I leave my house here.
I have to go.
When I left my house,
I knew that I would never come back again.
My house: integration of thoughts, memories and signs.
My corner of the Universe.
Solitude and aggregation.
I huddle into myself. I make myself small for the last time
to feel the place that I’m going to leave,
to feel again the voices of the past that echo back from the walls.
I record the last images, the last smells,
the last sounds.
I leave my house to the wind.
Let it do whatever it wants to the house.
Goodbye home. Goodbye.
Today, in this cold autumn, one part of me dies.
I don’t know to which place I will go.
I just can say that I already feel it.
Mooste, 3rd October 2008
Pesa means “nest” in Estonian. The bird builds its nest with the body itself: it mixes the founded materials using both its beak and saliva, then it presses them with its breast and locks them up until they are docile and malleable. In this way, the bird imposes a form to the nest: by continuously going around and pressing its breast against the wall, it gives to the house the form of a circle.
The nest has always been the symbol of the house. The house is the man himself, his form and his effort to build it and keep it firm. The house is our refuge: we have found corners inside of it where we huddle up and make ourselves smaller, where we hide ourselves like when we were children and we chose some special places to play.
The house is a place of integration of thoughts, experiences and memories and it is for this reason that a deep malaise pervades us when we are forced to abandon it forever.
The silence of an empty house is disarming. The silence of our house spoiled by our wealth, it is even more. Our memory will try to fill the emptiness that pervades us with the voices and the sounds of the past. Our future dwelling, our new nest, will remember a little bit what we left and soon our abandoned house will become just an image, will be just a faded memory, like a distant dream that will always live inside us to remember us how we were.
Pesa is a project dedicated to the house, to the childhood house, to all the houses we have abandoned during our life. It is a praise of melancholia.
Pesa is a three-channel video installation conceived in response to a site-specific performance that the artist developed at Moks, an artist residency in Estonia, between September and October 2008. “To choose places that I feel and make nests on each one using the found materials and my saliva. To abandon the nest. To interpret the sense of a place with my voice”. (Manuela Barile)
PESA#1 documents the performance in Estonia. It is splitted into three screens and shows the distance covered to reach the chosen place, the construction of the nests and the details of the various locations. The circular rhythm of the video recalls the one that the bird does in its nest. By continuously going around and pressing its breast against the wall, it gives to the house the form of a circle.
The image of the nest is associated to the image of the simple house, the childhood house, to which always we come back or we dream to come back like the bird that comes back to its nest.
PESA#2 and PESA#3 describe the immediate reaction to the abandon represented by the feeling of melancholy.
The melancholy is the black mood, it is like a veil that drops over things. “Melancholy is the happiness of being sad” said Victor Hugo. As a matter of fact, melancholy is a feeling that is beyond happiness, beyond pain, but at the same time it contains both of them. Melancholy is a sweet oblivion that has as its generative source not only the pain, but also the pleasure and it is closely connected to our frailty. To precipitate into melancholy means getting lost but without really sink into despair. It is mourning without death. It is a vague sadness, from which we do not recover, which sometimes we do not even try to heal because of a sweet satisfaction that often accompanies it.
PESA#2 underlines that pleasure, a pleasure embodied in the slowness. Melancholy is the passion of the slowness, is to look inside us and deep listen to both the world and ourselves. It is to caress the face with a dry leaf while we are still like a monk in a cell. If I think of a way to define the melancholy with a movement, it comes to my mind the waves. The coming and going of the sea, this cradle of sorrow, it comes and goes. The movement that seeks a consolation, the waggle of the funeral lamentation. The movement that takes you and leaves you, that gives you and takes you away. Here is the birth of the video PESA#3, where I abandon myself to the melancholy, to the pleasure of the sadness materialized in the dry leaves. This pleasure is not a destructive pleasure, but it is one that imagines new worlds, that elaborates them with the aim of building them. Melancholy is therefore an opening towards the realization. To abandon a place is not only to leave a part of ourselves, but it is also to leave a part of ourselves to others who lived the experience with us. It is to abandon a place and to go in search of a new home where there is someone else ready to welcome you, someone else to whom you will abandon yourself again.
The video installation is composed by:
– PESA#1, a video projected on a wall that documents the performance in Estonia (the distance covered to reach the chosen place, the construction of the nests, the details of the various locations)
– PESA#2 and PESA#3, two videos projected one in front of the other. In the first video you see the performer rolling continually in a field of dry leaves, while in the second you see the performer gently caress her face with a dry leaf
– A sound composition made by:
– Sounds of the performer’s voice without electronic manipulation and effects. It was recorded live through a binaural microphone in places where the nests were constructed and then abandoned
– Field recordings made in the places described above
– Excerpt of an Estonian traditional song
– A poem wrote by the artist translated in Estonian
Original Idea and Artistic Director: Manuela Barile
Vocal Performer and Sound Compositions: Manuela Barile
Field Recordings: Manuela Barile
Video Footage and Editing: Manuela Barile
Photos: Manuela Barile
Spoken Voice: Evelyn Müürsepp
Singer: Anna Hints
Sound Post Production: Rui Costa (Portugal)
Artist Residency: Moks (Estonia) – Sept/Oct. 2008
Production: Luis Costa & Carina Martins (Binaural)
Support: Portuguese Ministry of Culture
Photos of some nests made by the artist and places where she abandoned them
Video stills of Pesa #1
Video stills of Pesa #2
Video still of Pesa #3
Exibition view “Pesa” at Museu da Bienal de Cerveira, Vila Nova de Cerveira (Portugal). Photo by Maile Colbert, 2009
Pesa installation view at Museu da Bienal de Cerveira, Vila Nova de Cerveira (Portugal). Photo by Carina Martins, 2009
Video excpert of Pesa #1