Barbara Bridger, Ana Rodic, Noelia Diaz Vicedo, Beatriz Viol, lga Lagun Irini Tzanetoulakou, Georgia Kalogeropoulou & Benedetta Castello
Guest interview by Hari Marini
Guest Post: Spirals (2013 – ongoing) by Hari Marini – PartSuspended
08th October 2019
Spirals: Autoportet (Belgrade 2019)
Spirals (2013 – ongoing) is a poetic journey that crosses geographical borders and unites European female voices in an exchange of languages, cultures, personal narratives and modes of expression. Through the symbol of a spiral, the project explores thresholds, migration, path, nature, home and sense of belonging; the spiral acts as a sign of becoming, transforming and awareness.
The Spirals project employs leftover spaces in Europe where interventions and spatial performative gestures based on the symbol of the spiral are filmed. In Spirals Hari Marini has collaborated with female poets, musicians, videographers and performers and has filmed video-poems in London, Broadstairs, Barcelona, Belgrade, Coventry and Athens. Hari Marini and PartSuspended group seek to articulate the female experience of time, movement, memory, nature and sense of belonging in a poetic and innovative way. The project lets us imagine spaces, time, texts otherwise, and opens a common space for dialogue and sharing. The project consists of a series of performances, exhibitions, workshops, videography, recorded material, music and movement.
Hari Marini in conversation with
Poets: Barbara Bridger, Ana Rodic, Noelia Diaz Vicedo, Beatriz Viol Videographer: Olga Lagun Contralto: Irini Tzanetoulakou Musician: Georgia Kalogeropoulou Performer: Benedetta Castello
Spirals: As If (Coventry 2019)
Hari Marini: At present the Spirals project focuses on European female creators; it is based on the work of artists who identify themselves as women, contemporary poets, performers, musicians, video-makers. In light of socio-political changes (and challenges) in Europe (financial crisis, immigration, displacement, Brexit etc), as well as the international women’s movement in recent times, how do you think that Spirals might open a common space for dialogue, and might be an opportunity for unison and sharing between women and wider public? In what ways do you think Spirals network of women might be able to cross and even challenge borders (geopolitical, cultural, religious) and divisions, and contribute to cultural exchange?
Barbara Bridger: ‘For writing is a practice – a practice in which the author disappears into a process, into a community, into dis-continuities, into a desire for discovery.’ (DuPlessis, 1990)
Spirals provides a focussed community of ‘dis-continuities’ represented by our disparate backgrounds.These are brought together under a ‘desire for discovery’, a wish to engage in dialogue. Spirals’ existence and our participation in it, including our public sharing of our discoveries, is in itself a challenge to those things which potentially separate us or prevent cultural exchange.
Ana Rodic: Poems have an internal rhythm and music. You don’t have to know the language to understand the meaning of the words in order to feel the poem.
Noelia Diaz Vicedo: The project spirals becomes in itself a space for creation and as such, it contains in itself the essence of its purpose: the act of challenging and reshaping borders. However, the linguistic, artistic, musical boundaries transcend the politics of location. Music, words, images, voices they all dissolve the limits between the ‘I’ and ‘we’ in a perpetual oscillating movement between space and time.
Beatriz Viol: I see Spirals as a meeting point, both for the people who are involved in the project and for the artists and the audience. This common space is an interaction where different poetic languages such as poetry, performance, music, video and photography meet and establish a dialogue between them. This opens up a space for community art and creativity which is, in my opinion, a key for people to find points of agreement rather than disagreement, ways to try to understand each other. Art has the power of connecting people despite any differences in their political points of views. Also, it opens up a window which can bring new light and air to unresolved issues. From my point of view, this is the first step towards working together to overcome social and political matters.
Furthermore, to be part of participating in different Spirals events have been for me an exercise of listening and interacting with the rest of the team in order to create something together. Even more, I think this is the best approach when you participate in any kind of social and political group discussion. Everyone has their own ideas, but it is very important to be able to listen to others and to allow yourself to flow with them in order to find connections and create something new together.
Also, I think that a project led and carried out exclusively by women can be very inspiring to other women and people in general. Women have historically been relegated to domestic spaces and have hardly been expected in other social spheres in which they have been secondary characters or even invisible. They have had to follow rules established by men. However, in Spirals women raise their voices in the public space in harmony with the current international women movement.
Olga Lagun: I see Spirals as a collage of different forms of art and different unique experiences of participating women. As using their art ‘tools’ women can talk in abstract, metaphorical language about their lives, dreams, hopes, feelings, visions of themselves and surroundings. The symbiosis not only of art forms which we have in Spirals but also of all women’s stories that they transfer through different art forms create the space, I guess an art space, which doesn’t have any boundaries.
