Maria Cosmes. Performances 1


" In communitarian societies, in which the existence of man implies an oath of fidelity to the group, to the cosmos, to nature, the body does not exist as an element of individuation since the individual is not distinguished from the group: at best it is a singularity within the differential harmony of the group. Conversely, the isolation of the body in Western societies [...] speaks to us of a social framework in which man is separated from the cosmos, from others and from himself. Western societies made the body a possession rather than a strain of identity. The distinction between the body and the human presence is the historical inheritance of the fact that the perception of the person has been isolated from the communitarian and cosmic component, and the effect of the rupture that took place in man. "

David Le Breton. “Antropología del cuerpo y modernidad”

The fundamental question of the human sciences revolves around the possibility and end of society, the moulds of nature and the artifices of culture, the complaints and doubts of human learning. And the direction of this knowledge, as Epicurus reminds us, must have no other aim, if it does not want to succumb to the weight of its own gravity, than that of curing suffering. Because the knowledge of the resources and relations of men is so serious that it either goes towards its remedy or succumbs under its immobilistic realism, necessarily disheartening, absurd.

Ignasi Terradas, “Mal natural, mal social”

If I wanted to point out in a few words what goes through all of Maria Cosmes' work, I would speak about the quest for one's own identity through relationships between people, a vital need to be elsewhere and leave the pain behind.

Evidently, such a broad and ambiguous definition for a performance career of more than fifteen years inevitably needs many nuances. What has changed over time has been both the perception of his own identity and the quality and intensity of the relationships he has established with people within his performances. Based on these assumptions, I have articulated this itinerary through her artistic work. The groupings and the titles given are my itinerary proposal.

In his work there is no simple aesthetic experimentation but, over all, a search for the potential evocations that his actions can provoke, creating a coherent universe with three parallel and superimposed levels: formal, conceptual and symbolic. We do not find a use of materials with a unique and univocal symbol-signified relationship, the references are always multiple. Maria talks about using "cultural materials" in her performances, elements that are found around us and that she mobilizes in her actions to create a temporal microcosm of interpersonal relations. When we talk about them, we can focus specially on a certain aspect, but it doesn't have to be universally interpreted in the same way, since there are many levels of apprehension of her work. Each one of his performances requires its material, its time, its space and its own movements, particular and unique, that which provokes a maximum in the expression with a minimum of elements. In the genesis of their actions, the first is the idea - more than an idea, an image - and from there the creative process starts. Rather than research or experimentation, we should speak of search, an inseparable set formed by elements, concepts, symbolisms, emotions and evocations.

A hasty and superficial reading of his work could take us back to a concept tied to his training as an anthropologist, the performer as mediator or shaman. Actually, as the public ceases to be a participant -active or passive- in their actions, and even more importantly, the performer ceases to be the center of attention that performs or presents their action, to also become another participant within the small temporary social structure that is formed within the performance. The term that best defines Maria's function in her actions would be a concept taken from chemistry: that of catalyst, since due to her intervention a reaction is produced, a reaction that otherwise would not have occurred. If, as Esther Ferrer says, performance is the art of presence, in the case of Maria Cosmes, her performance is not only unthinkable without her presence, but above all, it is impossible without the presence of the others.

There is a point at which a private thought, after having been conceived, either vanishes or fits into a previously arranged framework of connections between the already accumulated. It then remains part of the local environment that traps future thoughts and holds them firmly. This process is culture in action. What is that framework made of? To what extent is it stable? How does it end up dissolving?" 2

This quotation from the English anthropologist Mary Douglas corroborates an intuition, or rather a conviction, that I have long held: that performance, working with "cultural materials" is not only capable of re-creating but, above all, of creating cultural values. 3 . This reflection is for me closely related to Maria Cosmes' work in the field of performance, since it links her artistic work, her vision of what these "cultural materials" are and her training as an anthropologist.

The first of the groups into which I have divided her work that basically coincides with her first performances, Presences, plays with a more personal level of relationships, in which she is presented, discovered, made to be discovered, made to be seen, emerges from within. It is the first connection with the other. He offers the presence of his body to others, he gives himself to them, he seeks the approach to create a bond, weak in the beginning, which will later become a relationship.

