Monday 27 May 2013

Setting the table

Netherlands Architecture Institute (Photo: Maria Vlachou)
How complicated can it be to set a table for a meal? Probably more than you think and not for the reasons you might think. A few years ago I visited the Netherlands Architecture Institute in Rotterdam and one of the ‘installations’ particularly drew my attention. A table was set for a meal and visitors were informed that the mayor had invited for lunch people who lived in the city but were born in other countries (half of Rotterdam´s population belongs to an immigrant community). Setting the table meant that a number of cultural issues had to be taken into consideration. “Sharing food with strangers”, one read on a panel, “can be as complicated as living together in a multicultural city.” Sitting around a table for a meal, as such; men and women together; sharing food with people from other religions; cooking for people with different dietary requirements; these were all issues the hosts had to think about. I was left thinking how rich, and possibly also transformative, this simple exprerience of having a meal together would be for those directly involved, but also for those following the event. How many things one can learn about the ‘other’ just by accepting this invitation, by being together, by being introduced to the ‘other’.  How many things one can learn when the opportunity is given and taken.

Netherlands Architecture Institute (Photo: Maria Vlachou)
Gender, colour, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, physical and mental or financial capacities, are just some of the characterirstics that make another human being the ‘other’. First we see the characteriristic, after (and not always) the actual human being. They constitute barriers which, allied to ignorance, may cause detachment, incomprehension, fear, discomfort, rage, leading to discrimination or racism.

Last summer, my son and I watched many transmissions of the Paralympic Games. I didn´t want to influence him as to how he should look at the athletes, what he should think or feel. We screamed, we applauded, we celebrated with the winners. Yet, I could feel that he was not totally comfortable. One day he came to me and said: “I feel a bit sad for them.” There, it had come out. I told him that I knew, that some times I felt sad too, but that I would look at them and see how happy and proud they were of their results and the sadness would go away. I told him that they live their lives in a different way, but that it´s not a sad life because of that, it´s just different in some aspects.

Paralympic Games, London 2012 (Image taken from the newspaper The Telegraph; photo Lefteris  Pitarakis /AP)
There was a lot of discussion at the time, in the media and in other informal forums, regarding the effect the transmission of the Paralympic Games would have on the way we all perceive disability. Journalists in different countries referred to the athletes as heroes, to their efforts as superhuman. I kept thinking if this was the right way to portray disabled athletes or if we should look at them as people with different abilities making the same enormous effort to obtain good results as any other athlete; in their way. I believed that this should be exactly the result we should expect from the transmission of the Games in what concerns changing the public´s perceptions. Look at the people behind the disability, not to highlight it and let it define them.

And then, I came across an article entitled Disabled people are notyour inspiration.  Written by S.E. Smith, it made me feel that my thinking was not very far from the thinking of (at least some) disabled people. She wrote about the emotion she felt when watching the opening ceremony and how the whole thing – watching disabled athletes parade, disabled artists perform, asking “those who are able” to stand for the national anthem - made her feel ‘normal’ for a change. At the same time, she expressed her frustration with the fact that disabled athletes where being seen as “amazing”, “moving”, an “inspiration” for others. Quoting another disabled person, she stated: “The whole idea that we’re inspiring is grounded in the ‘assumption that [disabled] people have terrible lives and that it takes some extra kind of pluck or courage to live them.’”

When I started working with disabled people in the cultural sector, my aim when promoting events was to highlight the disability. I believed that that´s what truly differentiated the offer, that´s what would catch people´s attention and curiosity, that´s what would make them feel surprised and impressed and create the wish to attend. In the meantime, I learned two things: that people do feel impressed and amazed, but they tend to consider the offer as of lower artistic quality and they don´t necessarily wish to attend; and that disabled artists don´t wish to be seen firstly as disabled, they wish to be seen as artists.

I was recently invited to participate in a debate regarding disability and the media, organized by Fundação AFID Diferença. People representing associations for the disabled complained of the fact that there is little space for their stories in the media and that usually the media is interested in sad, tragic tales, which catch people´s attention and make them feel sorry (and probably also lucky and relieved that they are not sharing a disabled person´s ‘fate’). Happy, positive, optimistic stories involving disabled people rarely get coverage.