Irini Tzanetoulakou: The first word that comes to mind in relation to Spirals and this question is co-existence. In the project and the performance in particular each personality is accepted and respected in its entity and consequently connected with other personalities as such. Through this co-existence occurs a substantial influence, evolution and sometimes even transformation of the different participants. In simple words what happens is that as I am allowed to be, I allow myself to open in all dimensions and accept others to enter my inner space in a continuous flow of verbal and non-verbal communication. This on stage motif of co-existence could be the base of creating a harmonious-creative environment of exchange and social co-existence.
Georgia Kalogeropoulou: We identify as women, but our experiences – socially, culturally, psychologically – can be very different; and I often wonder, what is the common ground we all share?
The female identity should not be thought of as an essentialist identity; for me it exists in conjunction with the queer identity and it functions as a tool of revolution, fluidity and unity. In its broad sense, the female identity carries a struggle for freedom, because regardless of our differences, one thing is certain: we feel the oppression, and we feel the rage. Also, the female identity carries a powerful spirituality that can transcend the patriarchal constructions of an austere and violent image of divinity that has shaped our social world in the form of guilt and submission. Therefore it is urgent for us to unite in solidarity in this particular historical moment; no matter how privileged or easy our life is, we need to listen to our inner voices and transform our rage into freedom for all – giving also voice and space to those that suffer more.
The Spirals project has brought us together, and we have used words, sounds and images to express our experiences and our dreams. I feel it is a space that can help us develop powerful tools for social change and revolutionary thinking and praxis. But being political does not mean being banned from the sphere of joy; Art can be so much more than ideology. A poem is not a manifesto: it leaves space for imagination and unity instead of division and violence.
It is true that freedom requires energy, planning and thought. It also requires trust and faith in love and what is good in humans; I feel that we need to acknowledge our discontent and rage, and express it as powerfully as we can, without being afraid of the darkness. We can unite in solidarity and work in order to transform rage into creation.
To make art is to be political. The female timespace that is created through the Spirals project can function as a safe, inclusive timespace that gives access to all and helps people come together, share joy and pain, create rituals that ground us while setting us free.
Benedetta Castello: I don’t know if I have the answer to that question yet, but to begin with, I would start by creating opportunities and spaces for exchange and dialogue, and see where it goes from there. For example, I would facilitate Q&A sessions after the shows; or I would start collecting audience responses through feedback forms; I would also use the writing workshops as platforms to address specific issues and questions, opening sharing sessions as part of the workshops. Or even create an online forum.
Spirals: Paths of Her (Broadstairs 2018)
Hari: Spirals video-poems have been filmed in a variety of places in the UK as well as in Spain, Serbia, and Greece. I would be interested to know more about the way that your work/writing/performance/music might be connected with the place you live/visit. How does your work/poetry/performance communicate with people beyond that place? What kind of space does the Spirals project let you imagine? How do you think that space (geographical, urban) can be transformed and be re-imagined through the performative/poetic gesture of Spirals?
Barbara: At the moment the UK is connected to Europe through political, social and economic links. Many (including myself) are struggling to understand why some in our country do not wish that to continue and are fighting to try and ensure that we remain members of our European community.We are distraught and desperate and Spirals has been such a positive counterbalance to this destructive nationalism and to all the forces that try to divide us.
With this in mind, I looked up definitions of the word spiral and these two struck me: 1. a shape made up of curves, each one above or wider than the one before 2. to show a continuous and dramatic increase.
The idea that the spiral pulls any movement that attempts to veer away back into a strong and growing curve is a physical action that echoes that valuable positivity.
Ana: The Spirals project shows, on the one hand, the work of the author. On the other hand, each poem creates a fictional movie in the heads of the audience which is totally imagined, the whole project is based on audience perception – you look and feel… and on the top: you make your own clip in your head and imagine the inner space of the author. You can jump from desert to the crowd street in a second. Poem drives you and you just enjoy the ride.
Noelia: In my case, my poetry is written in a language that does not correspond to the place where the videos and the spirals have been created. However, even though the correspondence between the specific linguistic signs and the space that they name seems to be illogical, in fact it does create the opposite effect. The space acquires a different dimension expanding the limits of its meaning and at the same time the words do seem to challenge this displacement by reconfiguring and reshaping their structure.
Beatriz: So far, my writing has been strongly connected to the concept of place. My first book Lost maps (2012) was written in a time of my life when I felt the need to leave the safe space of my homeland and travel alone and live abroad. The book itself is a kind of travel through the unknown. Sometimes there is a needed to get lost in order to find yourself again. My second book Finding home (2018) was written in the period of time when I actually moved abroad to live in the UK for five years and after this period, I moved back to Barcelona, my homeland. These poems talk about the places, people and experiences that helped me build a new home and develop myself.
