Dinis Machado's 'Cyborg Sunday' starts with four people remembering out loud a story which will still happen. The story, about a day in the life of a group of people who live together in harmony, is told through the performers' impressions, their filtered recollections and individual sensibilities. As they strive for accuracy their memories trigger physical sensations that fleet form whilst keeping their intention. Slowly their actions get more fragmented, loosing not only meaning but physical substance. But this is no chaos, no free for all. Instead everything is ultra considerate and as their social masks fall we are guided into an imaginatively rich world, something as personal as it is ephemeral. Even when they try each other's hairs, the more practical and mundane of their actions, this is done not for effect, not for impact, they do it simply because they can do it. They can be each other without ceasing to be themselves, after all reality seems to be the fiction the create and share, they are in control. As the story unfolds, its characters including Dinis himself, cohabit intimately. They sleep, cook and eat, and film themselves having sex while the movement from the performers becomes more and more tenuous so that even direct references, to a hamburger for instance, loose their literal impact, perhaps movements are also being 'unmasked'. The only thing that seems to matter is how the diverse cast remembers and relates to the story, their personal perspective united by an external reference. If the story is the frame of the piece it is the performers who hold everything together through the possible representations that never take place. 'Cyborg Sunday' works like a seductive labyrinth where Ariadne's thread leads one not to the exit but deep inside a dense intangible world.
Cyborg Sunday proposes a fictional happening, on a fictional landscape, in an ambiguous future, far from easily recognisable representations and sci-fi spectacular expectations. How to open the possibilities of representation, as a strategy to open the own possibilities of futures. Far from any pretension of totality, a proposal of a landscape where pleasure is revalidated as a political idea and priority.
What can be a future landscape? What can be a happening in this fictional future, knowing that future is always a fiction in the process of becoming reality? And what and how can be a (human) body there? What can be a proposal for a possible life?
A performance is an invitation to a provisory proposal of a specific operativity. The world is not a stage but a stage is a room to try out, to test and to experiment worlds.
It happens on a fictional Sunday
CYBORG SUNDAY, THE STRANGE SURPRISE THAT IS THE NEW CREATION BY DINIS MACHADO. [Tiago Bartolomeu Costa/Publico]
Cyborg Sunday, by Dinis Machado, is a surprising revelation in between theater and dance where the idea of community appears as a possibility of reconstruction of the intimate gesture.
(...) [Cyborg Sunday,] was developed through more than six months with performers from several countries that answered to the proposal of thinking about the emphatic limits of their own bodies.
It's that intentional strangeness effect that allows Cyborg Sunday to emerge as a possible place for the existence of a community that learns to leave intimacy from the sharing of contradictions and setbacks (...) in an object as delicate as fragile by performers who are asked to be brave and affirmative, and to answer to stimulus through a narrative structured by the relation created in between words and movement. This is a movement - and a structure - full of details about what the body can do in space in a lonely dialogue with other bodies in the same space sharing a common vision.
This is a choreography of space and time, what they say gains an importance that needs reactive bodies. The five bodies build a future memory that imposes a mode of acting over this utopic space departing from a present where they live with closed eyes. They search and need bodies that can be, in the end, able to think and exist besides the physical memory. Bodies that can be, finally, vehicles of transmission and sharing of a memory in process of construction. Effectively, what is more relevant in Cyborg Sunday is this deep desire of questioning form, recognizing that in the tension between movement and discourse, which means, between body and message, the potential for dialogue, is unreconcilable but utopic.
(...) Time and action, exist from the differences they provoke in the body, understanding, though, that these differences can't justify collective alienation. The strength and elegance of Cyborg Sunday comes from the intelligence of knowing how to manipulate the tension created between body and text at the point of transferring it to the physical memory of the own spectator.
The text exists from the mnemonic effort that transforms what is narrative into evocation, and what is intuition into emphatic condition. What is suggested is a mode of making reality exist through a choreographic process of evoking which anticipates the own action. And it's because the action is evoked, that the movement loses its condition of support of the discourse, to be seen - and felt - as a rescue mechanism of the present. Cyborg Sunday, in its hybrid condition in between a present body and an absent discourse, is a work about a deterritorialization of the image and it's meaning, from an emphatization of another reality, constructed from a very well crafted net between utopia and quotidian.