This is true. But at the same time, I am thinking that maybe this is not what should concern us the most. Sharing a good story through the media may, actually, help change people´s perceptions and fight certain prejudices. But will it be as effective as actually providing a space where people can be together, get to see and know each other, talk, share, coexist, interact, acknowledge the difference and not consider it a problem? For me, culture and cultural venues can do exactly that. They can provide a ‘place’ to meet the ‘other’.

When I was working at the Pavilion of Knowledge (at the time when it had a service for people with disabilities, unique in Portugal and a reference also abroad), I know there were visitors that would actually see or come close to disabled people (visitors or members of staff) for the first time. One of the first events I was involved in was the celebration of Helen Keller Day in 2001, where school children that could not see or could neither see nor hear showed other school children, who could both see and hear, that they had their own ways of communication and learning at school.

Desafinado, Grupo Dançando com a Diferença (Photo: Júlio Silva Castro)
Later on, when I worked at Lisbon´s Municipal Theatre, we organized the first sessions with interpretation of theatre plays in Portuguese Sign Language. Both hearing and non-hearing people would sit in the same room and enjoy the same performance. For some, attending a play with interpretation in PSL was an experience they had never had before; others would realize for the first time that there exist deaf people and they can actually go to the theatre; deaf people were pleased to see that they were in the same performance with hearing people, that it was not a ‘special’ session, just for them. Some time later, when we presented performances by Vo´Arte and Grupo Dançando com a Diferença or Inkomati (dis)cord by Boyzie Cekwana and Panaibra Canda in the last alkantara festival, the audience was not ‘warned’ beforehand that there were disabled dancers on stage, they came and found out for themselves. And I believe that many saw the person, the artist, first and were also pleasantly surprised with the quality of the performance.  Nobody needed to tell them a happy story, it was there, in front of them, they could see it and even talk to it.

When actor Morgan Freeman was asked “How can we fight racism”, his answer was short and clear: “Stop talking about it”. When Daniel Barenboim was asked about the impact the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra may have on the peace process between Israel and Palestine, he was quick to clarify: "The Divan is not a love story, and it is not a peace story. It has very flatteringly been described as a project for peace. It isn't. It's not going to bring peace, whether you play well or not so well. The Divan was conceived as a project against ignorance.” A way of fighting ignorance is bringing the people together, give them the chance to get to know each other, their differences and their similarities. The more encounters there are, the more we trust, the more we are willing to learn and understand, the more we respect, the more we acknowledge the richness in diversity. The more we see the person and wish to share a meal; in certain cultures, the ultimate gesture of friendship and hospitality.

Still on this blog:

Monday 20 May 2013

Guest post: "The genuine 'Hungaricum'", by Angéla Hont (Hungary)

The event that definitely marked my first visit to Budapest was the dance-house experience. Seeing people of all ages, but mostly young people, enjoying their Saturday night playing, singing and dancing their folk music was something I had never seen before. It was the energy, the pleasure, the pride, the joy this experience involved that made it truly special. And also the possibility to be part of it, to be taken into the round dance, to try to pick up the steps and enjoy the party in the company of the locals. My friend and colleague Angéla Hont is passionate about her country´s folk culture. As Head of Marketing at the Hungarian Heritage House, she has the possibility to work for the promotion of this valuable heritage, both nationally and internationally (the 2013 Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Wahsington this summer will be celebrating the Hungarian heritage and Angéla will be there). In this guest post she presents the dance-house movement and shares a bit of her passion with us. mv  

Photo: Hungarian Heritage House

I have been in the dance-house movement since the age of 6. It is natural for me that it is part of my professional life and leisure time; it charges me physically and spiritually. I am not the only one to live like this. Thousands of people in Budapest and all over Hungary, as well as in neighboring countries and the whole world (from Australia to South America) share this feeling.

But why could this be important for those who are not part of this subculture? For those who visit Hungary as tourists or come on a business trip? For those who are looking for genuine and unique features while exploring a new country? For those who like to identify a nation with things that are typical only to locals?

Ladies and Gentlemen, because this is Hungary’s unique specialty. All Hungarians can be proud of it and all foreigners can learn it. The dance-house and the resulting dance-house movement is a real Hungaricum.

Talking about Hungary and Hungarians to a foreigner, a number of stereotypes come up, form paprika to the spas, from the Nobel laureates to the view of the Danube with the Parliament, from the goulasch to the puszta, from the poppy-seed bread (mákos guba) to the most beautiful women in the world, from the palinka to the Herend porcelain, from Puskás to Bartók and to Imre Kertész. However, if we are honest to ourselves, we have to admit that, even though we think that these things, lives, and results are outstanding and worth telling the world, none of them is truly unique. Special buildings, food, manufactured goods, beautiful views and people can be found in almost every country; they are just called jalapeño, Grand Canyon, Taj Mahal, Ronaldo, Michelangelo, the Dead Sea or the porcelain of Meissen.