In this sense, I think that any person can connect with my writing regardless of their place of residence. Nowadays, different types of migration are more and more common, either these might be voluntarily such as living abroad, commuting between different cities or countries, or they might be forced due to political reasons or war. But even if we do not have to move away from our homeland, most of us are continuously looking for places that make us feel at home, and we try to find ourselves.
I think that the space created by the Spirals project is also a transnational one due to the interaction of different languages, artistic disciplines and settings. When some of the poems that I wrote in Spanish when I was living in the UK were translated by John London into English and I had the chance to perform them in the UK, I had the feeling that those poems were travelling back to their own homeland. I think Spirals project goes beyond borders. It is based on cultural enrichment. It is not just bringing people’s cultures closer, but it shows how they come physically together and interact creatively.
Olga: To be honest, when I am filming I don’t reimagine space or transforming it in my mind. I always try to be as much sensitive to space as I can. As different spaces have different textures, colours, ‘character’/ spirit, energy. And this, in my opinion, helps to bring another layer of the meaning to the performance (video).
Georgia: I often wonder what is the relationship between a space and an event; a place can be haunted by events, and vice versa – events create spaces. A place can become a point of absolute stability, an archimedean point, a stable point from which one can contemplate the universe. Or it can become a space of infinite movement and change, like the sea. Yet I feel that change is much more real than stability; stability seems man made, change seems to be the very essence of the universe.
When I’m in London, I find myself suspended between a socially shared, accelerating, prolific urban timespace and the absolute safety and loneliness of my room, my Plato’s cave. Art and action can happen in both spaces. The words and sounds I imagine in the solitude of my cave are prayers, spells and invocations that only need a small gesture to transcend the barrier of my limited space – that gesture is to share, by any means possible. I often feel that thought and action are sides of the same movement: when a thought is being formed and can be expressed, the passage à l’acte is a matter of time.
I’ve seen through the Spirals project how a space can be energized and glow in transformation as it becomes eventful; the spiral is moving infinitely, while also creating stability by connecting people – bringing them together through meaning, sharing, acting. The spiral creates an instant path that can be energized independently of social, linear time. It feels like opening up a portal: I want Art to be a path of constant revolution, and in Spirals I’ve found real and loving companions.
Irini: The space inhabited by the spiral is enlarged and transformed into a two dimensional space-time ‘centre’ because you don’t have a static part of land anymore but a ‘movement in space’ form. The spiral creates the effect of being always ‘in progress’, awaiting for the next step.
Benedetta: By listening: just coming to the physical environment, and listening to what the space requires, suggests or evokes; listening as well to our responses to the space. This could also include coming up with some exercises to open up pathways to a deeper connection to the space. In other words, to conceive Spirals not as much as a gesture imposed on the space, but as an expression emerging from that space, which then becomes a dialogue.
Spirals: Flamingo (Athens 2018)
Hari: The symbol of the spiral can be found in nature and in a countless ancient and contemporary artefacts, representing often evolution, transformation, rebirth, growth, lifecycles, fertility, cyclical forces and patterns of nature, as well as referencing a movement from internal concepts and the inner self to the outer world and vice-versa. What does the symbol of spiral represent for you? How does the Spirals project might challenge the idea of productive-linear time? How might writing be related to the movement from internal concepts to the outer world and vice-versa?
Barbara: In my research, I have written about writing being a reflexive process.I describe my writing as ’an experiment in reflexivity, a personal enquiry that also seeks to contribute to a wider understanding of the condition and context of contemporary women’s writing.’
I see Spirals as similarly providing an environment where an individual’s writing can collide with the work of others in a process involving translation, re-versioning and re-interpretation. In this particular collective context, Spirals gives each of us an opportunity to see our internal concepts in relation to the work of others and to the wider world.
Ana: It is eternal communication.
Noelia: To me the symbol of the spiral is intimately connected to women as subjects who carry in their own nature the cycle of life. Not only because women biologically bleed for the purpose of reproduction of the human species- this can either happen or not- but also because this event occurs in a repeated pattern incarnated in a specific segment of time. In this sense, women’s experiences of their own individuality and the world are necessary displayed in a reciprocal oscillation. In this sense, the movement of the spiral challenges and renegotiates the traditional concept of reality, which it has been conceived as linear and consecutive.
