In the face of this reality, artists and activists created various virtual manifestations. To show their indignation, some transfeminist and artistic collectives have been showcasing themselves and their work on livestreams to raise funds for the trans girls and sex workers community in Colombia. This has included having conversations about social activism and holding virtual parties where the underground scenes of gender and sexuality dissidents manifest—including collectives like Las Tupamaras, Putivuelta, and Balistikal, which carry out very interesting performance works of social activism. For example, Las Tupamaras offered a course in their performative practices, creating the opportunity to share their ways of performance creation with different artists; Putivuelta created virtual spaces to share different performances related to dance manifestos; and Balistikal opened a virtual space for the LGBTQ+ community called “Open Mic Night” to gather different artists in the fields of literature, acting, and music.
Now, with an array of technological resources at our disposal to produce artistic, performative, and multidisciplinary works, we artists can reflect on the space and time in which these social struggles are gestated. In the absence of physical spaces, the performances that occur now, in the midst of the pandemic, are filled with technological tools, visual effects, and archival sounds. On top of this, the aesthetic experiences that have come out of virtual productions are new for audiences, and, with this new way of appreciating art, new emotions and affections related to social struggles have emerged. Whether or not the work is focused on social causes, what is being presented will influence the impact and development of artistic practices in the near future.
Us Colombian performers have learned that our bodies can’t be locked up.
Bodies That Express New Times
Many collectives have done interesting work to represent these new challenges within multidisciplinary and performance creation. And these ways of creating are being thought of not only as practices for during the pandemic, but also as ones that can be part of the artists’ creative work outside the current situation.
For example, Proyecto Binario, a cultural center in the city of Bogotá dedicated to the production, management, and execution of cultural projects and practices, began this year working on multidisciplinary projects within its physical space. However, given the pandemic, the organization quickly migrated to a virtual space where, together with PopUp Art Colombia, Colectivo Canario, Distorsión [es], and others, they began to ask the following question: “What happens when the stage event is dislocated and displaced to a virtuality?” Thanks to this question, La Tarima Invisible (The Invisible Stage) was born, a project that reformulates the space of the staging in the following manifesto:
The stage is not a space, although it has spatial dimensions. Neither is it an object, even if it has material effects. The stage is a relationship, it is what happens between what emerges from the encounter with myself, other, and a situation. The stage emerges from the relationships involved in the stage event and, therefore, it is a performance matter.
Ana Contreras, who works with the Colectivo Canario and is a creator of performances for La Tarima Invisible, shares her interesting experience about time within the creation of her performative pieces: “Now when I try to compose a structure in my creative process it is very difficult for me, because I feel that time is diluted in the middle of confinement,” she says. “So when my processes go through the body, that liquidity and not solidity of time is reflected in my work.”