Waiting for Godot to bless me,2014 (ongoing)
Background of the project
Coming from a long journey with “Waiting for Godot” project, Waiting for Godot is an ongoing project in constant changes in order to seek new mediums.From photography to performance to installation and theater, this project since 2012 has continued to metamorphose itself in order to capture the essence of expectation and the feeling of stagnation.
“Waiting for Godot to bless me” performance is another version of this ongoing project, that from 2012 and since now has been treated with diffrents mediums: photography,installation and theater performance.
Waiting for Godot#The traveler, 2012 Photography
Waiting for Godot#the watchman booth, 2015 Installation
Waiting for Godot while waiting for himself, 2016 Theater performance
The context of the performance
This performance was made during a residency program in Morocco (culture vulture art residency), upstream Moussem Sidi Ali Ben Hamdouch – Every year on the anniversary of the prophet Mohammed’s birth, (‘Eid al-Mawlid) many Moroccans take part in pilgrimages to sacred places, saintly tombs, shrines and grottos, and places frequented by ‘junuun,’ those mystical beings from the Qur’an who hold a special place in Moroccan folklore and popular culture. Thousands of pilgrims descend upon Sidi Ali to commemorate Sidi Ali Ben Hamdouch and to delve into the world of the supernatural, the trance, the aura of the junuun, to experience the ritual bath at the spring of Aïsha Ben Hamdoucha and incantations that bring spirits and humans together in remembrance of God. During the rituals and ceremonies that are part of the pilgrimage (Mouseem) in North Morocco.. Popular Sufism is practiced over the 8 day spiritual event that commemorates the birth of the Muslim Prophet, Mohammed.
(This is a link with book list that should help to understand the context: http://culturevulturesfez.org/1803-2/)
Into the ritual
In this project I aim to transform a performance that I made in Morocco during a spiritual event, into a ritual, which I already start to do it by asking artist to reproduce the performance that I did and give me their feedback.
Waiting for Godot to bless me is a response of what I have lived and I have seen during the “moussem “which is an annual ritual that gathers people around “spiritual practices”, a response as an inner practice which have the belief as a common points, a practice that wonders about the beginning of a ritual and when and how these rituals has been invented, in which context or circumstances? I have decided to stop asking these “silly” questions and start to create my own ritual in 2014, I have created a performance which was inspired by this spiritual ritual, the focus was in the main aspects of the ritual which are:
-The Sacrifice -The Offerings –The Trance.
Thus in this project I wish to have a defined start to a ritual, by fixing the time and the space and the circumstances and to spread a beginning of a defined performance and letting the changes affect it, by the different ways of interpretations of how the performance will be reproduced.
I aim to reproduce this same performance in different spaces and times and contexts, and ask people to reproduce it in order to capture the mutations and to follow the traceability of this artistic act.
From an interpretation of a spiritual practice into an artistic practice, this project combines these two worlds and draws a link in between, it will also draw a link between the spaces where the performance will been reproduced.
A process of work and research about beliefs that start from Morocco and has been reproduce in Canada by a visual artist ALEXIS WILLIAMS
What I have done in Morocco as a Moroccan artist in a Moroccan context will have a different context and will show how the context plays an important role in the production of a piece of art, although if this performance will have the possibility of being reproduce by other artists the question that I have started to ask in the beginning of this research will be developed into other questions. What I hardly tried to understand while being a Moroccan and somehow aware about its context bring me to do this performance and to go through it by extending this work to a ritual, extending my questions, and to open gate where I can knock and introduce what is ambiguous for me.
-Dress in fine clothing
-find yourself centered an silent
-Sit in a «white »chair under an open sky
The performance’s place
– Sacrifice: inflate the balloons one by one, by inflating the balloons you are giving a part of you (your breath) to another body which is the balloons and seed the inflated balloon in the ground so they will be autonomous bodies so your breath a part of you exists inside another body
–offerings: «white» balloons and «white » trades attached to «white » small stones
The offerings (white balloons,white stone, white yarn)
–Trance: inflate the balloons one by one until you can‘t do it anymore, until you lose control of your body, you can’t ask him anymore to inflate.
Waiting for Godot to bless me, 2014 as performed the fist time in Moulay Idriss Zarhoune, Fez, Morocco.