Beatrice: I see the symbol of spiral very close to the path I follow in life when I am connected to nature, myself and people around me. This path expands to the outer world at the same extend as it goes deep into my inner self. A spiral path is connected also to intuition more than to a mental process, and I think that, in this sense, life and creative processes are very similar. I often start writing a poem from a word, a sentence, an image or an idea that I do not know where it is going to take me. I allow myself to follow it and, many times, it finally takes me to unexpected places. I think this is what writing and art are about; they are about taking both the writer and the reader to new places that touch something inside them.
I think straight lines are too simple to represent anything real and, in addition, can be limiting. There is the capitalist idea that it is always better to know where you are, where you want to go, and how to get there in the fastest and most efficient way. However, this is not what happens in reality. Sometimes it is necessary to be lost in order to find yourself, and this should not be seen as negative. From my point of view, many times questions are better than answers. Good questions are those which lead you to new questions. Letting yourself enough time and space for exploration is essential both in creativity and life.
In the introduction of her book Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit, Jeannette Winterson compares her novel to a spiral as she says its interests are anti-linear. You can read it in spirals because ’As a shape, the spiral is fluid and allows infinite movement. But is it movement backwards or forwards? Is it height or depth (…) I really don’t see the point of reading in straight lines. We don’t think like that and we don’t live like that. Our mental processes are closer to a maze than a motorway, every turning yields another turning, not symmetrical, not obvious, not chaos either. ’ I think spirals allow, then, to explore plenty of possibilities, and then go back to the centre, to find where they connect to each other and yourself.
Olga: For me spiral represents a life path and self-concentration or self-discovery or at least attempt of self-discovery. As when you walk through a spiral shape you get from a wide circle (perspective) to a one small middle point.
Irini: The most familiar form of a spiral is for me the spiral we see in fossils. A beautiful ‘trace’ of life that comes from a very distant past to meet me in the present and continue its journey to the future unchanged in ever changing time. Returning to the past as you travel to the future, altering the external linear time with your internal, non-linear time.
Spiral is the movement of air inside my air-tube on its way to becoming sound and during its miraculous sound formation. While performing it is very difficult to define the starting point of creation, whether it is inside or outside of me. There is a continuous almost tidal movement between an internal process and outer world’s stimuli.
Georgia: The spiral in my mind is a visualisation of how the line and the circle can be combined; the line is the openness, the progression, it reflects the linear time of rationality. The circle is the repetition, the ritual, it is a reflection of perfection but also of finitude.
The line allows us to situate ourselves between past, present and future. It represents directionality, and it posits space in its first dimension.
The circle encloses and describes a two dimensional space and can represent the closure, the limits, but also the perfection of eternity.
For humans, circular time can be heavy, dark, nightmarish; the eternal recurrence of things can be a nightmare, it can induce terror, and make us feel trapped in the human condition. But repetition can be light and joyful too: it is in the essence of celebration, of rituals, of the constant rebirth in nature and in thought.
Regardless of its colour, repetition is above all a condition of time itself. There can be no consciousness without repetition; there can be no meaning without repetition.
The spiral extends timespace towards a third dimension, which is the dimension of depth. This is why the spiral is an image of time:it lets us sense how repetition is never repetition of the same thing, and it materializes movement as the creation of space.
From a theoretical point of view, I feel that lines, circles and patterns are abstractions our imagination uses in order to symbolize – always in a reductive way – the infinite complexity of real cosmic and natural order.
From a personal point of view, I sense in the spiral the vertigo of depth (I could also have said, death). I strive towards the possibility of the ascending spiral that would reverse gravity towards lightness. We feel the heaviness of our bodies pulling us to the ground, and we long for the sky, that’s why we tend to create an axis for our movement. But there are more than two directions; there’s not only going up, or going down. There’s also moving freely, regardless of axes and frames; and music is for me what embodied freedom feels like. The notes, the sounds and the textures are waves, creating and dragging along their own fractals.
The elusive materiality of sound lies in frequencies and oscillations; every time music is being created and perceived an event takes place, a pattern is emerging, a spiral is beginning. And I wish to say to my Spiral companions: let our sounds, and our presence, be events that reverberate infinitely. Let us make space by implosion, by gathering, by coming together. There is not such a thing as insignificant creation. If there is meaning, the propagation of the pattern is spontaneous: a very small scale is the same as a very large scale.
Benedetta: To me, Spirals, as it has emerged in the last presentation, represents evolution, in the sense that we may, at times, find ourselves in what seems a déjà vu, a situation which seems repeating itself, whereas in reality we have moved forward around the spiral; and even if it seems we have already been there, we are not in the same place any more: we may be looking at the same situation from another angle, richer, fuller and wider. Simultaneously, that same moment in evolution has the potential to lose its relationship to linear time, and to come to a place where past and future overlap and merge into PRESENT. At that point, the spiral is transcended, and we have arrived to a centre where the movements outward and inward have always been still and beyond space and time. In this way, the spiral becomes a symbol of movement and stillness, time and timeless, space and spaceless.
