Eduardo Cachucho (DAI, 2015): “I know what I’m doing here. I’m improvising. I’ve done this before, but what’s wrong with that?"

29.12.15 | tag: Arnhem

Excerpt from Eduardo's 20 minute presentation for  Do The Right Thing ! ~ DAI's 3 day graduation lectures marathon, July 2015.

I’m holding, falling, walking.


Performing a series of three sustained gestures (holding, falling, walking), Eduardo Cachucho posed the question,“I know what I’m doing here. I’m improvising. I’ve done this before, but what’s wrong with that?" to guest respondents Maria Hlavajova, Bassam el Baroni and to his theory-tutor Marina Vishmidt. 

Beginning his performance in ‘corpse pose’, face up, with half of his body on an irregularly-stitched, delicate cloth, Cachucho re-articulated his question, and vocalized a single word, a low, rumbling “Brrraaazzzil…”. While still lying down, he read part of a multi-lingual text and then picked up the cloth he had been resting on, and moved it to the next site of performance, while the audience moved along naturally to follow his movements. Moving around the large space and adopting, borrowing or claiming different sites of performance, Cachucho played with the audience’s expectations and capacities to follow - not only his physical movements but also his conceptual gestures. About halfway through, he presented himself as a figure standing on one leg, about to fall, and struggling not to. The visceral tension created by this gesture in connection with what he was reading and the images he later constructed through the text (flames, glistening bodies) invited the audience to consider their own relationship to his actions. Ending the performance with a solo rendition of the song, “I’m holding” by Fabio Cachucho, he engaged the audience on an affective level, such that research, performance, and life bled into one another.

For Maria Hlavajova, Eduardo Cachucho’s performance was a way of rethinking the vocabulary of art today through the a few select terms (holding, walking falling, and improvising). She questions whether what was performed was really improvisation, and asks, “what art can do in the time of interregnum, when the old is dying and the new cannot be born”. Hlavajova considered Cachucho’s work to be a way of dealing with, or making, a new conceptual vocabulary.

Bassam el Baroni noted that there isn’t anything wrong with improvisation and that in a sense, improvisation happens in the way that the audience “responds to what you are making us do.” Saying that what Cachucho set up is relational, he also remarks that it’s “calculated in the sense of affectivity…I could trace the kind of awkward moment where I realized you were acting because of the visible stress on your legs.” In that moment, el Baroni observes, the question Cachucho asked became important because it is strongly connected to the idea of affectivity. “Should improvisation be affective?” There are, el Baroni suggests, even more philosophical questions about freedom that arise in relation to the performance regarding the artist’s will and how it affects others.

Marina Vishmidt found a “consistent thread in the poetics of error, noticing a tension between consciousness and unconsciousness - in art.” For Vishmidt, the performance set up a tension between deliberateness and error, played out in a “transcoding of errors…performance as a technology of errors” such that, “mistake and action reinforce or destroy one another. This performance works as an illustration of embodied learning, adding to a milieu of other bodies, making errors as you are learning”. The cloth is also a system of signification, Vishmidt continues, and the layers of signs appear in different media and performance (referencing Roland Barthes) in a counter-tradition of modernness. In this way, the “body comes to seem like a recording technology of errors.”

About Do The Right Thing !

Eduardo Cachucho's website