2011 The Miserable Thing

‘We consume in order to render our lives pleasurable and meaningful’  Slavoj Žižek  

Concept and Direction Fernando Belfiore Created and embodied Antonio Maia and Fernando Belfiore Dramaturgical advice Katarina Bakatsaki and Antonio Maia

The miserable thing is a choreography that researches intensities, alienation and submissions present in our body. This piece comes to expose a practice of living bodies in relation with living bodies; giving importance and bringing  attention to the notion of performativity of those bodies. The miserable thing proposes unfinished events, which intends to trigger the audience mind/imagination and (dis)place the audience in other possible forms of engagement. Composed with shifts and strong cuts the piece researches how the body can allow itself to change abruptly the whole space by shifting the state of the mind through movement quality and time. Deconstructing linearity and giving possibility to access different ways to deal with perception and meaning, space and time.

The miserable thing got an award as best direction at ACT Festival in Bilbao in 2012 and it was selected to ITS Festival Choreography Award in Amsterdam.

The piece is composed with layers, which sometimes contrasts and/or strengthens the body/physicality of the performance. At one important layer, the sound of the piece dialogues with physicality of the bodies creating suggestions and exposing materiality for the audience to enter in the universe created by the piece. The way it relates to the audience, proposing a breakthrough a logic of senses and not it intentions to simply entertain or reproducing conventional relation for the body/mind, is what gives the political side of this piece. A critical collage is being used with songs as material in the piece. The song from the grandiloquent opera Carmina Burana ‘O fortune’, meditation instructions for achieving richness or even becoming a millionaire, a disco song ‘What a wonderful world’ asking for hope and togetherness, pop and mass multicultural songs made for the radio. The collage relates and refers with the physicality of the piece. The two bodies does not touch. When the encounter happens it is dry, mechanical, full of tension and force. The physicality breaks with the naturalist action. Movement is taken in extremes. Or its very minimal or strongly big and intense. Middle tones are out and transitions are not necessary. In this mode, paradox and contractions can bring the complexity for the piece. The movement is explored giving artificiality and plays with time where the imagination towards these bodies can be accessed. The waving movement used in the choreography brings the machinic notion to the body, and opens up space and possibilities for the audience. The movement plays with paranoid alertness, alienation, violence and power. The dance considers the social body, how our body is explored and fetishised. And yet considers and want to celebrate sexual energy. Investigating, the notion of hallucination the piece brings many elements, which intends to encounter different access to the mind. For example, the piece counts with light, which gives colored shadows to the performer. Emphasizing the suggestion and invitation to another logic of perception to exposed manipulation of reality. Ritualistic, this colors will lately materialize in liquids coming out of the body. Adding to the re-search materiality of the piece, we arrived to our current main source of ‘energy’, not the sun, but a submission to fossil fuels.


According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimate for 2011, the world consumes 87.421 million barrels of oil each day.