Le Breton, speaking about the way in which the subjects of our western society represent the body says: " The rationalized universe is inhabitable when the symbolic dimension is missing. The disenchanted world aspires to new spiritualities: a process of re-symbolization is exercised that often functions as a simulacrum, object of considerable psychological inversion and is based on a wide range of representations of the body uprooted from its original soil, of philosophy and of the ways of life that gave it meaning, simplified, sometimes, until reaching the caricature, transformed into technical procedures... Through the revaluation of the body, the imaginary takes revenge. [...] The subject of the western metropolises forges the knowledge he possesses about the body, with which he lives daily, from a mixture of heteroclite models, better or worse assimilated, without worrying about the compatibility of loans. [...] The subject rarely has a coherent image of the body, transforms it into a fabric full of diverse references. No theory of the body is the object of unanimity without fail. As the individual has the possibility of choosing between a quantity of possible knowledges, he oscillates between one and the other without ever finding the one that suits him totally. His freedom as an individual, his creativity, are nourished by this lack of certainty, by the permanent search for a lost body which is, in fact, that of a lost community. 4

Disproving in a certain way this negative vision of Le Breton, the effort to resymbolize the body in Maria's work generates a continuous, coherent and overall unified image between person and body, always in a communitarian way, and constitutes in my opinion one of the most important contributions of her work

In Gazes , she reveals herself to others in uncomfortable or anomalous situations, situations in which she struggles to leave a subtle trace face to the indifference of others, showing herself and demonstrating her existence, even to those who refuse to recognise her.

She plays with the gaze in actions such as Reflection (2004) or The other's eyes (2002), in which the mirrors that cover her totally or partially return to the public that observes her own image, being defined herself in the ambiguity of what others see and of what they do not see. In these and other performances, Maria Cosmes introduces an element of vulnerability, working with blindfolded eyes, blind and defenseless, disoriented after spending long periods in the dark in sometimes indefinite spaces, almost always unknown; she also does so, for example, in Traces (2002)in which she marks with perfumes and essences spaces and people she encounters in her blind wandering.

Also in actions such as A summer Sunday in Innsmouth (2001), in which he covers his half-naked body with green clay on a family beach a summer day, we find this relationship with people who doesn't know what was happening and who sneak around; we establish a relationship of glances, the relationship of looking at the stranger, or rather, the relationship of looking at him without wanting to do so, or without wanting to be discovered.

In Incarnations , she embodies its search for identity in recognizing that it is always built in relation to others, in front of them, without a mask or with the mask of others. The body is present with a clear conscience that everything falls on him and on the person, on the own representation, the one that the others and the culture make and the one that oneself makes with the acquired load. The incarnations are the projected identity, they speak of impositions and obligations, as much the cultural as those demanded by interpersonal relationships, by autobiographical experience and by daily life.

In The skin (2004) she reconstructs herself from the physical, in this case her face, by the superimposition of latex masks of the faces of a group of voluntary people. In the series of actions Lesson of kinship 1 and Lesson of kinship 2 (2001 and 2004) she defines herself as a social being through her personal relationships, rewriting her relationships, more symbolic than real, over an image of her naked body.

In Woman, object of the action (1998) verbs of obligation are projected on his moving body as he approaches the audience and explains to them a brief text on the passive acceptance of victimization by the weakest. In And he made them in his own likeness? (2009) she hits a wall made of clay with a whip and invites participants to do the same and then, on the marked clay, are projected images of the ideals of male and female bodies according to the classical canons and of her own naked body.

In the second group of performances, Relationships , she plays more with the cultural aspect of relations. Here the participants are introduced directly into the performance, creating an exceptional, differentiated and unique space. This group of works constitutes the core and the fundamental leitmotiv of Maria Cosmes' work, approached from a multiplicity of angles, both with respect to interpersonal relationships and in relation to their consequences. There are relationships with groups, more anonymous, but also person to person. The risk, the violence, the fear, the distrust, but also the softness and the sweetness, the kindness are appreciated in them, all of them inherent components of human relations.

Mary Douglas, speaking of the body, says: " "Dignity register" could be a good way to designate the distance from the real body as an expression of respect. The range between respect and intimacy projects a spatial indicator of social use. Similarly, linguists have observed that in language, the distance taken from bodily functions and body parts projects respect or lack of respect. The distance indicator can provide complex information, not only about a single value for respect, but also about highly differentiated relationships [...]. ".

And she adds: " All communicative behavior displays a broad analogical structure and in greater or lesser extent the body is always concerned. The pattern of respect based on distance is only one dimension. Theoretically, the number of models is infinite. [...] The systematically graduated differences in clothing, food and speech correspond to systematically graduated differences in social relations. " 5

In Fears she explores fear in one's own or other people's relationships, rational or irrational, not as much related to the violence of acts as to dealing with strangers.

