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Bestiaire of Tonguelets
2017 / 2018 (in progress)
film, installation, live work,
sound pieces, scores

Pernod Ricard Fellowship 2017
Villa Vassilieff, Paris

Project presentation 

During the first part of her res­i­dency in April 2017, Mercedes devel­oped a research into sev­eral artistic fig­ures and tra­jec­to­ries, through meet­ings with art his­to­rians and critics, visits to museums and archive, and long strolls through the city and its under­ground — which she per­ceived as a place of col­lec­tive resis­tance, where bodies per­form dif­fer­ently from over­ground. She wrote a diary, hells, smells & shame, which served both as a draft script. 

During the second part of her res­i­dency in January & February 2018, Mercedes developed a script for a filmed per­for­mance, based on a series of working ses­sions with chore­og­ra­pher Pauline Simon, Jean-Baptiste Veyret-Logerias (per­former and per­for­mance maker, and a prac­ti­tioner of per­cep­tive somatic-psy­choe­d­u­ca­tion), per­former Emmanuelle Lafon, the­o­rist Myriam Suchet and curator Virginie Bobin (Villa Vassilieff) ; as well as on col­lec­tive work­shops with stu­dents from Paris 8 University, Paris 3 – Sorbonne Nouvelle University, and Fondation Maison des Sciences de l’Homme. Additional work­shops took place at Cité Internationale des Arts on February 2 & 3 as part of We Are Not the Number that We Think We Are, a 36-hour event pro­duced by Bétonsalon – Center for Art and Research & Villa Vassilieff.

Mercedes also pro­duced a series of props and « visual mnemonics » in col­lab­o­ra­tion with artist and designer Lucile Sauzet.

Parts of these activ­i­ties were recorded in col­lab­o­ra­tion with film-maker Hélène Harder, with the aim of pro­ducing a film in the course of the year 2018.

About Hells, Smells & Shame

Notes from April 2017

“(…) we feel intox­i­cated. our bodies feel intox­i­cated. our parisian bodies, tourist bodies, home­less bodies, euro­pean bodies, african bodies, for­eign bodies, dig­ital bodies, latino bodies, heteronor­ma­tive bodies, old bodies, soft bodies, hard bodies, young bodies, queer bodies, worked-out bodies, fancy bodies, dirty bodies, sweaty bodies, all these dif­ferent and indi­vidual bodies feel intox­i­cated. we start to vibrate. maybe not all of them do, but i want to imagine that all of them do. and they do. all kinds of dif­ferent bodies down here are being shaken at the same time.”

“about hell, smells & shame is a diary that I wrote during the first part of my res­i­dency at Villa Vassilieff in April 2017. The diary addresses dif­ferent thoughts related to the body and affects, the senses and the under­ground as a place for resis­tance. Referencing the work by Argentine-French per­for­mance artist Lea Lublin, the series of enig­matic tapestries La dame à la licorne, the lit­erary aes­thetics of the Neobarroso Rioplatense, Chilean reg­gaeton, imag­i­nary char­ac­ters and vagabonds from the infra-world, and terms such as anthro­pophagic sub­jec­tivity and auto-his­to­rias – coined by Suely Rolnik and Gloria Anzaldúa respec­tively -, the pro­ject unfolds during the second part of the res­i­dency -in January and February 2018- in a group of works that develops in dif­ferent stages. The dif­ferent stages include a per­for­mance, a series of scripts, video/s and sound pieces. First, the diary is a starting point for making the scripts that accom­pa­nied by images and sym­bols, will become spa­tial mod­ules or props for the per­for­mance, as well as ayuda-memo­rias (or visual mnemonics) for the chore­og­raphy and the dra­maturgy of the work. Second, the scripts and per­for­mance will inform the devel­op­ment of the rest of the works, the video/s and sound pieces, to be pro­duced in a later stage. A group of col­lab­o­ra­tors including a chore­og­ra­pher, a vocalist, a video-editor and per­for­mance artists will also be part of the pro­cess.”

Bestiaire of Tonguelets is part of the exhibition A Fleshly School of Poetry curated by Daniela Brunand and Christain Falsnaes at D21 Kunstraum Leipzig. 12 April – 21 May, 2018. For more information please visit this link.

For more information on this project