Way through to the other side - Teresa Milheiro

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Jorge Silva Melo

They come from afar, from the late Middle Ages, invented to live between life and death, and they appear in Gil Vicente’s Barcas (Boats), awaiting passage to the other side.

Yes, Teresa Milheiro commences with Vicente’s characters, those who were brought to life on stage, who see their lives weighed, judged, rewarded, or punished: the usurer, the procuress, the fool, but also the pope, the emperor.

And the devil, who is here also an angel. Or the Jew, who is here a Palestinian, the one who is on the other side, away from the boats. And they are small marionettes made of unexpected materials; gold, silver, nickel silver, and also brass. Marionettes agitated by oscillating wires.

Teresa Milheiro likes articulations, she plays with them, her artistic pieces long for aerial movement, they are the stuff of clouds, gently flying over the world, but also threatening, pestiferous.

And they are still around; the bankers, multinational corporation CEOs, pimps, manipulated people, questionable people, people with guns, oil barons, people who are the bosses of it all, and they are still around, haunted.

And we see them after crossing the river of death, and they are transformed. They become fish, octopuses, gnats, terrible animals from the ocean depths (is theirs a ghost-filled hell?), winged fish, with the thousand eyes of security cameras, once again engaged in this dance of death that has eternally engrossed Gil Vicente.

And there is laughter surrounding all of this, everything is ironic, this subservience of ours, the fool’s cap also suited to the ritualistic football celebrations, the debilitated pope operated solely by strings facing the voracious mouth of a deadly fish.

Teresa Milheiro contemplates this earthly carnival without mercy, with a laugh.

An unbelieving, distrustful laugh.

This is a sarcastic, ruthless dance of death.

And a certain disquiet lingers: is this who we are, do we live off this greed, this manipulation?

June 2016

 

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