Tío Jose

Improvised Performance – Direction by Soeine Bac, Performance by Soeine Bac & Carlos Suarez: 30 March 2019 at Centro Párraga (Murcia, Spain)

(Work developed during the Residency Programme of AADK Spain)

“Tío Jose” was created in collaboration with Spanish sound artist Carlos Suárez as part of my artist’s residency in March 2019 at Centro Negra (Blanca, Spain). I used the title “Tío Jose” as a generic term for the nameless men that are sacrificed to the ideologies of governing elites.

I was initially inspired by a traditional Korean dance intended for the spirits of dead souls that roam around, trapped in this human world, unable to travel to the other world. The dance attempts to console the spirits so they can travel to that other world. I wanted to create my own modern version, after I learned about a grave next to Centro Negra. Tío Jose died in 1937, which is one year after the Spanish Civil War. The performance was dedicated to Tío Jose, whom I regarded as a symbolic reference to all people who suffered and died during the Civil War, or all wars. Although the overarching theme is universal, the making of the work was based on the locality of the component, i.e., the soundscape of the place, and the story. 

As an artist who primarily uses bodily movement, I think of myself as a medium or messenger within the physical world, a kind of shaman connecting the world of pure matter with the world of human artifacts. In “Tío Jose”, I danced for the spirit of Tío Jose as if I were visiting different places in Blanca, accompanied by soundscapes composed partly of sounds sampled from those same places, and going through his memories, which I imagined. In this way, his spirit could be consoled and travel to the other world.