The perfect human (2018)

 

Between October 2017 and June 2018, in La rara troupe we reflected on body and affective-sexual diversity, and how they might be intertwined with mental health.

Throughout an extended creative and reflective process the collective participated on an erotic writing workshop with activist and teacher val flores on January 2018. We also screened films such as Love Meetings (1965, P. P. Pasolini), O Amor Natural (1996, Heddy Honigmann), Yes, We Fuck! (2015, Antonio Centeno and Raúl de la Morena), Vivir y otras ficciones (2016, Jo Sol) and The Perfect Human (1967, Jorgen Leth). It is precisely this last film which has been refilmed, scene by scene by La rara troupe to create “The Perfect Human”, an exercise that contains many of the reflections that the group had through this time.

More info here

 

What unusual days (2016)

Throughout April 2016, participants of La rara troupe filmed our daily lives. After the filming days, we met to try and find a common ground into which edit all the footage in a collaborative way. This common ground might be a shared diary or even a rain notepad. We are still looking.

Alfredo Aracil, curator and researcher, wrote the following text after the film presentation on LAAV_16 meetings: What it mean to be normal?:

It is not common for us cultural producers to find spaces where to share our beliefs, which often are far apart from the social reality we are in. Nor it is common to find art collectives that work as such, even though concepts such as author or art work have been called into question since many decades ago. In La rara troupe one can perceive the two most interesting attitudes that can be found in contemporary art. On the one hand, the collective process of their work is an end in itself. The process and the ways of proceeding are as important as what results from them. On the other hand we found their political attitude. This attitude answer the question that ultimately every producer must answer: how to offer models of coexistence more than just reflecting on the ways we can live together. Some texts defined this position as a political-aesthetical one, which would mean a renegotiation of our usual position as producers: that of leading the way in favour of the dominant direction.

Just the title of the session on Thursday the 24th What it means to be normal?  constitutes an invitation to think on which ways we are as different as we are equal to each other. Moreover, this means that we can claim with dignity that we are on our right to enjoy being the other, which surpasses the violence of a language that makes from words such as abnormal or different a powerful tool of mass control. What unusual days works on these concepts of language and uses of it to create a coral narration that does not elude talking about the tougher aspects of mental health. This does not mean that the film falls into a melancholic narrative or even into being political in the easy way. On the contrary, in each scene we can observe vitalism, fascination for the world, an eager to learn, which perfectly represents what it is La rara toupe.

La Rara Sueña (2015)

We built this film around our meetings on the lab after the summer of 2015. We found the topic of dreams as being a good fit to merge all the ideas that each member of the group had been noting over the summer. This notes surrounded topics such as locations, instants or just different situations. In addition of working on the main topic of the film (dreams), we continued with the reading and discussion of different texts as well as with the screenings of film fragments. For this project, it was particularly important the work by Albert Serra. 

One of the texts that we work around of was a piece written by Susana and which would later become the narrative thread that joined the different scenes.

All the locations and situations on each scene were decided by the protagonists on each of them. The only rule that we imposed ourselves was that of the impossibility of naming the word dreams when talking about them.

Coming up next we are going to share a fragment of a text by Marco Tobón1 on the usage of dreams as an ethnographic tool:

… if we were to admit the idea of dreams being a way of acquiring “knowledge as rightful and valuable as that acquired when being awake” (Niño, 2007: 295; Cheniaux, 2006: 171), dreams would be an active way of the ethnographic process. This implies to ask ourselves what we feel, think and live when we are on that side of existence we dedicate to sleeping. As Lichtenberg noted “Our history is the story of the awakened man” (Galinier et al. , 2010: 821) hence that paying attention to dreams related to our research and dreams dreamed by our interlocutor could turn into some sort of ethnography of the night (Galinier et al.- 2010: 835). This may develop not only into a profound discussion with those whom we share that shared reality with, but also into a way of acquiring anthropological information and concerns in itself. In many societies dreaming is instituted in a way that an apparent individualistic experience is seen as a form of communication not only with “other world” but as with other human beings as well. (Perrin, 1990: 11) […]

These references highlight that concepts, cultural practices and dreams are intertwined. Mind and dreams are both affected by cultural experiences at the same time that to share and narrate those dreams  contribute to grow the way in which we feel and think given experiences (Hollan, 2004: 172). Ethnographic practice, to my seeing, does not escape this situation. This is because the dreams that are experienced and revolve around the topic being researched, being those dreams of our own or of our interlocutors, are offering messages and ideas about our own experiences, about the relation with whom we work with, about mutual proceeding, about our intellectual and moral concerns and about the historic reality with which we are faced. 


1 Tobón, M. (2015). Los sueños como instrumentos etnográficos. AIBR, Revista de Antropología Iberoamericana, 10 (03): 331-353. DOI: 10. 11156/aibr. 100303

Fin de Línea (2014)

Fin de línea  is the first project in which we experienced what it is to create in a cooperative way between all the participants to conceptualize, film and edit a collaborative film. This work is the product of a three months period of time in which we extracted the themes of our reading group into our films.

In previous months we had focus our attention on vulnerability, topic extracted from the texts proposed by Esquizo Barcelona and on Letter to His Father (Kafka) proposed by Fernando Colina. This time, and derived form the proposal from various group members, we began to read different texts on anti-psychiatry. In addition we visited Luke Fawler: Common Sense, exhibition held on Fundación Cerezales which included the films All Divided Selves (2011), film on the life of Scottish psychiatrist R.D. Laing and Bogman Palmjaguar (2007), a film portrait of a R.D. Laing’s patient. Given our inspirations and in general all the activities and work that surrounded this project, we can conclude by saying that Fin de Linea is the film in which we approached more directly the matter of mental health and mental suffering.

As a side note, we also started visiting Rafael Martinez del Pozo’s studio in Castro de la Cepeda, where we were looking to experiment with sound and sound recording as well as just leave the museum in search of a different space.