waiting in airport on arrival for the hold baggage. I already think that I have to buy back all my stuff. At the exit there is Bladimiro who wait me with my name written on a paper sheet. The humidity is suffocating. We get on a Palio, it's very used and dirty. We go to the home of Candelario and Aurelie, they have two little children. They live over LASA. Candelario speak to me about his project named "Wasa" for Sesiones Publicas. Then they take me at the residency: Villa Carmen. Little houses with rooms and private toilets, in a little park. In my room the air conditioner is broken, in the toilet there ins't water. Bladimiro has coked two quiche, a salad and a cake. I eat with other artists in the common lunchroom. Then I go to sleep destroyed. I wake up in the night because there isn't air. I open the window and I light a mosquito coil. I sleep bad but I sleep.

21/08/2017 - Monday

I wake up in the morning and I go to have breakfast: two fried eggs, two pieces of bread and a coffee (this will be the breakfast for all the residency period). In the quiet sleepless night I had an idea. To put some photos of the street enlargements at the corners of the crossroads. Or anyway, to create an emotive map with clues scattered around. With a truck we go to Lasa where I meet Yamelis that will be my informer, my guide, my angel. She lived 10 years in Trento (Italy) where she was married with an italian. I meet Danay and Alexis, two collaborators of Lasa. Visit of the negihborhood with everybody. Lunch at Lasa, change money. Visit of the spaces where is possible to play the performance. We wait the participants for the workshop, nobody arrive, the rain blocks everybody in the house. We think about possible solutions for the performance. Dinner at Lasa. Came back to Villa Carmen. Beer, sleep.

22/08/2017 - Tuesday

No water in the toilet of the room. Today I speak with Aurelie to understand how we can do. In the morning many interviews to the pariticipants at workshop. It's wonderful to go to the people's homes. We are elaborating the project in progress, with little steps. Yamelis is very helpful and collaborative. In the afternoon they are arrived some guys at Lasa interested in the project, they are enthusiatic. For their Lasa is one of the few reasons to remain in this quarter. In the evening dinner to Candelario's house. He has coked three different type of meat: cacao, tamarind and simple. Between rhum, humidity and tiredness I came back to Villa Carmen distroyed.

23/08/2017 - Wednesday

In the morning presentation about the Maslow figure by a psychology professor of the Havana University. Then short comments and speechs of the artists about thier work and Maslow. After lunch with Yamelis we go to have a look of the spaces where we play the performance: we have to find a way to project the images from above. From a top roof of a building it seems possible. In the other square it will be more complex, it will be necessary to use a scaffold. In the afternoon rehearsal of the game with colombian artists, Mariangela and Alejandro: it's a table reduce scale reproduction of what they will do in big dimensions in the square. Then workshop with the guys. Difficult to enter in relation, great desire to participate but less possibility to work with the map in abstract way. After, presentation of our work to other artists. Dinner at Lasa and after we go to try the beamer from the roof. It seems to work.

24/08/2017 - Thursday

In the morning site inspection with Aurelie in the square where we play the performance. Then alone I pick photos around and talk with some people. They are curious to know what I do, from where I came. It seems that every cuban has a friend, a relativ, an acquaintance who has been or is in Italy. A man explain to me the difficulty of the Periodo Especial and he describes to me all the critical issues of the Castro system. Then, at the end, almost in silence, he says that in the past years he wasn't so free to speak like now. Some guys play with big crabs. Change money. I came back to Lasa and speak with Alexander while he's drawing amazing perspectives of the neighborhood. He asks to me if he can do something for the performance, I answer to him that I would like to insert thier drawings in the projections. I meet another girl interested to participate at the performance. I go to do a new site inspection in the second square destined for the public presentation. Just I go out I meet an old man who says he worked at Fiat in Turin in the 60. He's happy and incredulous that I'm from Turin. He says to me that he has a friend who lives in Pietro Micca street. Then we say goodbye, he leaves me his home address. Before reaching the square I meet a woman who stops me and starts to tell me her life and the poverty condition in which most cuban are forced to live. She has with her the 4 years old daughter, she hasn't money to pay the dentist, the daughter shows to me the mouth with black teeth. She says to me that she hasn't money neither to buy for her the slippers. Then she insists and take me to her house to show me the conditions in which they live and maybe I can do a documentary and with found money I can help them, she says. She presents me her family and her neighbour. When finally I arrive in the square a girl stops me and asks me some questions. I come to know that is the most "hot" zone of the neighborhood. Where they gamble on the street. I buy two bananas that they want give away to me, I came back to Lasa, I buy an avocado. The guys arrive and we work on the map and on the questions of the interview. Then in the evening we rehearsal the actions of view points. I came back to Villa Carmen and I drink 4 beers with Mariangela, Alejandro and Marcelo. We laugh and I listen the point of view about the cuban language and habit by two colombian and a mexican: the great difference between their nations and Cuba is the public security. Cuba it seems, from this point of view, a paradise in the Lantin America context, a unique and isolated case with all its contradditions. For the language, the cuban speak the spanish cutting off the final letter of the words. It's all squeezed and speed, they eat many letters in a sentence, is it a poverty voracity?

