edition Juli-August 2023

Getting Lost is also a Path

Foto: Kasia Wolińska

For her new work, "Vagarosas", Lina Gómez examined the motif of the mountain environment as a symbol of movement, strength and determination. In this text, she reflects on her recent working experiences made during a residency with artistic accomplices in the Chilean Andes and describes her dance-artistic approach to nature.

Text: Lina Gómez

A vast landscape, the ground arid, but fertile, made of stones of various sizes, stones filled with air. The floor is lava, as the children say when they play. Yes, it’s dry lava, which has been there forever. Further ahead, a horizon opens up, whitish peaks caress the sky, volcanoes from other regions; there’s even one that’s half of one country and half of another. Before arriving at this place, we were regurgitated by the leafy, green forest, populated by the sensuality of lichen that embrace the Araucaria trees, and the Lenga leaves with their heart-shaped veins. The heart starts beating stronger; I feel my breathing getting louder, faster, I mark the rhythm, burying my feet in the ground made of small pumice stones mixed with ashes and earth.

It’s a constant I, a constant we. To co-exist. To feel the rhythm of the group, to feel my own, to feel the rhythm of the earth.

We give thanks, we ask permission to enter, and permission to leave. I don't want to cut my nails; I carry the volcano in them.

I play with being a mountain, with being a volcano, I imagine who was there before, I greet our ancestors and think about the sequence of world-endings they witnessed. The earth is no longer dirt; I bring my hands to my mouth without fear. I taste the fruit that stains my tongue purple, I let the image of the tectonic plates vibrate through my body. My body expands, blurs, mixes. We find a black glacier, transparent inside, hard but dripping; on the outside, there’s black volcanic ash and sediment, dressing it in mourning. An anticipated and constant mourning, of what in just a few years will probably no longer exist. 

I let the force of water that rises from above, from an indefinable source, caress my face; I contemplate it, I admire it, I immerse my body in its transparent but mysterious force, I live the water, the mountain, the volcano, the forest, and I allow its existence affect me; I become it, it becomes me. It’s a sensation of dilated time; the day no longer has 24 hours. I let my perception to become confused, surrendering myself to the craziness of the landscape, to the insanity of the relationships, to the co-existence of individuals that form this deafening collective. 

Creation processes, elucubrations, uncertainties, affections, dreams, speculations. I get lost; getting lost is also a path.

Dance is this landscape into which I dive, inhabit and am inhabited, where I belong but am constantly lost. I dream and don't give up, but I don't dream alone, because one without companions, without accomplices, is no one. Choreography as an unfinished geology that always needs the other to imagine worlds, that needs that which cannot be explained, that needs the formation of tectonic plates in continuous movement generating abysses, eruptions and mountain chains that spread over forgotten territories; energies, that feed the imagination, delight in crisis, in precariousness and strengthen themselves while generating collective memories. An ecology of affections; an unending dance. The group, as a metaphor for the world, that blurs its notion of humanity and is constantly transforming itself. 

We forget the forest is full of buried stories, stories that fly, that are smelled, felt.  Full of infinite pluralities that coexist. We forget that mountains move, rivers breathe. We forget how to be affected, we forget our shared sensibility, we forget how to observe the crater of a volcano and let rivers flow through our eyes, cleaning us, expanding us, making us become one.

As Silvio Rodríguez says in one of his songs "Lo más terrible se aprende enseguida y lo hermoso nos cuesta la vida." Take time to learn, to observe; the processes are precious, we are nothing alone, let's get lost, let's play, let's affect each other. It’s possible to reinvent dreams, to make peace with expectations, to heal broken hearts, to imagine, to dance without fear of being happy.

In those moments of the world’s ending we have to appeal to our imagination, which seems to be on its way to extinction. Where did it go? I feel it’s necessary, as Ailton Krenak says, "to reforest our imaginary," to let ourselves go, to dive into potentials of being, of environments, into possibilities of existing different from the ones we are in. "Inventing worlds is more interesting than inventing futures.”

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