Before explaining why the dance-house is so special, let’s have a short overview of its history for the sake of those not familiar with this unique phenomenon.

The first dance-house was organized in Budapest on 6 May 1972 in the banquet hall of the Book Club on Liszt Ferenc Square, with the contribution of four folk dance ensembles and some professional ethnographers. It might look a rather meager result at first sight, given the multiple layers of our folk culture which were refined during centuries. Yet, it needs to be noted that all this could have not happened without the preceding almost one hundred years: from the first phonograph-recorded folk songs by Béla Vikár (1896), through the world famous oeuvres of Bartók and Kodály, the Gyöngyös Bokréta (Bouquet of Pearls; see here) movement in the 1930’s and 1940’s, to the folk dance research by György Martin and his colleagues. Finally, in the beginning of the 70s, a group of urban youth had the chance to participate in a so-called dance-house in Sic (Romania) and marvel at the special atmosphere of an authentic live music dancing party that is based on improvisation, yet strictly regulated. Wishing to share this experience with their friends, these young men organized the first dance-houses. Having been private events for political reasons at first, dance-houses opened to the public a year later. Since then, anyone could join the dance-houses in Budapest and, within a few years, all over the country. After a decade, the first National Dance-house Festival and Fair was organized (1982) as the parade of folk music, folk dance and handicraft. In order to maintain the high standards and an adequately wide repertory, folk music and dance research increased. Ever since the political changes in 1989, even the most remote villages in the Carpathian Basin can offer the chance to meet elderly residents who did not grow up under the effects of globalization. Folk dance groups boomed, its members spreading in more and more regions. So much so that, by now, dance styles are not only distinguished by regions but by villages or even by their authentic performers.

Folk music education got a huge impetus as well, since dance-houses needed musicians and folk music bands who were able to play the music of several regions all night long. Nowadays, folk music and dance can be learned from elementary school to university level. Dozens of folk music camps offer the possibility to be immersed in the music, handicraft heritage and dances of specific regions (according to the webpage of dance-house Guild, there is a selection of about 60 Hungarian folk art camps available in 2013.) In due course, various institutions and organizations were created all over the country in association to the dance-house movement (e.g. Folk Dance Resource Centre, 1981; Union of Hungarian Folk Art Associations, 1985; “Heritage” Children’s Folk Art Association, 1990). In 2001, the Hungarian Heritage House was founded as the background institution of the Hungarian Ministry of Culture. The community building potential of dance-houses is well proven by the fact that today different generations gather in pubs and cultural centers where Hungarian dance-houses are regularly held, not just in Budapest, but all over Hungary. Moreover, dance-houses are held all over the Carpathian Basin as well as in Japan, USA, Australia, or England.

Before the movement is stigmatized as nationalist, it has to be noted that other ethnic groups living in  Hungary (e.g. Southern Slavs, Greeks, Bulgarians) soon took over this appealing method and started to organize their own dance-houses. Hungarian dance-houses, on the other hand, feature the Hungarian verbunk of Szatmár region, but also ethnic Romanian dances from Méhkerék, Southeastern Hungary, the csángó round dances from Moldova, or Gypsy dances from Nagyecsed.

The dance-house and the dance-house-method built on it – the method of applying rural heritage in the 21th century society – has been a success; other countries have taken over this practice of Hungarian culture and it also served as a model for the Slovak dance-house movement. The Hungarian dance-house method is part of the UNESCO Register of Best Safeguarding Practices of Intangible Cultural Heritage, thus serving as a role model for other nations to preserve their own cultural heritage in a modern world.

Photo: Hungarian heritage House
And what is a dance-house after all? Dance-house is a cultural space where professionals and beginners, older and younger alike have the chance to dance authentic dances to live folk music and to party together in the way of their ancestors, varying steps which were refined from generation to generation, evolved in a strictly regulated folk culture but always shaped to the individual. Those who don’t know these dances should not be afraid as, in a real dance-house, a dance teacher can be found teaching the steps for beginners so that in a short time they will be able to form their own dance from these steps.