25/08/2017 - Friday

Morning at Lasa, technical briefing. I work on video for the performance. We are in alert for the hurricane Irma. We make a briefing to decide if to postpone the two days of public presentation to the next week or to make all in one day tomorrow with the permission of the hurricane. Some of artists must to leave and in the case of we postpone to the next week they will not be there and then it's not sure that Irma the next week doesn't decide to stay nearby. At the end we postpone all to tomorrow. For me it's better: I have much work to do on video and I would not have finished in time for this evening and the next week I have planned visit in the center of Havana and some days around Cuba. I finish to edit some images, I repeat the actions with the guys and we prepare the interview. The performance expects a video projection from above that covers a portion of closed street of 6 x 3 meters about. The life narration of a workshop pariticipant is inserted between the flux of different videos through a classical interview device. To break this rhythm there is the choreographic action of the guys that act an improvisation scheme named view points. All the material (videos, photos, texts, actions) is born by the inhabitant interviews during the workshop. The focus of the invertviews was the sense of belonging and identity in relation to the neighborhood of San Agustin. I came back to Villa Carmen.

26/08/2017 - Saturday

Morning: I prepare the total video assembling the different videos, the dark spaces for the live narration, the view points and the final dance. Total length: 24'. Afternoon: rehearsal with the guys in the steet where we will perform. In the evening, when we come back, I realize that the choised space is too much lighted and we must change location in the last moment, we have to shift the set in the next street where Canderlario will present his project "Wasa" with a video projection on a screen. The availability of Aurelie, Candelario and all the staff of Lasa (in total more than 30 people) is extraordinary and uncommon. They are ready to any situation, they want to do and do it well. Few words, many facts. There are some technical problems for the shifting and we have few available time, but their calm and thier professionalism allow that everything takes place with little apprehension: work in progress and positive thinking. The guys are ready and they seem quiet. We looking for the right place to set the interview scene. Quick decisions, functional choises, aesthetic compromises. It will be a composition that it will create itself during the process of its flowing, we are a whole on move: sounds, lights, words, images, bodies. We didn't have the possibilty to rehearsal before the ensamble, but only the idea to use a defined track: the video who scans the time. We haven't the possibility to use a control desk neither: the video will flow without stopping inexorabily. The technical problems enlarge the waiting, there is a problem with a cable that doesn't work, there is a little bit tension on air, but nobody is really worried. We stat 1 hour in late. In the hurry I didn't see that the projection is upside down in relation of the space where the audience is located. The video begin and everything starts to flow, too much fast, I realize that the single videos are too much short, however a huge emotion invades my soul looking the aesthetic effect of the images on the floor. During the first interview the audio has some problem, the microphones don't work well. We change them in the pause between the videos. The guys enter to break the video-narration sequence and something changes in the air. Now the time slow down even if the music increases the rhythm and the actions grow in intensity. They were excellent, in three days they have understand the ludic dimension in a rigid scheme. As soon as they go out and the next video starts a loving appaluse of the audience underlines the deep empathy generated. We are almost at the end and after the last interview the guys invite the audience to enter in the scene to conclude with a collective dance the lived experience. At the end everything is gone, also to make do, don't lose hope, to remain united, to believe it, is it part of the cuban culture. Some congratulations arrive by collegues, we get on truck to Villa Carmen where we celebrate the end of work drinking beer.