STEREOPRESENCE / Cristina Maldonado

performance length: 70 min

Stereopresence is a visual essay exploring the ambiguous boundaries between the physical and the immaterial, the real and the imagined, the present and the absent. The performance, inspired by early video art experimentation, captures a “dual-channel” presence that is simultaneously real and virtual, exploring the symptoms of degenerative memory that accompany senility and dementia and delving into imagined worlds, both private and collective.

Performance at 4PM is in English with Sodja Zupanc Lotker performing. Performance at 8PM is in Czech with Petra Hauerová performing.

Stereopresence is a part of Mala inventura festival 2018.

When I was 9 years old I was woken up by my grandmother after midnight. She was walking in the hall, speaking. I went to bring her back to bed, but when she saw me she started pointing at the empty wall, describing all the pots and kitchen utensils that were hanging there. “What pots, grandma? There's nothing there.” “There, that one. That’s the one Mom uses for cooking beans.” I stood there, by her side, and decided not to pull her into my world, the real one. Oh, what a burden! I wanted to sleep, to go back to bed! But instead I remained in her world, the one she had pulled from the past and placed there in the exact proportions of the hall. I listened attentively to her descriptions, and for one moment I was tempted to believe that I could also see what she was seeing, as if her certainty was contagious... It was fantastic; somehow I felt so close to her, to what she had once been. I kept this intimate moment with grandma for myself, as if it had been a private journey into her land. This year, I found my 86-year-old father talking to microphotographs, addressing them as if they were people, not knowing he has five children.

Dementia and other degenerative symptoms related to senility are considered a disease in our society. There is no “cure” for them. Experts say with certainty that this world, our real world, is all there is. But let us imagine dementia as a supremely mysterious form of presence, the ability to inhabit multiple worlds; or perhaps it is nature’s way of helping us step away from the reality we all agree upon so that we may transit to the inner place from which we will depart, a place to which no one can accompany us.

Concept, video and installation: Cristina Maldonado
Performance: Cristina Maldonado, Sodja Zupanc Lotker/Petra Hauerová, Lamija Čehajić
Dramaturgy: Sodja Zupanc Lotker
Dramaturgical consultant: Petra Hauerová
Lighting design and media: Šimon Janíček and Vladimír Burian
Sound: Israel López and Tomáš Procházka
Contraptions: Isabela Juchniewicz and Dragan Stojčevski
Production: JEDEFRAU.ORG, Stereopresence z. s.
Production assistant: Isabela Juchniewicz
Supported by: the City of Prague, Czech Ministry of Culture; Motus, producers of the Alfred ve dvoře theatre
Thanks to volunteers: Isabel Vizcaíno, Selma Lindren, Bria de la Mare, Sara Milner, Jenni Kokkomäki, Ioana Mona Popovici

Cristina Maldonado is a Mexican artist whose background in dance and body movement influences her unique approach to her visual and conceptual experiments in video, sound, collage and performance. Her work unites experimental theater, dance, participatory art, and new and old media. Since 2000 she has directed and created performances on her own and in collaboration with artists from different disciplines.

Sodja Zupanc Lotker works as a dramaturg for independent theatre, dance and site-specific projects (with Farm in the Cave, Lotte van den Berg, TAAT, and Kristýna Lhotáková). She is the course leader for the master’s program in “Directing Devised and Object Theatre” at the Theatre Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (DAMU), and was the artistic director of the Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space from 2008 to 2015 (where she collaborated with such artists as Claudia Bosse, Arpad Schilling, Societas Rafaello Sanzio, and Brett Bailey).

Maldonado and Lotker first worked together in 2003, and since then have created various interactive performances that challenge the forms and media by which experiences are delivered to the audience, for instance through headphone installations, mobile phones in the public space, and more.