Moulay Idriss Zarhoun-2014:My response
A blind side, a white paper, lots of tree dots, lots of exclamations and questions as well, hard to put a point after a sentence, harder to put one sentence is one meaning ,different elements , different connotations , deferent spirits , different vibes, different body languages, different songs ,lyrics ,tunes, variety seems to be not enough to reach the exuberance.I was a white paper, a blind side, a closed mind for these open gates of questions, ready but not steady to start the stage of contemplations and maybe the speculations, LILA after LILA ,I keep watching women well dressed to get out their inner demons, the need of doing my performance become stronger and stronger, I have demons a lots of them I can be well dressed, I can invent my own ritual, I can get in trance , I believe to what I m doing, I believe in art, I believe in my body, and I m aware of the spirit that I belongs to, I can do my own LILA……….Thursday morning getting prepared for my performance my “LILA”( usual name for the trancing nights in these ritual), well dressed(pink Tkchita),my make up on, my offerings ready : white balloons and white trade attached to white small stones; my white chair a green yard near to the grave yard, the spirit is present ,I m in the presence of absence ,not steady but ready ,ready to blow the balloons, ready to put some pieces out of me, ready to put my breath outside my body and inside the balloons body ,ready the do the sacrifice.Ready to seed a breath of life in other land, not steady, I was digging to seed the balloons at the yard in front of me, checking body, goosebumps, I was into the groove of my breath, exhausted to inflate the balloons, I feel my trance coming, I was away from my breath ,my body, my closed mind, I start to cry involuntary, I wasn’t capable of stopping myself, lost my own control, I was away from me…After finishing the performance, I was no more a blind side or a white paper, I was at the same stage of belief with those woman that I saw with a “ suspicious air” trancing before ,I believe in my art and they believe in their ritual.At this journey I was in perpetual state of change, changing weather, changing thoughts, perspectives, riding, interpretations, the variety seems to be not enough to reach the exuberance of these “inner practices”…
Waiting for Godot to bless me, 2015 as performed the seconde time in Moulay Idriss Zarhoune, Fez, Morocco.
Moulay Idriss Zarhoun-2015: My response
One year has passed, after the first ritual, the first visit, All I was thinking about was the comeback, I was talking to every person I know or met about my experience, my ritual, the places, this vibes, the ceremonies. I was like a drug dealer, trying to sell my stories, my addiction.I am no longer a blinded side or a white paper, I am a filled space now and I want more,I no longer watch the ritual with wide-open scary eyes, my vision changed, I was “understanding” sometimes chocked and sometimes not, I was between two stages, the duality this time has extolled the experience.I don’t believe in coincidence, but earlier in this experience they told me during a “Lila “ that I was “Malika”, a female spirit known for her joyful desires and she likes these shades of color! Comes the day of the performance, I invited some people to attend my ritual, I was well dressed, my make up on, with my offerings and my white chair, the camera is on to record and I asked to not film or photograph, I want to be the only holder of the traces of my ritual.In my white chair, on my both sides my offerings, I was feeling joy; I started to blow the first balloon and digging it outside the space of my body.One balloon after another I was feeling Goose bumps; I was connected intimately to these outsiders.The performance lasted like the previous one, but the camera didn’t record the whole ritual, when I get in trance, when the connection with the last balloon became deeper; I wasn’t able to inflate anymore, I was holding the inflated balloon, I couldn’t put the thread around it, I couldn’t move, the balloon was deflating and I was following it, I was leaning in the same rhythm of the “balloon’s breath”.The camera didn’t record these intense moments, but as I said before I don’t believe in coincidence, I think that the unfinished aspect of this work will keep it always ongoing, this work as ritual that will never end, so the technical problem was a sign for me to keep going.
Waiting for Godot to bless me,2015 (dec) as performed the 3 time in Moulay Idriss Zarhoune, Fez, Morocco. (this year the profet’s birthday has come twice during the christian calendar)
Moulay Idriss Zarhoun-2015(dec): My response
The third year, the third time doing the performance, I was felling quite proud of myself because I kept doing it.The performance day, putting my make up on, fixing the thread on the balloons, wearing my dress, I have found a white chair in the guest home and also plate where I put the white balloons that I could have.This time and for the first time, I had someone who was helping me , he is from Moulay Idriss, he is my first and only audience from the village, but once in the grave yard another female were there, she was waiting for someone, she didn’t want to tell us why she was there.We were setting up the performance and the woman stood watching us, I started my ritual, the feeling was different this time, I wasn’t in the depth of my feelings, the balloons were few, so I couldn’t keep going, I didn’t get in trance.This time my Godot came in this woman, after finishing the performance she came to me and she told : “I know why you are doing this, I know, the white balloons are like a bride, we plump her and then we dig her “.My Godot came in this woman who were holding a big bag and was waiting for someone that she didn’t want tell us who.
