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Performance and land-art installation developed at Geografía Poética’s art residency in the rural neighbourhood Tortajada (Teruel, Spain). 

For only 20 minutes, I escape myself. For only 20  minutes, I am a self that is not in its own body; I am a self that is a tourist, a self that exists immaterial, inside the skin of another being. Tortajada feels like this, like a skin, like a skin I wear — a skin I inhabit — but for only 20  minutes. Today I made Tortajada a home — today I am one of its occupants — a home that slips though my fingers, that evades, that escapes my reach. Only 20 minutes are enough to realize that only 20 minutes do not suffice to make a home in another skin. I return to mine that now feels all the more mine.

          During the last century, the affective concept of "home" has changed substantially. In Portugal, I have met elders who spent their whole lives on the same piece of land without ever having seen the sea. I believe that in those times people nurtured a deeper affection for their environment because they had only known one home: "their home". Today, at the peak of globalization, new generations are constantly on the move. Many of us fail to build a home, or build many half-homes. Our homes, our many homes, are all incomplete and yet we have the compulsion to keep looking for new ones, better ones, more complete ones, instead of nurturing the ones we already own.

From the personal and the intimate, "for only 20 minutes" speaks of the contemporary syndrome of constant mobility, and the consequent fetishization of the unknown and consumerism of places. As an artist temporarily in residence, I found it impossible to build a consistent relationship with Tortajada. Nevertheless, inspired by the stories of its neighbors, I made a home through them: fantasizing - or wearing - a feeling of home that I have never really had. Lília and Consolación told me about the neighbors who after the war returned to the ruin of Tortajada to re-erect it. Marián, who has been living there for only a few years, confessed to me that when she drives in from road approaching Tortajada, she is hugged by the comfort of arriving home. Carmen’s life is in Teruel, but every summer she returns to Tortajada, her home.

Drinking from the nostalgia for other ways of living, "por solo 20 minutos" utilizes the earth as a symbolic element representative of the territory. The dramaturgy of the performance was defined by the actions "arriving", "cherishing", "consuming", and "leaving". The marks left by my body (now absent) on the ground will disappear with the rain and the wind, but the memory of the encounter will live on in my memory and in the memory of those who shared a home with me for only 20 minutes.

Photography: Joana Carvalho

The residency program was split in two phases.
Frist, we gathered in Teruel in March to visit its 10 Rural Neighbourhoods. After some very intense 20-minute-long trips on a micro-bus to each one, the participating artists proposed which neighborhood we wanted to work with, and the locations were assigned. During this trip, I wrote a collection of small texts based on some little details I observed and experienced during the visits, extrapolated with my own imagination. I wrote "The Space Between the Gaze and the Desire". These tales helped me to position myself in the territories I visited and test the poetic potential of these relationships.

A big thank you to the residency’s team members and neighbors of Tortajada who helped me bring this project to life: