Bárbara Serafim is a visual and sound artist, performer, and dancer. She holds a degree in architecture and urban planning from the University of Guarulhos, where she also worked as a researcher and grant recipient of the CNPq while engrossed in her proprietary undertaking titled "Phenomenology of Perception: The Reeducation of Sensation" (circa 2016).
Her practice delves into a transdisciplinary point of view, integrating the realms of the Body in/and Motion, the Word (encompassing drawing, writing, sound, and speech), and the Space itself – often resulting in a body of works that go from installations, performances, objects, drawings, among others.
The act of moving, especially in urban areas, is something that necessarily involves the body we are and the various layers of complexity that emerge from it, thus permeating our socio-political structure.
With this understanding, the artist's more than four daily hours spent in the act of commuting from the housing complex in Guarulhos, where she lived, to the central hubs of dissemination, study, and contemporary art creation, found its place as part of the artist's sublimation and production process.
Gradually, the project of choreographic gesture in performance known as "Peregrinação" (2019) took shape.
This performance brings together the artist's interests, ranging from the symbolic and conceptual aspects, such as the materiality of the mirrored glass surface, to triggering structural questions about the distances - this time, not symbolic - that establish themselves between the "periphery" and "center" in the fields of art production and study in a general sense.
photo: Noah Molica
"Espelho Movente" was a performance first conducted in 2019 at the Instituto Tomie Ohtake.
In descriptive terms, the performance involves the artist moving behind a mirror through urban and/or artistic spaces - in this case, even without the knowledge of anyone within the institution, classifying for the artist also as a sort of infiltration of the museological space.
In this piece, three essential gestures come together in a process of aggregation and complexification: moving, inhabiting, and pausing. Through these seemingly simple verbs, combined with the materiality of the mirrored surface, the artist addresses issues she has researched as a dancer and intersects them with topics that allow her to incorporate her background as an architect and urban planner.
The act of walking and pausing is deeply rooted in her research within contemporary dance, specifically in Contact Improvisation, which, in broad terms, brings to light and investigates the complexity of everyday movements in their apparent simplicity, creating fertile ground between areas of study such as Aikido, Dance, and Classical Physics.
photo: Noah Molica
The verb "inhabit" holds significant power for her, especially when related to architecture and urban planning in general. In this case, she highlights the importance of Gaston Bachelard's writings in "The Poetics of Space" and his thoughts on "The Corner," his reveries, and his wisdom. Certainly, behind the mirror, there is a very special corner with only one wall.
By combining these apparent simplicities, complexity is engendered. This is the nature of "Espelho Movente" – to generate complexities and multiply the diversity of possibilities within the museological space. After all, when this mirror-body moves, it carries with it a reflection of the structure in which it is placed and reflecting, from the inside out and from the outside in. It questions which echoes can still be heard despite the system that silences so many voices on the opaque side of the mirror while amplifying only those that can position themselves in front of it.
As an architect, urban planner, curator, and, most importantly, as an artist, she acknowledges and honors the necessary desire to engage in the process of updating festivals and exhibitions. As a cisgender woman, part of the LGBTQI+ community, she not only understands but genuinely believes in the pluralization of experiences, bodies, images, voices, and narratives. This belief allows us, as a group, to build bridges through the possible tools to navigate these times that are already upon us and those in the future.