Spirals: Tracks for Finding Home (Barcelona 2018)
Hari: Given that Spirals is a multidisciplinary project, how has your experience of collaborating with artists from diverse cultural and artistic backgrounds affected your work? How do you think that different elements (performance, poetry, language, music, videos, visual material, movement) function within the project and what kind of dialogue they create with one another? What is their impact on your work? What is the value of sharing?
Barbara: I have always been interested in how other people ‘use/respond to’ my work.I try to produce elements that are as open to interpretation/modification/improvisation as possible. Any opportunity to engage in a process where I may learn something excites me because it can stimulate new ideas and work.I increasingly value collaboration and particularly with those who work in other disciplines or have other life experiences.
I am not yet absolutely clear about how the various elements operate, as I have not yet been present during a workshop, but I can see from the videos that there are many productive collisions/chance encounters/open ended contexts/opportunities for improvisation. These are methods and processes that I’m familiar with and value for their productive possibilities.
Ana: Sharing thoughts and artwork is the point of human existence.
Noelia: The value and the level of sharing in this project for me are unprecedented. The poetic projects I have been undertaken so far have never been so rewarding from such a multidimensional point of view. It has been a most inspiring experience to create in situ with performers, singers, musicians, etc. Words were mingling with other disciplines, hence, expanding, transforming, moving across different layers of sensations (hearing, seeing, touching, moving, etc.). This fragmentation of space has been extremely ground-breaking for me since it has altered and transformed the way in which I used to envision the space of poetry and its praxis.
Beatriz: Collaborating with artists from different backgrounds and disciplines is something I always find very inspirational and enriching. Approaching a concept through written words is very different from doing it through image, music and body movement and by being part of this project I have been inspired by the other artists’ approaches around the same concept. I think that each one of the artists and disciplines involved in the project would not necessarily need the other, as they could work well on its own. However, their interaction is not just the addition of different works, but the creation of a new common art piece. Even though different disciplines interact in this project, I think all of them share that they are very poetic and this is one the main reasons why they go well together.
Irini: I have been almost therapeutically influenced by artists who being so different from me in several aspects (in terms of character, expressive tools, imaginative paths and creative methods, language, ethnical and cultural background), they can act as a trigger for a strong, refreshing and sometimes even shocking motion towards the unknown/undiscovered territory beyond my so far known limits where “young creativity” lies in abundance.
Georgia: My constant interest is Time: what is time, what is to live within time, what is to step outside time? Art can provide answers for all these questions in a way much more direct and immediate than Philosophy – one can say that Philosophy can only sketch the questions that are already exemplified and answered through Art. To make Art is to expose oneself to the unknown; it is to act, and most importantly, to share. The temporal paths that are energised in the Spirals project bring people together in a spirit of trust and community that can only grow bigger and stronger. This is why I am fascinated by the broad scope of the Spirals project; I feel lucky and grateful to have met so many artists from different disciplines that come together to create something real and vibrant. The many different aspects of the project interweave in a creative and unexpected way that gives me infinite space for expression – and I believe that to be in the very essence of Art.
Benedetta: Through music, singing and poetry, I encountered my own performance, which was emerging as a dialogue between my internal content and the other forms. However, it was not just a two way relationship between me and the other forms: it became an encounter where everything was happening on its own accord, in a flow of interweaving elements which were all contributing to the expression of this shared experience with different voices. In addition, the improvised quality of the singing and the music was informing the quality of my action, which I kept intentionally uncharted, by refraining from locking it into a predictable score, apart from a general frame, or wider set container, to hold it in. In other words, through the substantially improvised nature of the work, I experienced a crack into the unseen, as if some sort of invisible force, including the wind, was taking over and moving through me.
Spirals: Genesis (London 2017)
Hari: All poems employed in Spirals project have been recorded in the original language written as well as in English translation (Catalan-English, Spanish-English, Serbian-English, Greek-English). How do different languages work within the Spirals project in your opinion? How has translation affected your poetry, its meaning and the way it is performed, andhow do you think audiences perceive the different languages? What role does music and singing play in relation to spoken words and live performance?
Barbara: I can’t respond to some of this question, because my work is in English and is not translated, however, when working on the text and image designs and when listening to the videos, I was very interested in and enjoyed the move from one language to another.
The rhythms of repetition are part of vocal traditions that I work with in my writing and to hear this repetition/modification of rhythm in response to a shift from one language to another prompts so many questions.
