Alumnos47 Foundation commissioned artists VestAndPage (Verena Stenke, Germany & Andrea Pagnes, Italy) to develop an art itinerary on the topic ‘Fear’, to be presented at the curatorial proposal Proyecto Líquido in the location of a disused house in Mexico City during the month of June 2012.
As VestAndPage primarily work in culture- and site-specific Performance art, they wished to contribute with a new methodology to approach street children in order to start a creative process with them. This project was social and artistic at the same time, aiming to foster social development through art. The intend was to open a communication about ‘Fear’ through the means of body expression and texts. The children have a huge potential, so it was just about giving them the necessary tools to express themselves freely, and to become active producers and direct contributors of an artistic work.
On 5th June 2012, Verena and Andrea first went to Yolia’s Youth Residence, located at the Southern areas of Mexico City, and psychologist Alexandra Hernandez welcomed them heartedly together with about 30 girls of age ranging between 3-15.
For six consecutive days, Verena and Andrea worked in the morning with a group of younger girls, and in the afternoon with adolescent ones, inquiring through various art and theatre exercises the topics fear, desire and dream.
The process wasn’t always easy – firstly the girls had to get confident with the two strangers. Many of them had experienced abandoning and violence, sexual abuses or drug addictions, being without no family, or in a constant situation of neglect. Yolia offers them a security and harbor to develop their own personalities based on love, attention and respect. The workshop proved to be interesting for them, though it required commitment and effort, as it could finally lead them to personal satisfaction.
VestAndPage aimed to support the girls in telling their stories, experiences, fears and desires, not only to each other and to Verena and Andrea, but through them to a wide global audience, to anyone who is ready to listen.
The investigations about ‘Fear’ went along a continuous progress of transition that the girls are facing – in their life process they are transitioning from ‘Fear’ to ‘Love’. These young girls overcome their past and their limitations, and move towards a future which lies in their hands, though being denied the stability of a family nucleo or home. Behind each image, sketch or sentence lies the story of a young girl.
To work artistically on the topic Fear is not just about putting an audience in fearful situations and emotions, but to speak about universal notions of fear of each individual, and to investigate fear’s roots, origins, dynamics, effects and uses.
As fear is related to something concrete, in contrary to Angst or anxiety, which is subtlely undetermined, it is also possible to face fears and exorcise them. Fear might help to perceive and prevent danger, but it might also turn paralyzing. Expressing and affronting fears might help to become more confident and live life more consciously.
The present blog is to document the writings, sketches, videos and photographies realized by and with the girls of Yolia during the workshop process, as well as the final installation with the produced sound- and video works of the 24-hour performance FEAR vs LOVE vs FEAR by VestAndPage.
The writings will also be published in the final comprehensive project publication by Alumnos47 Foundation.
The following works were documented in writings and sketches:
• DESIRES AND HOPES
• IMAGINARY TRAVEL TO YOUR SPECIAL PLACE
• THE APPLE TREE SEED
• I LIKE OF YOU / I DON’T LIKE OF YOU
• FREE ASSOCIATIONS
• TALES TO BE TOLD
• A DREAM / YOUR IDEAL HOME
YOLIA – Niñas de la calle AC// BACKGROUND AND WORK
Yolia – Niñas de la calle AC is a Salesian NGO based in Mexico City. Its tasks are addressed towards young and adolescent girls living on the streets, or at high risk of coming to live on the streets. At Yolia, they wish to reconstruct the girls’ lives with love, care and human values for a better future. Their mission is to bring consciousness to the girls about their value of being a woman, and to provide the young girls a safe harbour full of respect, knowledge, affection and attention.
Yolia – Niñas de la calle AC is recognized for its educational activities, working on innovative programs with a professional and specialized team of psychologists and educators.
ALUMNOS47 Foundation // BACKGROUND AND WORK
ALUMNOS47 is a Mexico City based foundation concentrating mainly on publications, cultural initiatives, and on educational activities. Their mobile library A47 is constantly travelling Mexico City. For their first curatorial project Proyecto Líquido (Curated by Jessica Berlanga-Taylor), the foundation invited eleven renown international and Mexican artists to investigate the topic of ‘Fear’ by researching and displaying its roots, origins, backgrounds, effects and uses.
VestAndPage // BACKGROUND AND WORK
German artist and dancer Verena Stenke and Italian artist, writer and curator Andrea Pagnes have been working together as VestAndPage since 2006. Their works and live performances are presented internationally at festivals, theaters, exhibitions and biennials. VestAndPage present an educational approach to Performance art through workshops and conferences. Their theoretical investigations have been published in various books and magazines of contemporary art. Between 2010-2012 VestAndPage produced the trilogy film project sin∞fin The Movie in Patagonia, Tierra del Fuego, India, Kashmir and Antarctica, combining the ephemeral art form of Performance with filmmaking (www.sinfin-themovie.de). The poetics of VestAndPage are based on practices of personal risk-taking and loss of control, to open a discourse about the conflicts of personal and social responsibilities, though being driven by a strong sense of Absurdism. Their performances are always site-responsive and process-led through the action itself, thus creating a permanent sensation of vertigo. Their approach to art originates from a here-and-now interpretation of the fragility of the individual, where existence and the extent of intersubjective communication are placed in constant discussion. They collaborate with artists from various fields, as well as with international theater companies in production and education.
The workshop project FEAR IS FEAR. LOVE IS LOVE. was made possible by Alumnos47 Foundation, June 2012.
Special thanks to Monica Rabago Gonzalez and Alexandra Hernandez of YOLIA – Niñas de la calle AC.
And of course the project would not have been possible without: Anareli • Andrea • Alejandra • Anna Belen • Daniela • Dulce • Edith • Elba • Gloria • Graciela • Isabel • Jessica • Jimena • Laura • Lilly • Monze • Nora • Paola • Patty • Rosa • Rosario • Valeria • Vicky • Wendy • Ximena