Gaelle de Laveleye and Oriane Wedd take part of “Reserved Exposure” – a unique art installation in room #102 at the Pestana CR7 Lisboa. On May 18, between 2 and 8 PM, you are invited to check in and let yourself be immersed in the performative experience curated by OTOCO and produced by four artists based in Lisbon.
How do you describe your intervention at #room102?
Oriane Wedd: It´s an artistic intervention comprehending performance and objects. In fact, it goes beyond the room as visitors will be welcomed at the reception desk created for the occasion in the CR7 Corner bar, and lead through to the gym and room. For those who already know the hotel, it is an opportunity to experience it in a different context. For people who never entered the hotel, it is a great occasion to check it out. This is a hotel associated to sports, to Cristiano Ronaldo – but this should not exclude other aspects such as art and culture. This multi-facet quality is the central theme of the intervention: multiple facades, several dimensions of reality coexisting in the same place at the same time. It is most visible in Mary Stephenson’s work, her surreal vision of life is literally layered onto the “real” hotel – it will make more sense when you see it in person!
Gaelle de Laveleye: Four artists whose individual works come together around a common theme and end up interacting with one another. We want to create an immersive experience, to let people discover an artistic work in a context not associated with art.
Why are you exposing in a hotel and not in a gallery?
OW: Why should art only be shown in galleries? Where there is space and there are people there can be art. That is what our project OTOCO is all about, we want to present art in a way that is physically, mentally and emotionally accessible to a broader public than the regular gallery-goer. I believe the deep values of art, such as self-awareness or empathy, are greatly undervalued because of the limitations in where and how they are presented.
GdL: For this particular project, the hotel room made sense as it has both private and public dimensions. It’s a place open to everyone, but it’s private once the door is shut. Intimate moments of different people’s lives are played out day after day within one same unchanged room. In Diogo da Cruz’s narrative, the hotel room and gym play a key role, but we will not give too much away now!.
OW: The Pestana CR7 was a perfect fit as there is a strong technological presence in the rooms and bar area, this is also very coherent with Diogo’s work.
As artists, what is your message to people?
OW: To reflect a bit about the reality that technology presents to us, recognizing that algorithms determine the majority of what one is exposed to online. With the recent exposure of Cambridge Analytica’s unauthorized use of Facebook data for political ends, it is no longer a threat that can be ignored. Keeping in mind that what my newsfeed tells me is not necessarily the entire truth is a good place to start.
How do you imagine the reaction of the public?
GdL: So far, people we have spoken to sounded really intrigued and curious about how the different works from each artist will interact amongst each other and the space. Although the theme has a dark side, there is a lot of humor in how we chose to address it. All four of us will be present within the exhibition “in character”. The performative aspect varies for each artist, in some cases it is on the subtle side, urging the visitors to question the veracity behind what is being shown and said. In other cases, it is entirely surreal almost absurd. Again, we want questions to rise and welcome them to be asked!
Do you think this is a work-in-progress or it ends right here?
OW: The event lasts a day, it is, of course, impossible to reproduce it exactly, as a lot will depend on the presence and possible interactions of the visitors. But the works that we expose here exist in other contexts. For instance, a continuation of the masks created by Gaelle and I will be shown at OTOCO. In fact, we invite everyone to join us the following day for the opening event being held between 4 pm and 8 pm. For more info please check www.otoco.org.
GdL: The OTOCO’s idea is to show art in unusual places, to drive people who generally do not understand art to be impacted.
Why are you attracted to Lisbon?
GdL: I love Portuguese culture because it is a strong culture. It is a country at the edge of Europe and is very international. One of the things that made me come here was knowing that there was this artistic movement waking up. Many Portuguese people who went to other countries are coming back with different pieces of knowledge; many foreign people are here because they want to change something in their lives. Connections are easy to make.
What would you like to improve in the world?
GdL: Authenticity. People are too provident, too square.
OW: I would say openness. The ability to look at something and not be directly closed on it, say nothing but “like” and “don’t like”.
What kind of sports do you practice?
GdL: I just got out of the ocean – I surf.
OW: And I want to surf more! But something very important to me is movement, dancing and yoga always awaken so many strong feelings in my body and allow me to make connections that I cannot grasp using only my intellect.