performance installation by Eunice Gonçalves Duarte

Smother in Tears

Smother in Tears is a performance installation for the public space about wildfires that bring forward how we think, feel and perceive wildfires, their causes and sociocultural impacts. It was first presented at Henrique Lopes de Mendonça garden bandstand, in Lisbon, for the Temps d’Images Festival.

The work departs from the massive Portuguese wildfires in 2017, responsible for killing more than 100 people and destroying a vast part of inland Portugal. Still, it can be read at a larger scale considering the multiple worldwide wildfires in the last five years.

At the core of this performance installation is a tears detector to transform tears into commands to activate the video projection. It has its grounds in the ritual of a community crying, making it something productive that could lead to action. Shed tears would then leave the private space to become a political act; could we, as a community, produce enough tears to extinguish the fire? It was the initial question.

Smother in Tears proposes to bring the bodily experience of emotion to the foreground. It aims to understand if there is an opportunity for this emotion to turn into consciousness, find practical solutions and turn feelings into a collective force of action.

Created by: Eunice Gonçalves Duarte
Performed by: Eunice Gonçalves Duarte and Bruno Gonçalves
Cenography by: Fabio Baldo
Video Installation by Eunice Gonçalves Duarte
Technical design by Balaclava Noir
Rehearsal assistant: Bibi Perestrelo
Videos captured by: WildlandFireLLC, Paulo Fajardo, Arlindo Marques, Pedro Fonseca, Manuel Ferreira, Isabel Santos, Vanessa Duarte, Inês Lopes and Isabella Ferro
Artistic residency: Casa de Gigante (Sertã/Portugal)