Nowadays, when anywhere in the world children are watching the same animation movies, teenagers are adoring the same pop stars, listening to the same hits, young (and less young) women are searching for inspiration in the same fashion magazines and considering the same top models as their ideals, peolpe are reading the same books and watching the same films, it is an especially great achievement that there are some places where youth in jeans are having fun to their own music and dance with their heart.

I wish that if you come to Hungary you can take this experience and feeling home with you!

Angéla Hont works at the Hungarian Heritage House, a governmental cultural institute founded in 2001 with the purpose of cultivating and promoting the folk tradition of the Carpathian Basin. As Head of Marketing and Sales, she is in charge of establishing institutional co-operations, managing a great variety of programmes and marketing activities. She has also assisted in the preparation of press releases, managing public relations, and developing programme policies for Hungarian State Folk Ensemble, as well as the auxiliary activities of the Theatre. She is the Founder and Secretary of the Association of the Hungarian Heritage House’s Circle of Friends. She holds a Master’s degree in International Studies with a diplomacy major from the Corvinus University of Budapest (formerly known as the Budapest University of Economy) and a Master’s degree in Ethnography from the Eötvös Lorand University. At the age of 6, she started dancing in Bihari János Folk Dance Ensemble, one of the highest-ranking non-professional folk dance groups of Hungary.

Monday 13 May 2013

A midcrisis night´s dream?

I like the word ‘campaign’, it transmits to me the feeling of an ongoing effort to promote a cause. I don´t like that much the word ‘manifesto’, I tend to associate it to a momentary action, using big abstract words and doing little after. So, I got very curious the other day when I read a subtitle in a Guardian article explaining that “What Next? campaign aims to promote public investment in the arts by making culture a ‘manifesto issue’” (nothing unusual in this, of course, it´s just my prejudice regarding the two words...).

So the article talked about a movement slowly being created by leaders of arts organisations since 2011. They´ve been meeting every Wednesday (just in London, though) and at the time the article was published, they were getting ready for their first large-scale public event. Their main goals: to get every MP involved in the work of their local arts organisations; to draw in the campaign local councillors, businessmen, school and college directors; to harness the voices of audiences, visitors, members. In the words of Alistair Spalding, artistic director of Sadler's Wells theatre, the long-term aim of What Next? is to "actually get the public to understand the value of culture, so that it becomes a manifesto issue… One of the primary aims, which the arts hasn't yet achieved, is to get the public on our side."

I saw a plan here. One that took time to build, but people (arts leaders) worked on it consistently and with a purpose. I am very interested to see how they are now going to go about meeting their goals, one of which particularly cought my attention: “to harness the voices of audiences, visitors, members”. At a time when the British government is once again aiming to pursue culture´s instrumental values (has any government ever given more money to culture because of its – proven - economic benefits?), the What Next? campaign wants to get people on their side, to harness their voices. But, there´s one issue for me here: What are the people expected to talk about? What is the value of culture the campaigners want to ‘get the public to understand’?

John Holden, in his essay Cultural value and the crisis of legitimacy, puts the essence of all this in just a few words: “The answer to the question ‘why fund culture?’ should be ‘because the public wants it’”. Are we ever going to reach this point? Maybe, if cultural professionals started listening (instead of trying to make people understand) and then got involved in a real debate, concentrating on issues that are important for both sides and speaking a language everyone understands. Most people do appreciate a form of cultural expression and they know why it is important in their lives, they know why they value it, they know why they couldn´t live without it. They also know what makes them feel uncomfortable, what is the kind of attitude that makes them feel excluded or unwelcome, what is not for them, for one reason or another.  So, let´s ask them, instead of trying to impose our views, make them understand or tell them what we think is good for them. Let´s listen and then share with them our views on why and how we think our offer meets their needs. Let´s identify our common ground, work together, campaign for something that we all value.

This makes me, inevitably, think of Portugal. In the last two or three years the cultural sector saw the emergence of a couple of so-called movements, more than one manifestos - the usual big and abstract words -, but no ‘aftermath’. There was no careful building of a campaign, no specific goals were either announced or pursued, no consistent and permanent action undertaken. What we share in public is our frustration or fury for losing public funds; our amazement at the fact that people are not coming to see our top quality performance (“don´t they get it?”); our conviction that they don´t care about culture (or rather the ’right’ culture). Is this a way of making friends...? Is this the way of establishing common ground?

