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“A premise: silence, a piece of advice: be generous with the light, the reassurance: we don’t want to frighten them. An order: follow me… “. Gerard Ortín – Intravia.
And they find themselves walking in silence, in disciplined single file –it couldn´t be any other way, the lack of path wouldn´t allow it -, they advance through the woods, docilely, allowing themselves to be led by a few strangers. In front, setting the example, the head of the pack; there are a few more guiding adults who watch over the offspring; it would be hard to say who is the child of whom in this darkness –the moon has not yet risen-, but it doesn´t matter, everyone takes care of everybody else, that they don´t get lost, escape, or fall headlong. Only a little, a little feeling of being lost, they don´t know where they are, tumbling over, slipping with every false step in the darkness, but only a little, because they know that it’s not going to be frightening. It is the only way to discover the secret places of the wild boar, to see only what they see, to feel what they feel, the smell of the moss, the touch of the damp bark of the pine trees, the mud that slips underfoot. And the silence.
In the silence one hears that Collserola is an urban wood, very urban, with the animal ears hearing all the indications of the human presence on the threshold of the woods, in the proximity of the road, the cars, the voices, the airplanes that fly over a dense sky, dogs, hens…On reaching the road, in the darkness, the cars are like flares, it’s as if they are the obscure protagonists of a film, that has left them abandoned on the dark curve of an unknown road. Imagine a wild boar with her multitude of scared piglets, “cross quickly in threes, when I tell you to!”.
This isn’t a bucolic nature, it is far from the romanticism describing the pure and the wild of nature, by entering (-intra) its very nucleus, one reaches that point where you can find what you were looking for, as well as what you would rather not have known. Intravia goes inward, a de-romanticising being implicit in the act of going in, and encountering the limit between the natural and the constructed; as the idea of nature is also constructed, even if it is in the dark.
The proposal’s power of attraction is amazing, gathering, on an icy Saturday night in December, some 15 people predisposed to drag themselves through the damp and dark trails of Collserola, even though they have been repeatedly warned that it will be very cold, that at night the temperature drops to zero and that good shoes and coats are required. Yet everyone appears punctually at the appointment. Curiosity is greater than the cold.
Making the experience out of the journey and the work out of the experience. To participate, in this case, is to live it, to participate bodily, with cold feet and a wet bum, from slipping and falling. Invoking the body instead of the intellect, allowing the humidity and darkness to resound in a de-romanticised, performed, intervened, almost constructed, nature.
The cold, the mud, the darkness, the silence, even the tumbles could be part of the anti-romantic mise-en-scene, forming part of the ritual that Gerard Ortín proposes in his proposal for BCN producción 2012. Ortín and his crew act from a distance, their relationship with the “guests” is cool and distant. The manner with which they give instructions for the rest of the way, is configured by a few basic rules that are not subject to appeal, they say ‘silence’ and that is what they expect from us, silent bodies. We submit to the rules as if led through the jungle by a guerrilla group. But the rules, clear and concise liberate us, as we know what we have to do and we do it, enjoying the spectacle. The act of walking in silence, eliminating any possible trace of a leisurely stroll, grants it the quality of a ritual.
Gerard Ortín is participating in the project A PLACE NO CARS GO by Quim Packard, part of which is being presented at the A*DESK space from Tuesday 11/12/12 at 19:00., until 15/12/12. For more information: http://www.a-desk.org/spip/spip.php?article1626