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In-situ multidisciplinary project (video, performance, installation, and urban art) developed at ZONA Lamego’s art residency in the context of ZigurFest (Lamego, Portugal). 

          This project was developed within a residency at ZONA Lamego in the context of the ZigurFest festival. It reflects on how the public space is in truth not that public due to its incredibly regulated nature, the political dynamics involved in how it is used, and the space that is left for freedom of speech. The project consisted of 3 actions located in strategic points of Lamego: Antas de Mazes, a completely empty village that was abandoned by its inhabitants due to lack of quality infrastructures and accessibility, now marketized as a tourist attraction, “the ghost village”; the pool of Avões Sports Association, once a place of recreational activities for the local community, now abandoned and falling under rapid deterioration; the Ribeiro Conceição Theatre, a renovated building from the 18th century placed right at Lamego’s city center.


Antas de Mazes is an arid stone-house village, placed at the very tip of a mountain in Serra de Montemuro. During the weeks I spent in Lamego, I discovered Antas de Mazes has been void of people for about 50/60 years. Its inhabitants were gradually forced to leave due to lack of accessibility and vulnerability to harsh weather and lightning bolts. I was once having breakfast at a café near the residency, and ended up speaking with an old man who used to live in Antas de Mazes. Now he lives down the hill, at another village with better living conditions, but still preserves his old house in Antas de Mazes and goes there once in a while to clean it up.

When I visited Antas de Mazes, I felt it rather eerie: there were no signs of human existence, yet most of the houses looked surprisingly well preserved. I couldn’t help but wonder if tha care stemmed from nostalgia or something else. I felt sad. When I was still in Lamego, I saw it as my duty to bring some life to this abandoned village, but arriving to Antas de Mazes I couldn’t help but feel as if I was trespassing. Every home seemed to be loved and cared after. It did not seem right to intervene, so I made this video instead. My mark was only temporarily placed within the village’s stones: branded on plastic sheets I symbolically cared for these empty homes, while subtly questioning the preservation of something that no-longer fits a purpose. After shooting the video, I brought my marks with me.


The last part of the video took place at the pool of Avões Sports Association. Unlike Antas de Mazes, no-one seemed to take care of this place. It used to be space of gathering and fun for the local community, yet — either for lack of funding, interest, or COVID (?) — it closed down. I could not figure out for how long it had been abandoned, but signs indicated it should not be more than 4 years. It shocked me how it looked as if it had been closed down for 20 years. Alone, I made a performance at this pool. Nobody saw me. The only swimmer in a crumbling box so bare of water.

Video shooting: João Pedro Fonseca, André Teixeira
Video Editing: Inês Nêves


These images are from the performance-painting I made at the Ribeiro Conceição Theatre. It questioned why the artistic expression of some is somehow more valued than others’, and how – by being integrated in a festival and residency that work closely with the local governmental organs – I was allowed to perform an action on an historic building that would otherwise be considered vandalism (as were the traces previously left on that same wall by anonymous passer-by’s).

Images: stills from Zigurfest’s video by André Abrantini.