Interview: Silvia Almeida | ITSLIQUID

Interview: Silvia Almeida

Interviews | February 7, 2023 |

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Image courtesy of Silvia Almeida

Interview: Silvia Almeida
Luca Curci talks with Silvia Almeida, during the 16th Edition of VENICE INTERNATIONAL ART FAIR 2022, at Palazzo Bembo.

Based in Lisbon, Portugal, Silvia Almeida is an actress, performer and creator, born in Aveiro in 1984. Her professional career began in 2004, in TNDMII – The National Theatre. Her studies include FLUL (degree), ACT-School (Tv, Cinema and Theatre), and ESTC (Masters in performing arts and communities) among others. In 2012, as part of the European Leonardo da Vinci program, she moved to London to work with the award-winning company Zecora Ura. Within this company, she joins DRIFT: for new creators (London, Brazil-UK) where she starts to develop, for the first time, this creation: “From Above/Do Alto”. In the last 9 years that she has been based in London, she collaborated with companies including ZU, Arbonauts, Beautiful Confusion Collective, and Eliza Soroga, among many others. In Portugal, her many collaborations include those with Teatro o Bando, Inestética, António Pires, and Miguel Moreira among others.

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Image courtesy of Silvia Almeida

Luca Curci – What is art for you?
Silvia Almeida – I believe, as I have always believed, in Art in general (and in my case in Theatre/Performance Arts in particular) as a great purpose for expressing, telling ourselves, for being – perceiving it as a vehicle of intervention and interrelation with the other, with the world, with life. In my constant and incessant journey as an actress/performer and creator, I have never let go of this higher desire to feel connected to what surrounds us, to get closer, to learn and to permanently rediscover myself, somehow, in it. I believe that art can bring us that freedom of being who we are and implicate ourselves in what we do. For this reason, I keep asking myself how creativity can be a place capable of enhancing and establishing different beats/paces in the increasingly accelerated complexity of evolution. How can art catalyse the understanding of human thinking, potential and expression, regardless of language or culture? I also believe that art, and in my case the work of an actor/performer and their practice, allows a fundamental connection to the very present moment and their active ability to contribute to their environment.

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Image courtesy of Silvia Almeida

LC – How is your creative process?
SA – A project is vital and dynamic. For me, every project gives birth to a process. To observe. To absorb. To create. To recreate. The first moment is contemplative. Looking at the days is inspiring. But the way I look at the days is also already inspired – by memories, stories, books, music, images, nature, experiences, life and its subtleties, its details. It’s always a process that involves curiosity and experimentation. In that experimental process, I try to conjugate this multiplicity of languages and ways to express it, with the purpose of generating a “dialogue” with the spectator. I am contaminated/ provoked by what surrounds me and I try to translate it to tell a story.

LC – How is being an artist nowadays?
SA – For me, being an artist is a way of existing. An identity. It’s a way of happening in the world. A way of absorbing it, in its multitudes and, at the same time, a way of touching it. Transforming it. Expressing it. Imprinting your DNA in it, and what you bring in your own journey. It can be, at times, very uncertain but I believe that our resilience keeps guiding us through that sort of “rollercoaster”. It’s also crucial to be surrounded by people that mutually support each other. To be an artist today is to be part of, position yourself, and embrace what concerns us as humans. I sometimes think it is a little bit as if we insist on “saving the world” through its own beauty.

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Image courtesy of Silvia Almeida

LC – Do visitors’ suggestions enrich yourself and your art?
SA – Absolutely. My performance doesn’t exist without the other. The spectator, the visitor. I am interested in reaching people, in their fullness and diversity – the audience. I believe that the artistic relevance of this 1-to-1 project is related to the idea of reaching an individual, unique and intimate experience for the audience/spectator, that becomes a “collaborator and co-conspirator”. This performance considers the dynamics of a participative audience although in a completely non-intrusive way – it is a 1-to-1 experience, in which each spectator is individually guided through this journey/story, with the help of the interpreter. For that reason, … I am doing this for each person that comes to watch it, to witness it. In this particular process, each person becomes a story and a place. Each one communicates in that instant. I, as a performer/ creator, make a proposal and each person/ spectator, by the simple fact of being there, present, offers me, already, a response/ an answer.

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Image courtesy of Silvia Almeida

LC – What is the message linked to the artwork you have shown in this event? How is it connected to the theme of the entire exhibition?
SA – I felt that the message behind my work really integrates with the theme and questions raised by the Art Fair, for example: “Analyse the relationship between body and space, and the hybridisation between identities…the hidden parts of our identities, through an immersive experience inside the fascinating universe of the complex labyrinths of our consciousness.” I hope that my performance/artwork brings more of a question than an answer.
How do you inhabit the other? How do you inhabit an empty place? How do you inhabit your empty places? How do you stop and look and listen, observe, in silence? How do you dance with that silence? Embracing it? How do you fulfil the “wait”? How do you become comfortable in the uncomfortable and the opposite?…and so on. It was also a privilege to be part of this event and its programme, with such a diversity of works and artists who discuss human and world issues with which, I, as an artist and a woman, completely identify. And which deserve our most careful attention for example: “Women in Love” of Benedetta Paravia aka Princess Bee, raising awareness for the issue of Female Genital Mutilation, a violation of human rights that should concern us all.

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Image courtesy of Silvia Almeida

LC – Can you explain something about the artworks you have in our exhibition?
SA – From Above- Do Alto” is a 1-to-1 multidisciplinary performance/installation with photography, video (documentary), music, text and movement. A site-specific proposal that I adapt to every place I perform it. The place/the building I perform becomes a fundamental part of the story. “From Above/ Do Alto” tells the story of a woman. “From Above” is a place. But “From Above” is also the name by which a woman is known. A woman of certain places. At the time when her place of belonging became another, the places that were only hers were filled with absence.” “From Above- Do Alto” is what results from this experience of inhabiting the places of the other. It is a fusion and a crossing of looks and places. “Presence and Absence”. “Inhabiting and Uninhabiting“. To inhabit “the other” in their absence. To have the possibility of a different perspective on something so common and so genuinely ingrained in all of us humans such as roots, family, older people, memories, places, home, ways of seeing, the concept of time, space, waiting…

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Image courtesy of Silvia Almeida

LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID Group can represent an opportunity for artists?
SA – Definitely. ITSLIQUID creates a very unique and fundamental bridge between artists from all over the world allowing them to cohabitate, in a frame of time and space, and giving them the chance to be witnessed, and experienced by so many people with the privilege of presenting their work in such unique beautiful places, such as Palazzo Bembo.

LC – What are your suggestions about our services? Is there something more we can provide to artists?
SA – I just hope that you can carry on, expanding the fabulous work you have been doing.

LC – What is your idea about ITSLIQUID Group?
SA – I think ITSLIQUID Group is central to the art scene with all its components, the diversity of projects and events developed by the group is necessary. It connects people and places, and all the singularities that come with it. I feel very grateful to have had the chance to perform and take part in this very special event that was the 16th Venice International Art Fair.

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Image courtesy of Silvia Almeida
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Image courtesy of Silvia Almeida

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