In El miedo del loco a la casca (2001) or in Bust (things I never apologized for)> (2003), she offers herself to the public so that with a scalpel they cut the dress she is wearing: she is exposed to her maximum vulnerability, but - and this is what is fundamental in these actions - she has foreseen the possibility that the harm can be remedied in the event that it occurs; this concept of "reparation", together with that of "offering" or "gift", are other important contributions of Maria Cosmes' work. In A drink (2001) she also establishes a relationship that can harm her, by drinking wine in the broken glasses that the participants fill. In Fear (2005), this relationship of "trust" is established through the food offered to the participants, who must eat it without knowing what that "unknown" woman offers them; fear that is transmuted into surprise when they recognize the flavor; surprise that in some cases is increased when they know what they have eaten, since many of the participants, undoubtedly influenced by fear, have been unable to identify what they have eaten.

In Communities that relationship with others is made through objects that become mediating agents of the action that, starting from the participants, are elaborated by the performer and returned in a different way. Here, the concepts of impurity and danger in that contact with strangers play a fundamental role, developing another of the important aspects in their work: that of trust, by placing themselves in culturally uncomfortable situations or reducing the interpersonal distance that defines our culture, avoiding on the other hand to recreate in any morbid attitude.

In Community (2004) she represents the ritual of Catholic communion. The use of consecrated objects does not obey any case to a profaning intention but to the fact that they are part of the "cultural materials" that form part of our particular patrimony. In this way the fact that all human relations are always permeated by the economy is more forcefully emphasized, thus removing basic concepts of the social and cultural structure of the world in which we live. In (x-a, y-b, z-c) (2003) she collects the wishes and thoughts that the participants have written on small pieces of paper, which are glued to their chest. Once collected, she then chews them to regurgitate them in the form of a paper paste made with his own saliva and creates a sphere, a globe that he places on a support and that represents a world made up of a sum of collective hopes.

´Liens (2001-2002) is a very complex series that developed in seven parts over two years in different locations. In it it creates a situation that forces people to move in a harmonious and rhythmic way, to collaborate so as not to suffer damage with the ropes that keep them tied by the neck in front of a random factor that is the performer itself, which moves between the ropes. This long series of works speaks above all of relationships and ties (in French, liens) with others (in English aliens). The title comes from the synthesis of both terms, to emphasize the infinite complexity and ambiguity of human relations.

'Liens is an artistic and personal process of search and investigation of new models of relationship between people, in which the feedback of the participating public conditions the development of each of the parts. Maria Cosmes' narration of the whole process and its unexpected end is a very clear example of her creative method in showing the interrelationship between image, realization, reflection, feedback and writing, a terrain she is currently developing.

In Lost children (series 'liens) (2003) it is the people who must also deduce the need to collaborate in order to free the performer from the ropes that cover her head, and in which the participants are at the end physically tied to her with the opposite ends of the ropes tied to her heart.

While we were sewing reflects very well the subterranean violence behind all relationships, being however a work of extreme delicateness.

By including gloves as a central element in these performances, he introduces a concept of extraordinary strength, the physical representation of the hand: an element of humanisation, of relationship (visible, for example, in the fact of shaking hands or holding hands), closer but, at the same time, endowed with an ambiguity as much or stronger than the strings he previously used. The hands are the human tools par excellence, which allow the human being to create, but they are also instruments of defence or aggression.

The passage from strings to gloves is equivalent to the transition from abstract relationships to more concrete, physical, human-scale relationships. It is, therefore, a different approach to this complex, more sensorial world, in which participants can touch each other, going one step beyond the representation of relationships by forcing participants into direct contact, which in our society is not always comfortable.

But there's not just a relational component to the gloves. They are both containers and protectors, isolating direct skin contact; they are man-made and emphasize our shape. Thus a humanization is introduced, a personalization, without abandoning the infinity of possible evocations, conceptually and plastically. Gloves, in addition to elements of union, constitute a factor of separation.

In her performance While we were sewing (2006-2007), she forms a circle of six volunteers and puts on them pink rubber kitchen gloves. Little by little he sews the gloves together, including his own, as she is also part of the action. With the threads and gloves he weaves a complex web of possible connections and relationships between people. Finally he threads the gloves to the chairs, while the participants withdraw. Thus, at the end of the performance there is a structure formed by the gloves intertwined at the height of the hands of the participants, filling the void that they have left and that still remains after finishing the action.

At Untitled (2006-2007), performance that must be understood as a continuation or complement of the previous one, the threads to join the participants with the gloves are substituted by long nails, in which the participants are placed in more or less uncomfortable positions, nailed to the wall, forming a human chain to which she adds at the end with her own glove, remaining united all of them. It is a union of a violent appearance, but very delicate in its execution. The action ends when the participants finally come out of the gloves of their own free will. Here again an element of chance appears: if they come out abruptly, they tear off the gloves from the wall, if they are removed carefully, they remain nailed to the guise of installation, tracing an imaginary line of dots that marks the path of union between all of them.

