Ph. Thomas Lenden. DAS Theatre, 2019.
Rodrigo Batista is a Brazilian theatre maker and educator based in Amsterdam. Latest, he developed a collection of pieces, in the frame of the Master Program of DAS Theatre, that have the ambition of bringing insurrection within the performance space. The most relevant work is the double-sided performance "The Furious Rodrigo Batista (Side A)" and "The B-Side". Previous to his development within the European field, he worked for over 10 years with his group "[pH2]: estado de teatro" in São Paulo. They presented theatrical investigations in dialogue with philosophy, cinema and dance that were awarded several funds and prizes. Rodrigo presented works in Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands. He also worked in several cultural and social programs in São Paulo as a theatre educator.
Artistic Statement, 2019
1. At the core of my work is the importance of performing a statement. This statement is meant to be a direct message addressed to the ambient world politics. Lately, I have been focusing politically and aesthetically on the rise of Brazilian neo fascism and European colonialism.
2. After 10 years of working on a collaborative and interdisciplinary performing arts and art-education methodology in Brazil, I decided to focus on a different practice, displaced and marginalized, with the intention to disseminate political sentiments and the desire for insurrection in the performative space. Working from body, text, video and sound, I gathered points of reference from various sources – notably the writings of the Invisible Committee, Sayak Valencia, Frantz Fanon and Audre Lorde, the practice of “pixo” in São Paulo, a protest graffiti that uses black paint and big crippled letters as well as Chris Burden’s self-destructive practices – and tapped in my personal experiences of the social and professional strikes I was a part of in Brazil, especially the São Paulo art-educator’s strike of 2016, which I led along colleagues and students, opposing resistance to financial cuts for art programs in the outskirts of São Paulo. My engagement in this strike caused my persecutory dismissal from the social program I was a part of as an educator.
The experiences of activism and the overthrow of democracy in Brazil totally changed the way I now look at theatre: If democracy has failed, how can we deal with representation in art? Did representation fail? If yes, what political functions can art now open? And more: can we provoke the desire for insurrection in the audience through the performing arts?
From these questions, I developed the two sides of “The Furious Rodrigo Batista” and several scenic and writing experiments in which I expand explicitness into an aesthetic tool that flows from the use of straightforward language, the practice of decolonization as a process of violence and the investigation of a gore and pornographic visuality, all within an intense body research made from impulses of iconoclasm, indigestion, mutilation, blood and sex.
3. Moving forward, my research questions revolve around how to “allow”, “spread” and “reflect on” fury/anger, while questioning the white colonial hegemony of rationality; How to carry out bold political statements through an art form? What type of performativity does these political statements call for? Can an art piece be an insurrection in itself?
4. My art is here as a reminder that Europe has the responsibility to give territory back. Bolsonaro and his friends should disappear. The migrant anger should not be suppressed – ANGER is POWER. If we don’t have the same rights, turn SOLIDARITY UPSIDE DOWN.
5. My art is not afraid of being:
Labelled as “political art” and/or “bad visual art piece”;
Overly explicit, in your face or heavy.