a jump away?
Biennale of MercosulWhat if the moon were just a jump away?
One of the major contributions of the Rio Grande do Sul region was the creation of the now-famed public policy known as Presupuesto Participativo ( Participative Budgeting), where a certain percentage of state tax-income is administered directly by its citizens.
This new work takes as departing point acquisition of land on the Moon, and invites citizens from Porto Alegre to engage in collectively imagining how the Moon should be urbanized and inhabited. Nobody owns the moon, but its image belongs to us all, and is available, without exceptions, to anyone. Still, we, humans, are outsiders. We can perhaps imagine being there, or we can imagine what we could do there.
In one of his last lectures, Foucault proposes to consider truth-telling as a specific activity, or as a role. He distinguishes four modes of telling the truth: the prophet (who understands truth as destiny), the sage (who understands truth as being), the teacher-technician (truth as techne) and the parrhesiast (who talks truth in his own name and therefore takes a risk). Parrhesia is a figure of speech described as: to speak candidly or to ask forgiveness for so speaking.
It implies not only freedom of speech, but the obligation to speak the truth for the common good, even at personal risk.
The Brazilian tradition of the repentistas (or trovadores in the South) may be understood as similar to this; improvised poetry duels that one may encounter in the streets, and a form of grassroots poetry where two poets singing verses made up in the moment compete in an argument with rhymed verses meant to provoke yet another response. The words are usually performed to the rhythm of a tambourine, guitar or other instrument. This tradition is borrowed to function as a means of staging the dialogues on the participatory budget.
Loosely mixing the different characters of the parrhesia and the tradition of the repentistas the script based on the many conversations we had during our research on the participatory budget: conversations with participants, critics, policymakers, as well as studies on the subject. The conversations allow the different voices that occur to become manifest as a dispute, as a discursive and imaginative fight set in action and staged as making public space, in order to take space and time to
open up a space in which different and oppositional ideas can assemble in dialogue...and from there they may continue to develop and become effective as they disperse.
Bik Van der Pol developed a script based on conversations from the research. Togehter with five performers, they developed this script into performances that took place every week on saturdays and sundays at 3 pm in public squares in the city of Porto Alegre.
The publication What if the moon were just a jump away?, published in 2014 by Bik Van der Pol in collaboration with Van Eyck Academie, is also based on the script from the conversations from the research, which for this has been (re-) composed and re-organized by Bik Van der Pol and editor Rachel O'Reilly, and designed by DongYoung Lee.