Composer António Pinho Vargas wrote on Facebook one of this days (the post was re-published here) that he never uses the word ‘sustainability’ and he is obliged to hear and read it almost every day. I like to read him and I don´t disagree with the general point of his post. I don´t share his feelings and thoughts, though, regarding the word ‘sustainability’, probably because I don´t understand it the way he does: that everything has to pay for itself. And he was questioning: “Can culture be suatainable?”.

This is not what sustainability means when it comes to the cultural sector. Culture alone will never pay for itself, because it´s not a product that becomes more profitable with time (we need the same number of musicians as in the 19th century to perform Mahler´s symphonies; a concert hall has a specific number of seats and doesn´t grow in order to sell more tickets; etc., etc.). Costs of production and performance keep growing in the cultural sector, while we need to keep the price of tickets at affordable levels. So, our efforts to be sustainable mean that we need to try and fill the always growing gap between expenditure and income (and to depend on one income source is not a good idea, it never was).

This effort has got everything to do with people, the relationship we establish and nurture with society. Sustainability is not about money in the first place; it´s about people. In order to be able to say one day that culture must be funded “because the public wants it”, we still need to work a lot on this relationship. First we need to listen and better understand what people value in their diverse cultural participations.  Following this, our attitude, choices, priorities, the way we speak should unequivocally transmit our wish and will to include them. Our mission should be clear to all, our plans transparent, our choices understandable. And we should be accountable for our actions. This relationship should be about sharing, not imposing. This relationship can only exist because of something we all value.

Still on this blog:
Guest post: "A question of value", by Rebecca Lamoin (Australia)
More readings:
John Holden, Capturing cultural value

John Holden, Culture and Class

Monday 6 May 2013

Guest post: "One can´t make omelets without breaking eggs - Regarding the project Temporary Occupations", by Elisa Santos (Maputo - Mindelo - Lisbon)