The performance’s title :
Waiting for Godot to bless me, from Waiting for Godot an absurdist play by Samuel Beckett, in which two characters, Vladimir and Estragon, wait endlessly and in vain for the arrival of someone named Godot.
For this performance and the project in general, the Godot is the impossibility of the expectations to come true, to make achievement of some frivolous activity possible, so no matter how much time are we going to wait this -«extra existent » -I mean other beings or things outside us- will never remove a finger, for me Godot is a metaphor of human error, the Godot is the prejudices that we all use to argue our weakness, waiting a bless of someone or something that will never shows up could be seen as pessimist act but out of it could an act of faith, a blind and devoted, a faith that brings a Godot into our lives without giving us the possibility to see him.
Moulay Bouchta Lakhamar-2017(Sep): My response
Waiting for Godot to bless me,2017 (Aug) as performed the 4 time in Moulay Bouchta lkhamar, Fez, Morocco.
Thursday, 10 th august at 3 pm, 2017.Here am I for the fourth time reproducing my ritual performance , since the last time in Sidi Ali, I have decided to do another moussem, I was feeling fed up with Sidi Ali, I wanted to know more, to see more, to be more challenged and to challenge my performance, to inject some new elements into it.
Thursday, what a coincidence, even though I don’t believe in coincidence, the first time I ‘ve done the performance was Thursday, it is not a well thought date, or much speculated about the connotation of this fourth day of the week, that happens to randomly meet the fourth time of my ritual.
A new Moussem, new places, news faces, new woman to take me through the experience, I had for the 3 past times Fatima, and for MoulayBouchtaMoussem, I’ve had Aicha, the similarities between Fatima and Aicha are striking, they both consider themselves as free, independent and yet powerful in some ways, a freedom that I want to taste by opening myself to new things.
I’ve tried to sacred shower (BIR ALCHIFA/ the healing well), which is an individual bathroom, there was some underwear left, some candles alight, some bottles of Rose Water, I was splashing the water from a bucket that I had to fill from a well. As for my first time I was a bite cheeky, not ready and not steady either, I was just looking around me and wondering about the left underwear, the break up from the things from the past and the present, as these underwear were before the shower, and after the shower new underwear has to be worn, a new way through recovery.
I’ve tried the henna tattoo, I had invented my own motif and asked the henna woman to reproduce the same, but she was so free and so linked to her own habits, so she had made me a tattoo that is a combination of what I asked and what she is used to do.
This time, I had a strange urge to invade myself with the rose water, I wanted to inhale it and smell it all over the place, after four days witnessing the Moulay Bouchta moussem, where I was collecting all the energy and the vibes in order to have the push to reproduce my ritual, the fourth day, the Thursday afternoon was the promised day.
My violet gold caftan on, my make up on, my offerings ready, I went to Sidi Lhsen place, a marabou in the hill, the yard is having a view on all Moulay Bouchta village.
I started my ritual, ready and steady, confidante, happy and proud, I was blowing balloon after another, my trance was jovial one, tears from joy, tears for new things I’ve done during this journey, tears for the “sick” women that are willing to do anything in order to be blessed and to be free, women that were ready to try anything even gunshots near to their feet couldn’t stop them, on the contrary they were treating these gunshots as therapy, I felt so close with my balloons as nothing is orthodox in these practices.
Montreal, Canada, by Alexis Williams, 2014
Waiting for Godot to bless me,2014 as performed by ALEXIS WILLIAMS, Montreal, Canada
ALEXIS WILLIAMS’s response:Montreal-Canada-2014
Dress in fine clothing. Find yourself centered, and silent. Sit in a chair under an open sky. Inhale all the negative feelings around you.The irritation, the fear and anger. Fill the first balloon with all these negative feelings, cleaning them out from inside you. Dig a small hole. Burry the stone and leave the negative feelings there forever.
Fill your lungs with the love of your family and friends. While you breathe this love into the next balloon think of someone who has loved you. Exhale gratitude into the balloon. Visualize that person finding peace and love and success. Plant the stone and leave it there to grow more love.
Fill your lungs with all the encouragement you have received. While you breathe this encouragement into the next balloon think of someone who has encouraged you. Exhale gratitude into the balloon. Visualize that person finding peace and love and success. Plant the stone and leave it there to grow more encouragement and gratitude.
Fill your lungs with all the support you have received. While you breathe this support into the next balloon think of someone who has supported you. Exhale gratitude into the balloon. Visualize that person finding peace love and success. Plant the stone and leave it there to grow more support and gratitude.