The tasks of remembering that are given to the performers, that travel from the non personal - in a certain way, from the other - to their own discourse - which is like being inhabited by the other - reveals that, in the end, the modes of self fictional narrative construction, that are the core discourse of Dinis Machado, knows how to exist besides an inconsequent rhetoric, in a movement that knows how to be more than a point in space.
DINIS MACHADO IMAGINED A SUNDAY IN A DESERT ISLAND - A FUTURE THAT BECOMES THE PRESENT TODAY IN PORTO. [Ines Nadais/Publico]
Dinis Machado (Porto, 1987) was already not here, in Portugal, when with a systemic crisis and a austerity plan, it became definitely not a good place to be. At distance he thought it could be a good idea to invent another. Cyborg Sunday, is this place: Some kind of desert island in which a community (For example: an artistic community) can create a world from the beginning - and rest on the seventh day.
Dinis Machado didn't arrive to this desert island by chance: working around the questions of utopia he found himself questioning 'this kind of market system in which artistic practices happen and circulate'. This, while at thousands of kilometers of distance, a generation of Portuguese artists continued to see itself forced to leave the country and, in their isolation, unable to 'reconstruct this community, and reconstruct themselves in relation with this community'. Dinis Machado imagined then a summer Sunday, and placed there the persons with whom he crossed professionally. Doing what they did or what he imagined they could do together - from this process resulted a story where it is described, 'in the maximum detail', this day coming from an exceptionally bright future.
This was the first step to 'consubstantiate a space that doesn't exist'. The second was to give it a shape on stage - a shape that is elastic enough to be able to adapt to different groups of performers and construct an utopia as personal as collective. 'I found a strategy: tell the performers this story but never give it to them as a text. The work on this story with the performers was exactly to reconstitute it out of this first listening, as if it would be some kind of fictional memory. Day after day, they try to recuperate this story that I have told them, save it from oblivion. It is not about memorizing it as a text but to make it happen.'
(...) The team of performers had to embody this text from a series of physical parameters defined by Dinis Machado: 'I have built practices that administrate the relations in between this five bodies present on stage, producing movement as some kind of secondary effect. It was about making them feel and manipulate their bodies. Making them conscious of the fact that they are present with each other. And like that a story that is ungraspable and invisible becomes tangible almost touchable', explains the author of Cyborg Sunday.
Far away from this world dominated by the financial laws of capitalism and from the narrative protocol that this laws organize the desert island of Dinis Machado is a place where in a Sunday, as any other, it can be a party day and a day for getting lost, for loneliness and gathering, for personal pursuit or communion, for sex without next morning dilemmas, and for 'forever happy' canonic endings. Resuming, the utopia here in construction, answers to the request on the only slogan of Cyborg Sunday: 'When here is not the place to be, one can always invent another'.
A project by Dinis Machado
performed by Anna Koch (SE), Vicky Malin (UK), Goncalo Ferreira (PT),Nikolas Kasinos (CY/UK) and Isadora Monteiro (PT)
with Pedro Machado (BR/UK) as outside eye
with the development collaboration of Catherine Long (UK)
Developed in residency atImPulsTanz (Vienna), Dance4 (Nottingham),Weld (Stockholm)
Produced by Corp (PT) and Dance4 (UK)
Supported by ImPulsTanz (AT) in the framework of 'Life Long Burning' supported by the Culture 2013-2018 programme of the European Union
Developed with the Grant for the Arts from the Arts Council England (UK)
Supported by Nottingham Trent University (UK)
Administration: Interim kultur (SE)
In collaboration with NEC and Câmara Municipal do Porto (A special version with local performers was produced for the Teatro Municipal do Porto re-opening program Rivoli Já Dança on 22 November 2014)
BARCO / Dinis Machado