What is conveyed by the way a line is delivered?
What happens when language becomes pure sound?
What do we understand when we don’t understand (exact meaning)?
How are words and sounds shared across languages?I could go on……
Ana: Very nice. First you feel it, then you understand the meaning.
Noelia: I would not be able to provide a precise answer to this question but I am certain that different languages emphasise a sense of unity and globalisation in a very positive sense. Art has the capacity to move beyond geopolitical boundaries precisely because the message goes beyond rationality. We experience art in our brain and our body in a much more intuitive way. That is why people from different political ideologies are able to share admiration for the same painting, piece of music or poem. For me translation is an essential tool. I live in translation myself due to the fact that I write and work in a space different from my mother tongue. In my work, I use translation as part of the creative process because it helps me to investigate into the meaning of words and its connections with culture and history. On a different note, translation does not necessarily mean the transition from one language to another, the fact that my poems have been translated into performing spirals, music, voice and images have proved that the concept behind the poems, the essence of the poetic images can be renegotiated, reshaped and displayed in different forms. This is extremely important for the female subject, since it is a deeper mode to reconfigure the symbolic structure and consequently the interaction between the body and the different languages that provide signification.
Beatriz: A poem is not just words and meaning, it is also the music and the beauty that the sound and rhythm that these words create. Spirals project brings poetry to people in languages that otherwise they would probably have never heard to. So I think the audience can both enjoy at listening the sound of a poem in its original language and, afterwards, listening the poem in English in order to understand its meaning. I think that John London, the translator of my poems, did an excellent job and did not affect much their original meaning and structure, apart from the obvious fact that the poems sound very different depending on the language in which they are said.
Olga: I treat a language in this project not as a tool which brings a meaning but as music. I mostly pay attention to voice timbre, voice rhythm, vocal melody. I rarely think about the meaning of words, I think more about how those words were pronounced. So for me, the changing of a language means the change of a melody (or vocal music).
Irini: The different elements help each other shine. The language is elevated and transformed by the music, the music is fed by the language, the movement is born or reborn through the music and its rhythm is in constant dialogue with the rhythm of the spoken/ sang words.
This ever-changing network of influences makes my work more interesting and fresh and almost forces my safety-inclined ‘part of self’ to give way to a more generous and truly optimistic ‘listening and responding part of self’
Georgia: Each language is the image of a whole world; when two or more languages come together, as in the Spirals project, one can feel how the world of one language can mobilise and illuminate the world of the other. Thinking between the languages, when in a conceptual mode, helps the thinker understand how thought is never independent of its mode of expression. This can create an intermediate space between the languages where the very essence of communication can be valued and appreciated; indeed, philosophy uses words such as pre-comprehension, or hermeneutic circularity to speak of this unexplainable power of language to bind meaning to matter and to function as a vehicle of communication.
What is true for conceptual thought is much more spectacular and radical in poetry, which is idiosyncratic language, touching the sphere of the mystical. I’ve found myself understanding and feeling much more than I can conceptualise when listening to the poems in their original languages, even if I don’t speak the language. And I feel connected and inspired when I hear the poems in a language that I understand; that’s why I feel that seeing and hearing the poets perform their poems in both languages is really powerful.
Music can intensify and materialize words. As Deleuze says, the mind thinks in lines, but the heart is the passionate organ of repetition; poetic words are meant to be repeated, they are meant to be celebrated as events. Music can give the background from where words emerge as forms, but it also speaks its own language. In my view, the plurality of languages in Spirals creates an over-saturated space where the message is one and clear: let us all be present, let us all be free.
Benedetta: Right before the performance, I asked one of the poets to read me the translation of a couple of Spanish poems, so that I could understand their meaning. And if, on one hand, knowing their meaning, helped feeding the movement with images which I could actually relate to, on the other hand, for all the other poems for which I hadn’t been given a translation, it worked just as well, as the resonance of the words, the musicality of the language, the emotional quality of the voice, or the way the poems were delivered, were affecting and informing the movement in a more subconscious way.
Hari: Where do you see the Spirals project going in the future?
Barbara: Onwards and upwards….like a spiral…..
Could we each make a video/read the same one poem in our own language?The poem could be one that we have composed with lines from all our poems so far.We could then edit these sections together to make a multi vocal, many languaged (is this a word?) version.I am thinking of the format used by ‘Playing for Change/Song around the world.’We could also possibly extend this format to others (via an international call out) and in that way produce more poems in more languages.
Ana: Kathmandu, New York…. jumping without the order from one woman poet to another. Without the sign that it is going to end- ever.
Noelia: I envision spirals beyond a diachronic and synchronic future, moving along and across the boundaries of skin.