Concentrate on the positive things you want to nurture and grow in yourself and your life. Inhale your ambition and strength. Fill the balloon with your dreams of the future. Plant the stone and leave these dreams to grow.
Santa Cruz de La Sierra, Bolivia, 2017
During the Contemporary Artists Residencies / Kiosko, curated by Rachel Schwartz, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia
-Santa Cruz de La Sierra-Bolivia-2017: Waiting for Godot to bless me#impression:
Since 2014, this work has seek diversity in order to grow, a work about rituals and the human in the condition of the waiting.
The project is about building bridges between different beliefs coming for different backgrounds, I have built a ritual performance responding to a spiritual ritual. From an interpretation of a spiritual practice into an artistic approach, this work aims to create an artistic ritual.
This version developed during my residency in Bolivia, I have worked with elements of the Pachamama’s offerings (Amulets, Talisman and others) in order to create a work aware of their spiritual connotation, where the color become a state, where a state become an aspiration, where the aspiration lays on the blessing and the blessing become to the trigger of the waiting.
Impressions, is a body of work trying to resonate with of the geographic context in consideration with the subtleties of a spiritual practice, by transcending similarities and differences of beliefs.
at Tiahuanaco in front of the statute of Viracoha (Her/God created from the holy lake of Titicaca), Bolivia, 2017
AT Cerro el Calvario (one of the 17 shrines that you should put a stone and make a wish), Coppacabana, Bolivia, 2017
At the holy source (Ama sua, Ama llulla, Ama khella: ‘Don’t steal, don’t lie and don’t be lazy). la Isla del Moon, Bolivia, 2017
At the oldest forest of Samaipata, Bolivia, 2017
At RUINS OF EL FUERTE, SAMAIPATA, BOLIVIA,2017
During my residency I wanted to create a link between the element of the performance and the geographic context of Bolivia, so I traveled to sacred some sacred places and blew some balloons, I aim to activated a common point with what was visible and invisible, with the sacred and the myth with the individual and the collective.
-Mixed media drawing
Frozen smoke with frozen states where every act is gathered with the’ inact’ to create a stigma.
-Mixed media drawing
Colorful elements from the Mesas, where the white is the space in between two states.
-Mixed media drawing
From the Lama fetus the drawing comes as geography surface full of waited states of being, a geography of a body that has to be scarified because of its typical aspect, its belonging made it a chosen without a choice.
Different amulets from Pachamama offerings (Mesas), where the shapes are states of being. These shapes are suspended while agonizing under the heat of the candles, the states are suspended while waiting under the incandescence of the running time, shapes mixed up, states mixed up as some lamentations in Guarani came to deplore the long awaited status.
The falls of the amulets from the video making, are gathered on a white zone, the initial shape of the amulets is giving space to the abstract shape where the definition of each state lies into a color, the color of the candle. The reliability of the definition of the human condition within the context of the waiting, becomes blurred.
Vitoria, Brazil, by Ale Gabiera, 2018
Performance place at Praiadecamburi, Vitoria, Brazil, 20118
Ale Gabiera’s offering: red balloons
Ale Gabiera’s response:
Some time ago the artist Ramia Beladel invited me to participate in a collaborative performance work called Waiting for “Godot to Bless me”. At the time it was not possible to fulfill her request. Time passed and finally I came across the idea to do it this year of 2018. Ramia proposes to me to perform in a public space where the artist would empty himself from unresolved personal questions through the breath, by confining that negative energy to the blowing , by filling up inflatable balloons – those much used at birthday parties-. Since I was in Espírito Santo – Brazil, I decided to do this work in Praia de Camburi, in Vitoria. I counted on the help of some talented friends, both in the production with Ludmilla Perim and Flávia Dalla Bernadina, and in the audiovisual record, with Matheus Noronha and Naty Dornelas. The ultimate goal was to perform a video-performance and we did it.
Two days before the action, I began to feel intense pains in my back. I felt the weight of the anxiety and responsibility of inserting myself into such a painful narrative, visiting feelings, perhaps forgotten, dealing with my unresolved issues. Also to deal with the idea of reaching the expectations of a job that I recognize as beautiful and powerful. All done, I started the performance in the late afternoon of a Thursday, May 10, 2018. As I had the freedom to create my version of the original idea, I put new elements that made sense to me. In addition to working on my personal issues, include in this performance/ritual, in this Lila, as Ramia says, to empty the world of negative social issues such as violence, chauvinism, economic cruelty, fascism … I set out to carry out a process of cleaning up me and the world. The choice for the red balloon, different from the white one that has been used in the project, came, initially, by a simple aesthetic question to contrast sand of the beach. But I understood later that the red carries within itself the urgency, the attention to the danger. To me, those balloons turned from the puerile object into a dangerous low-restraint device. Red brought this visual attention to the object, a care that I and other people have made sure to put it that way.
