Sara Rodrigues & Rodrigo B. Camacho

‘Fluctuations: Missa Pro Defunctis (2018-ongoing)

Performative Installation, 3 hours


Sara Rodrigues and Rodrigo B. Camacho have been collaborating for various years, taking on

projects with various social and political stances. Together they run the New Maker Ensemble,

experimenting since 2014 with forms of new music and performance art through a permeable

culture of interdisciplinary, standing holistically and investigativley before an ever-changing

environment in its multiple dimensions. Through an ecological thinking on the way that various

forms of interaction, resistance and violence can take place, they are interested in how

communication, perception and cultural production/reproduction influence our understanding and actions in the world. Later this year they will be embarking on a Permaculture design for action course with Graham Burnett, leading them on the continuous path of discovery.


About the work:

Equipped with protective suits, gloves, gas masks, dissection kits, pipettes and coverslips, two figures collect samples of the various living species that they find in public urban spaces. The residue of their action consists on a collection of coverslips, preserving the living remains of a world in sudden change.  


Each body carries a portable speaker, through which Missa pro Defunctis (1639) by Duarte Lobo can be heard. The mass has been slowed down and its text substituted by the scientific latin names of the species extinct to date. The female voices (Sara) sing the appearance of new species, while the male voices (Rodrigo) sing their extinction.


On one hand, the sophistication of sixteenth century Portuguese polyphony washes most humans with a spirituous sense of unfathomable wonder. On the other, the white full-body protective suits and the precise use of dissecting tools, remount to a recent cultural legacy of total belief in positivism, control over and separation from the environment. Not without some degree of estrangement, warm gestures and cold examination coexist. Bringing the audience to a state of inquisitive contemplation, the piece asks us to reflect upon a future that remains uncertain and that requires urgent attentiveness. 


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