Beatriz: I think that Spirals project has an enormous potential. Since I started participating in Spirals, the project has been expanding and expanding, like it was a spiral in itself, in ways I would not have expected. I think this is because the great work of our Director Hari Marini and because it is based on the interaction of many different artists and collaborators. Because of that, I like to think that this project will carry on doing the same, growing organically, with no limits and no constrains.
Olga: I see the project as communication between women via aft forms, their exchange of stories, energies, live experience. So as more different stories we will have as much we will enrich each other.
Irini: More around Europe to begin with, there are many places, people, artists, cultures to explore and interact with. Then, why not in other continents, even further away (or not?) in attitudes, cultures and artistic interpretations.
Georgia: I would love to find myself with the Spirals team in one of the magic islands of the Aegean sea, but there are many places and possibilities I cannot yet imagine. I trust that what has started will continue in a joyful and unpredictable way.
Benedetta: Wherever there is a space for them: open spaces, theatres, public spaces, public events, festivals etc.
SPIRALS (2013 – ongoing)
Concept & direction: Hari Marini
Poets: Barbara Bridger, Eirini Margariti (Φλαμίνγκο (Flamingo), Melani 2014), Hari Marini (28 Διαδρομές της/28 Paths of Her, AΚΑΚΙΑ 2019), Ana Rodic, Noelia Diaz Vicedo (Bloody Roots/Arrels Sagnants, London: Francis Boutle Publishers, 2017), Beatriz Viol (Hallar La Casa, Endymion 2018; Los Mapas Perdidos, Diputación Provincial de Soria 2012)
Translators: Clive Boutle, Zvonimir Ivanov, Theo Kominis, John London, Maria Mygdali
Videographers/editors: Maria Douni, Kakia Konstantinaki, Olga Lagun, Eleni Molfeta, Milutin Petrović, Christos Rachiotis, Katerina Rekka, Matthew Williams
Contralto: Irini Tzanetoulakou
Musicians: Maria Chatzipouliou, Georgia Kalogeropoulou, Fotis Karagiannis
Performers: Athina Alexopoulou, Camilla Canocchi, Benedetta Castello, Efi Dementi, Laura Martí Fandos, Elena Mazzon, Iro Michalakakou, Marilena Triantafyllidou
Special thanks: Barcelona Film Commission, Kulturni Centar Beograda, Jules Deering, Niya Be, Alexandra Cianetti, Mireia Chavarria, Sebastian Hicks, BB King, Aina Martínez Martí, Panos Metaxas, George Moustakas, Víctor Martínez Núñez, Sonia Rigola, Natasa Stamatari
Spirals: As Ifpublished in Interim: A Journal of Poetry & Poetics, Volume 36, Issue 3, August 2019
7th International Video Poetry Festival, The Institute [for Experimental Arts], Void Network, Moving Poems, Embros Theatre, (Athens, December 2018) https://theinstitute.info/?p=3252
Bring Your Own Performance, [ SPACE ] – Space Studios (London, July 2018)
Urban Struggles in Mediterranean Cities: The Right to the City and the Common Space, International (Un)Conference, School of Architecture, National Technical University of Athens (Athens, June 2018)
Catalan Literature in English: An International Conference, Centre for Catalan Studies, Queen
Mary University of London, FADS (London, September 2017)
Peopling the Palace(s) Festival, Queen Mary University of London (London, June 2017)
Solidarity NOT Charity curated by The Purple Ladies, Market Peckham (London March 2017)
FLOW Spiral curated by The Saturday Museum (London March 2017)
PartSuspended In 2006, Hari co-founded PartSuspended as a dynamic platform on which to foster performances, installations, writing and collaborations with artists from a variety of disciplines such as performers, visual artists, writers, videographers and musicians. PartSuspended is a multidisciplinary group, whose work seeks fragments, randomness and poetry in contemporary life. www.partsuspended.com
PartSuspended has presented their work to a variety of venues such as DAN24, Spatial Culture Festival, BAZA (Novi Sad); Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space (Prague); BIOS Tesla; National Theatre of Greece – Experimental Stage; Camden People’s Theatre (London); Arcola Theatre (London); Southwark Playhouse (London); Emergency 2013 (Manchester); Siobhan Davies Dance Studio; ]performance space[; ZealousX (Bargehouse, Oxo Tower Wharf); OPEN 2013 (London); Railway Carriage Theatre (Athens); Epi kolono, Vrysaki Fringe Festival (Athens); Invention Theatre Festival (London); DVM Theatre (London); NoGrayInMyDay Gallery (London); QMUL, RHUL, You & Your Work (Bristol).
