When an animal looks at us, it sees us as we are and will not articulate its mouth and tongue to tell us in words how it sees us. Nor can we know what such words would tell us. This absence is a fault only for us. The animal before us does not speak our language. And that dumbness leaves us defenseless. And naked. The animal’s body is like ours. Real and concrete. It has a face, community and habitat.
It invites to committed curiosity, apart from the reactions in which we have been training ourselves. It summons our gaze and the imagination of a response that risks an interaction, more or less direct, individual or communal. Physical, political, artistic or other. Even though it might be awkward and difficult. Creatures do not pre-exist in the relationships in which they are involved, they are built by reciprocal induction. They are produced in the interplay, at different times, scales and distances. Bequeathing, inheriting and rewriting gestures and stories. Redoing ideas of nature and creating kinship. ANIMAL ANIMAL is a storytelling machine. Two human actors telling stories in which the protagonists are animals.
From a selection of species and an amateur knowledge of their morphologies, behaviors and affinities with human space, together with a repertoire of motives and ideas inspired or stolen from fiction or essay literature, stories are improvised taking as a setting Jardim Gulbenkian and the city of Lisbon, including its surroundings, Monsanto and beyond. The species adapted to the urban environment will be approached, the elusive ones that take refuge in the peripheries and also those that only tolerate the wild habitat.
The plots are developed individually, sometimes alternating voices, in an exercise in which the narrator takes as a motto what he heard before. Speculating and fabulating sentence by sentence, sometimes resorting to fiction construction devices and evading them at times, the actors move towards an unknown nothing, ending in guaranteed common places and many tired anecdotes betraying good intentions, among which, in due time , perhaps the shock of a surprising intertwining of bodies and species will arise.
ANIMAL ANIMAL is a joyful practice and a process in lightness. Without an end.