“Paranoias de Paya*” (paya is how gypsies call to the white people), is a series of small actions with which I have started each of my sessions at the Montes Orientales High School in Iznalloz (Granada, Spain), within the program Mus-e of the Yehudi Menuhim Spain Foundation (FYME). I have been lucky to work on this project and to share my way of understanding art with the girls and boys 13 to 15 years old, together with their art teachers. The title is taken from the expression: “teacher, you are already with your ‘payo’ paranoias!”, that a student from this center reacted to a proposal from a teacher, and which reflects the usual practice of calling “paranoia” to things that other people do and we do not understand.
The initial objective of this series of small actions was none other than getting them to pay attention to me for a few minutes. After the initial uncertainty, I achieved my purpose, and even that every day there was some expectation for the new action of the teacher. Some groups watched in silence and others commented excited my movements, getting to create interest and curiosity to them.
Another goal to carry out these actions was to show little by little the language of performance art, because the best way to get to understand, respect and even feel interested in this artistic expression, is to witness it live. And with each new action I have observed how they have progressively integrated what I do; without wondering so much, but without losing interest.
Finally, it is important to note that after living these experiences, I have understood, together with the teachers, that the true value of these actions (as well as the related activities that we have carried out) is to show and invite to experience everything that comes out of what is considered “normal” I am very interested that the girls and boys with whom I have had the luck to work see and do “weird things”, “meaningless things”, “nonsense” … in fact, they have learned the meaning of “the absurd”, one of my favorite concepts both in art and in life, since what we do not understand from an intellectual point of view, often connects us with another part of us more related to the unconscious, emotional, visceral …
As an artist, perform these performances in front of such a spontaneous audience, that sometimes exclaims in full action “Teather, you’re crazy! What are you doing ?! “has been an enormously enriching experience. This has allowed me to share my work and my way of understanding art and life beyond the circuits of art, in which one feels safe and sheltered. It has been a challenge and at the same time a way to bring contemporary art to a population that hardly has access to this type of artistic manifestations.
Next, I will briefly describe the six actions that I have carried out, of which is to see a photograph and a drawing of Antonio, a student who drew each action. These wonderful schemes explain each step graphically and with annotations, thus becoming pieces of great documentary value. Each action was made at the beginning of the session, without saying a word previously, after the same, we talked about what had happened and what they had felt or suggested.
I am very grateful to Montes Orientales High School and to the Yehudi Menuhim Foundation for trusting in my work and giving me the opportunity to live this enriching experience.
Action 9: Circle.
I build a circle using the length of my body as a measure, like a compass. We sit inside. It serves as an introduction to an activity in which we measure objects, spaces and other bodies using body parts as units of measurement.
Action 8: Nose.
I contour the tip of my nose with a cord. I hang a piece of paper on which I draw an arrow pointing to the nose. I stick a plastic eye on the tip.
Action 7: Mop.
I have an object inside a black cloth bag over my head that I put inside my sweater (turn 360º slowly). I take out the end of the object by the neck of the sweater and whistle inside (I turn again). I take out the object slowly (a mop) and move it in front of my face until I place it on my head (I turn again). Finally, I throw the mop to the floor with a shake of the head. (There is no drawing of Antonio today…)
Action 6: Postures.
I put myself in different positions in different places of the classroom, playing with the relationship of the body in space and with the elements. Then I speak to each boy and girl in their ear so that they also occupy the space, thus linking with the activity of that day.
Action 5: Keys.
I put keys on the floor forming a sort of mandala. I wrap around the waist transparent seal inside out. I lie on top of the keys and stick to the seal. I cut it from behind and put it on my face, as if it were a mask. Finally, I paste it on the blackboard.
Action 4: Heart.
I inflate a heart balloon to the maximum. I tie a knot. I hug him strong, strong until he explodes. I had to help myself with a pin because there was no way to exploit it. In a group they wanted to try it and they could not either.
Action 3: Precinct.
Short pieces of seal that I place over my mouth, my ears, and my eyes. Drawing on them a cut line, a spiral, and some crosses respectively. I take them off and stick them on the blackboard.
Action 2: Gloves.
I put one over another more than fifteen clear plastic gloves until the hand is not visible. After I approach each girl and boy and I give them my hand, looking at their eyes.
Action 1: Chair.
I sit on a chair and start to tie myself to her with a ball of yarn, slowly. I ask for help to help tie my arms. I talk to them from the chair.