words of love

This past week Rosa and I have been working with Catalan visual artist Núria Güell, to help her finalise and perform a new and difficult piece of her public work, titled Paraules d’amor – commissioned this time by a big theatrical institution, the Teatre Nacional de Catalunya in Barcelona, as part of an experimental programme of new works asked to explore ideas and understandings of ‘love’.

The premise of this particular work was simple enough: to invite a diverse group of people who have experienced or been convicted of violence they consider to have been motivated by love, as they understand that, to work with a writer to articulate their passions and actions as a poem; and then to stage a public meeting and reading of those texts, by and with their authors themselves.

The reality was always, and intentionally, going to be much more complex…

We’ve been working together over the past months to help Núria find a form and structure for the public event of that reading and meeting – shaping an open social situation where we might all feel comfortable enough to be able to really meet and listen to each other, to share ideas and descriptions of things that we might more usually avoid, and to see where that might take us.

And this last weekend, a few hundred of us gathered in a reconfigured theatre auditorium to do just that. It absolutely happened, and in ways that felt as strangely familiar and easy as they were surprising and unsettling… And for those of us there, the ripples and questions are going to be coming back for some time.

Which was, of course, the hope, and the point…

Process and publicity teaser video for the project ‘Paraules d’amor’ by Núria Güell, 2024