I enjoyed very much listening to Elisa Santos talking about the Temporary Occupations. Projects like this one, which bring people together around an idea, which look for new ways, which make things happen ‘despite’, they always draw my attention, they transmit enthusiasm to me, they remind me that a lot, so much indeed, is possible when people want to. But there is a limit and Elisa is determined to remind us of it. There is a limit that the will to do should not surpass; because we have a responsibility and because we owe respect, to the works, to the artists and to the audiences. mv 
On Jaimito´s Facebook, 24th of July Av., Maputo, 2011. A citizen is leaving a comment on artist Azagaia´s installation.  (Photo: Ocupações Temporárias)
It is a fallacy, one frequently used in these times of scarce resources, to assume that it is possible to do without means, crossdressing the argument with epithets of innovation and entrepreneurship. The whole exaltation, more or less naive, more or less politcally adjusted, that it is this “magic” that will save us, is a serious contribution towards disinformation, decapitalization and the implementation of a strategy of mediocrity, in any field. This is my firm conviction. And it is equally firm with regards to any field, but even more in what concerns the artistic and cultural field in particular.  
In 2010 I challenged a group of six Mozambican artists to make an exhibition in different molds than the ones they were used to and as an answer to a pressing issue in the city of Maputo which they themselves were proclaiming: the suffocation felt by artists, caused by the lack of spaces of presentation (the existing ones have a closed and repetitive programming) and of audiences (equally closed and repetitive). This suffocation was not related to the quantity of woks produced, but to the incentives for creation, since the spaces for critique, the opportunities for discussion, for the exchange and contact with new languages, tecniques and issues seemed to bypass the circuit of presentation of the capital of Mozambique.
Meeting with artists for the 2010 edition. (Photo: Ocupações Temporárias)
To make an exhibition, or rather six exhibitions, in two months, with a coordination/production totally unknown to the local agents and possible funders, with a group of artists doing a number of other things that would guarantee their living and without an institution formally promoting it, can it be considered venture without means? It may seem like it, but it´s not. The first “version” of Temporary Occupations  - this is the project name – was discussed in meetings on a esplanade, was produced on coffee shop tables and using free public Wi-Fi; its opening date was set to coincide with the Jo’burg Art Fair, in the (perhaps naive) hope that curators, commissioners, buyers, collectors that would attend the event might become interested in Maputo, just around the corner; Facebook and a blog were the main means of promotion and communication. These were the means available. The artists themselves put their own means at the disposal of the project. The first Occupations had a financial support of 3.000USD. In our final report we accounted for the pro bono contributions (production, design and translation, for example), but we were never able to account for all the means that were made available in order to make the Occupations happen.
In 2011 we wanted to risk again. We thought that it would be easier to raise funds, because we had a file that proved our seriousness and transparency in managing the project, the involvement of the participants and the sustainability of the idea, which did not have as a base a fixed, heavy and expensive structure estructure and that, above all, there was a need, that is, it was not a commitment imposed by a calendar, but an action justified in the city´s artistic and cultural context. All arguments were acknowledged, we were praised and pointed out as an interesting case – both in what concerns the essence of the project and its management -, nevertheless, the financial resources, in particular the funds for international cooperation, are aimed at reinforcing institutions and civil society, where we did not fit because we were not a legal entity, that is, the project was not based on a formal organization, did not correspond with the calendars of funding allocations, did not guarantee its existence for the next year. Even though, we persisted and the subject chosen for the Temporary Occupations 20.11 was Precariousness.  The opening took place on the 11th of September and we had the support of Goethe Institut in Maputo and the Swiss Embassy, in a total of €2000.
View of artist Paulo Kapela´s installation in the streets of Maputo, 2012. (Photo: Ocupações Temporárias)
The conditions for this version of the Occupations were even harder than the previous year´s, nevertheless, it mobilized the artists of 2010 and those of 2011, and once again friends, acquaintances, strangers who had seen us the year before and, once more, there was a lot of investment (also financial) on behalf of those involved. The result was very positive, but, as an international commissioner said, it had reached the limit of what was possible, of what was acceptable. Because there is a limit for the dignity (of the works, of the artists, of the audiences) assessed according to the conditions of presentation, of production and enjoyment of an exhibition.  
In 2012, the Temporary Occupations, under the theme of Foreigners, finally had what one might call “the means”, thanks to the exclusive funding of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, which decided to support the exhibition in Maputo and to propose and promote it in two more countries (Cape Vert and Angola) and also to schedule in 2013, in its head office in Lisbon, a documental exhibition of the whole process. Without these resources, without this support, the Occupations in Maputo wouldn´t have happened, not in the molds they did actually happen, not even in the molds of previous editions. It wouldn´t have been possible to insist on askingalways  for the support of the same people just to prove that we have the capacity to make things happen, when this capacity, although acknowledged in theory, did not get in return the support of those institutions which aim to support this kind of initiatives. Without these means, the Occupations would have terninated in 2011.
All the editions fulfilled the initial objectives: to attract the attention of different audiences that would be confronted with the works in the public space; to confront the artists with new spaces. Although it is not possible to count the number of visitors, the works have undeniably been seen by thousands if people. Another, more specific, audience - that of cultural agents, artists and arts students – also saw the Occupations and there was a lot of conversation, discussions and stands regarding the initiative. To prove this, one may consider the interest expressed regarding the dates and themes of the following edition, the ways to apply, as well as the invitations to talk or write about this initiative.
Although the Temporary Occupations were seen, since their first edition, at distance, from a number of programmers, critics, curators, gallery owners and other artists, we have not managed to gain international notoriety, to draw the attention of new markets, namely the south african one, to give national visibility to the production of contemporary art; these were very big challenges that we wouldn´t be able to reach when the big majority of promotional materials was not translated, there were no catalogues of all the editions, there was not a good technical support or good images of the works, there was not a website or a good archive, allowing to access the information and the documentation of the different exhibitions.
Installation by artist Bento Oliveira at the Porto Grande airport on S.Vicente island, Cape Vert, 2012. (Photo: Ocupações Temporárias)
The great importance of the support received for 2012 and 2013 is exactly the fact that it made available financial and other resources, that made the exhibitions and other actions possible in order to internationalize the artists and to give visibility to a new production stemming from the emergence of an artistic community with new practices, different discourses and other proposals of intervention.  
As I stated in the beginning, the praise of the lack of resources as a potential instigator of creation and production, is false, and it may even become dangerous in what concerns the quality and independence of what is being produced.  The Temporary Occupations would be different with more means, with other menas, but would have never existed, as nothing exists, without means.

The exhibition Temporary Occupations – Documents may be seen at the Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon until May 26. Admission is free.

Elisa Santos was an independent cultural producer until 2002, when she took the post of Director of Production at the Teatro do Campo Alegre in Oporto. She worked in projects of cooperation and development in Angola and Mozambique between 2003 and 2012. She is a consultor in the fields of volunteering and cooperation, maintaining her activity as producer in the cultural field.