"Waiting for Godot to bless me"
Ale Gabiera's response, Votoria, Brazil, 2018
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.