After inflating each balloon, I deposited them around me. A rope was tied at one end to the balloon and the other to a bark, which I buried in the sand like an anchor, preventing the ballons from flying in the wind,It also served as a grounding, as a process of energy isolation. As a process of personal cleansing I sought the body image of the Umbanda pass, the cleaning that the caboclos perform on themselves after giving people a pass. Umbanda is a Brazilian religion that synthesizes indigenous, African and European beliefs. It seemed to me to make sense to use the same choreography to cleanse myself of any residue that had been left after each inflationary ritual, and so I was able to repeat this action after placing each balloon, which enabled me to restart the process as if it were unloaded from the residuals of the previous issues.
During the performance I felt extremely affected every time my breath intended to aspire to the world’s ills or my own idiosyncrasy. This weighed me down badly, but it was necessary to do that at this moment that Brazilian society and the world live a retro-cession of social thought. I did not count how many balloons were inflated, but each balloon had an intention. I tried to vary between personal intentions and collective intentions. The energy was so strong that during the performance some balloons burst. The ritual lasted about an hour and a half. When a balloon exploded while it was being inflated, I realized that it was time to stop. My energy was over
I concentrated on waiting for Godot, waiting for someone who would come to take from me all this suffering that I have imputed to myself. It is hope that poetic and subjective activity can have a real effect on me and society. After finishing the performance I went towards the sea and there, from the contact with the salt water, I tried to unload the last residues that I could not put inside the balloons. At that moment, I tried to calm myself down, tried to get back to myself.
Artistic Performance is not theatrical performance and I was not there pretending I was making a character. I was the device itself. I was believing that my action could do a poetic cleaning, a symbolic cure. When I came back from the sea, I embraced Flavia. She, who is very sensitive, realized that I was still heavily loaded with these energies. The ritual was not yet over as I thought.
Another person who was watching action suggested that the balloons could not be left behind or given to other people because they carried within themselves something that should be purified, something that should be exterminated. The participant then suggested that we make a small fire by the mangrove nearby as the ancients did in their cleaning. The mangrove as a place of transformation. And from and by the fire, were consumed these balloons and all the energy they contained. And that’s how we did it. He and Ludmilla accompanied me to the mangrove. We made a small bonfire and burned those balloons there. This made sense to me as a way to finish the performance and complete the action. There I felt lighter. But the day after the ritual I woke up very tired. It was a day out of time, a day my body asked to digest the whole event. I slept practically all day and only the next morning I felt recovered and I was able to continue my life.
Thank you so much Ramia for the opportunity to have experienced these sensations and to have reached this place. To have collaborated to create these images that since its genesis have already touched so many people. From a small and quick dissemination of photos through social networks I could feel this return of people. I believe that the goal of the” Waiting for Godot to Bless” ritual was offered to me in a loving and liberating way. I feel like doing it again. I do not know when, I do not know where, I do not know how, but I believe it will happen. This first experience taught me things I would like to test at a new opportunity. But it is better to prepare myself for the operation of such intense energies.
Waiting for Godot to bless me, 2019 Tahanout
a Friday, not a common day for the performance, as I used to do it accidentally on Thursday.
I did it this time on Friday, I did it this time and for the first time with as a duo, I was with good company of Ale Gabeira (Visual Artist from Brazil).
Ready but not steady, and this time and for the first time I was not steady physically, my right hand was shaking.
Having my violet dress on, my makeup, Ale on my side, the offerings on the both side.
For the first time I have dedicated the performance to something specific, as I blew all the colors in the beginning I started to blew only the red one for the love, for the loss a love that I have never let myself mourning it. As I was blowing all the memories and the hurt were rising I started to cry and blow and seed the balloons until the last one when I couldn’t blow anymore.
My trance was sad but liberating, I left the ritual before Ale, after a while he has reached his trance and left the ritual and has joined me, we hugged I cried and I found on his shoulders a relief a comfort that I have experienced for the first time.
The ritual was a constellation of first time moments, as this time it wasn’t during a moussem, we did it at Tahanout river coming from Moulay Ibrahim Saint of the region.