Hari Marini is an independent writer, performance maker, associate lecturer, and founding member of PartSuspended group. Her writing, practice and research are focused on poetics of spaces, performative architectures and women’s writing. Her bilingual book (Greek-English) entitled 28 Διαδρομές της/28 Paths of Her has been recently published (AΚΑΚΙΑ Publications, September 2019). Also, her work has been published in the academic journals Contemporary Theatre Review, Performance Research, Journal of Greek Media and Culture and Interim: A Journal of Poetry & Poetics. She has presented work in the UK, USA, Greece, Czech Republic, Serbia and Spain. Since 2006, Hari has been delivering workshops both in the UK and Greece and has been teaching performance at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL). She holds a PhD in Performance from QMUL and an MA in Advanced Theatre Practice from Central School of Speech and Drama (London), funded by the Hellenic Scholarships Foundation (IKY). Also, Hari holds a degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Patras.
Ana Rodic (1971) is a Belgrade based writer, scriptwriter and copyrighter. From time to time she flirts with digital and live art.
Barbara Bridger taught Theatre and Performance Writing at Dartington College of Arts between 1990 and 2010 and is currently an independent writer, director and dramaturg. Barbara Bridger’s writing has been widely published, performed and screened. She was Prose Writer of the Year 2002 (Writers Inc.) and has been short- listed for several other awards including Asham and Raymond Carver. At Dartington, Barbara Bridger helped to develop Scripted Media. This explored experimental ap- proaches to script and scripting and her research also focuses on women’s writing and inclusive dramaturgical processes. She is currently dramaturg for companies and individuals operating across a range of performance practices. https://independent.academia.edu/BarbaraBridger
Noèlia Diaz-Vicedo is a poet, academic and translator. She has published her poetry in various magazines and anthologies in Spain and USA. Her collection of poems ‘Bloody Roots/Arrels Sagnants’ in bilingual edition (Catalan-English) is published by Francis Boutle Publishers, 2017. She has performed her poetry around UK and Spain. She has completed her thesis at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) on the poetry of Maria-Mercè Marçal published by MHRA (2014). She combines teaching with research on contemporary women’s poetry and gender studies at QMUL. She is a Fellow at the CCWW (Institute of Modern Languages, University of London) and a Fellow at the Centre for Catalan Studies and the Centre for Poetry at QMUL.
Beatriz Viol (Barcelona, Spain, 1983) is a poet and social anthropologist. She is the author of two poetry collections. Los mapas perdidos (Lost maps, Diputación Provincial de Soria 2012) for which she received the XXVII Gerardo Diego Prize for unpublished poets; and Hallar la casa (Finding home, Endymion 2018) for which she won the Himilce Prize. Her work has been included in the poetry collection El árbol talado que retoña (El Páramo 2009). Beatriz has created the blog “La orilla de los pajaros” in which she hosts poetry in a variety of languages and shares her work. laorilladelospajaros.blogspot.com
Olga Lagun has been working as videographer for several years on a variety of short films, commercials and video art projects. Her work has been selected for London Short Film Festival and Evolution Mallorca International Film Festival.
Irini De Vos-Tzanetoulakou is from Greece and she lives in Antwerp, Belgium. She has a Master’s degree in classical singing from the Utrecht School of the Arts (HKU). She has also obtained a degree in drama (Contemporary Theater School, Athens, Greece), and a Biology Diploma in Patras University, Greece. Irini is a versatile performer who has performed in various performances (opera, theatre, dance theatre) in different countries: Greece, the Netherlands, France, Belgium, Germany, Romania, Egypt and Australia. She often combines her classical singing with theatre and contemporary dance. She also has many years of experience in teaching. Since 2013 she gives singing lessons at conservatories and drama schools in Greece and since September 2017 in music academies in Belgium.
Georgia Kalogeropoulou is a London based researcher, musician and performer. Her academic interests are centered around Psychoanalysis and the Philosophy of time. She is a multi-instrumentalist (playing piano, synthesizers, electric guitar, saxophone, trumpet and traditional Greek instruments), and she performs regularly with numerous bands and artists in London and in Greece. Her research in philosophy draws on her experience as an artist; she explores the notion of time in the crossroads between philosophy and psychoanalysis, and she aims to understand the aesthetic experience as an example of any individuating process.
Benedetta Castello, Italian born, is a versatile performer. She has been training and performing in Italy, New York and London. She has been involved in a variety of projects, ranging from conventional text-based theatre, to devised and physical theatre, site specific performances, and cross disciplinary and multimedia events. She has been actively collaborating with PartSuspended since 2017. She loves being onstage, and she is grateful to all her teachers and co-creators. www.mandy.com/uk/actor/benedetta-castello