A new element appears here, which goes beyond the creation of an ephemeral space while its actions take place, to create a lasting physical space as a result of the action, a tangible physical metaphor of the conceptual process of the realization of the performance, which gives the action a second permanent life in time, beyond the memory of the participants. It is not a question, however, of remains of action, but of independent works, derived from the parallel time and space created by the performance.

In this action, as in much of her work, Maria Cosmes highlights the violence that lies behind every relationship: that which is involved in approaching others and that which presupposes allowing others to approach. Violence that is deaf, contained, neither verbalized nor explicit, but which she treats with exquisite care. Many of the elements in her actions are apparently violent, but behind that aspect is always the will to take care of the participants.

The series of performances with gloves had a second life when they were adapted to carry out educational activities for children, always achieving very interesting results, especially with regard to the children's reflection on the concept of relationship and life in common through play.

While the above-mentioned performances generally involve several people, those that I group together in Between two are designed to be performed by the performer and a volunteer, establishing a relationship of additional intimacy that sometimes reinforces the discomfort and violence that culturally causes us face to face with strangers.

Between two (2007), an intimate performance, designed to be performed by Maria and a male volunteer, creates a daily situation between both participants, an appointment, an encounter, a relationship it is not known if short or long, if it starts or not... While the encounter takes place, some false nails are glued, with the help of the partner and the narration of a story is produced that is inaccessible for the audience, until their red nails are joined by red threads. The image of her hands joined by those subtle colored threads moving little by little generates an image of an intensely ambiguous sexual charge.

Farewell is a breakup, now friendly. Once again we find recurring themes, relationships, rapprochement and separation, that violence of which I spoke earlier. The act of cutting the nails is an ordinary act, but in this context it becomes something violent. What has been joined at the beginning is cut and then reversed, with a certain impudence, by invading the intimacy of the other when he cuts nails, a banal act but certainly very private. In the end, only the pieces of nail of both are left on the table, joined by the red threads, the remains of that relationship.

Another aspect to highlight is the double reading, formal and conceptual, of the physical disposition of the people and elements in this performance: Maria and her collaborator sitting on both sides of a table while the rest of the audience is farther away. A video projector connected to a camera next to the table allows us to see in detail the subtle game between the two people, which unfold for the audience in two images: their relationship of intimacy to real size from a distance and the enlarged detail of their hands on the table. In spite of this, they know that in no case are they really capturing the essence of what happens at the table: games of glances, conversations in low voice . In short, a paradox: multiple points of view to achieve an incomplete vision of reality.

In Le lien est rouge (2003-2004), in the same line of intimate performances, a person-to-person bond is established, from which I would like to highlight the connotations of impurity and danger in contact, of fear and desire, an intense tension of a sexual nature and the fragile but powerful bonds established between people, who become entangled, who approach or flee, united by the red threads they let go and recover from their mouths.

In Socialities I have grouped together a series of more recent works that deal with sociability and socialization. In this case, it starts from the cultural roles assigned to resignify if not directly subvert them 6. It is not possible to overlook the socializing role traditionally assigned to women, a role that in these works Maria Cosmes transgresses or violates when she turns it around (she talks about twisting the symbols).

In the performatic process The seamstress (2005), Maria Cosmes recovers elements from previous performances to give them a new life - and here the fundamental concept of "reparation" is introduced again, although this time in a literal sense. In this process, she starts from the broken pieces of the dress torn in Bust (things I never apologized for) and the red threads used in Le lien est rouge . The action consists of reconstructing the dress with these threads, sewing in the display cabinet of a gallery, in the sight of those who pass through the street, while images of both actions are projected on a large screen. It also plays with a very important cultural element, extracted from classical mythology, the myth of Las Parcas, those that weave the thread of man's destiny and decide on it. Maria opposes this fatalistic idea with an imaginary and at the same time real figure of the Seamstress who repairs the dress torn by life, reflecting here two fundamental concepts in her artistic work: "repair" and, especially, "modesty". At the end of the process, she presents herself to everyone, with the dress mended, with some missing piece and with very loose seams due to her own body change; in spite of everything, she is the living image that this "repair" that she has claimed so much is possible; but she also reveals something deeper that subtly underlies throughout her work: the search for identity, for how to construct one's own person, an identity that is always constructed in relation to others.

There is still a deeper aspect that I want to highlight in this "repair": despite the care with which he collected and kept the remains of the dress after the performance Bust , while recovering for The seamstress she realized that a large triangular-shaped piece was missing in the pubic area, which she had to complete with the red threads and sewing reels she had used in the performance Le lien est rouge. The hole covered in this way thus contains a strong symbolic load in terms of impurity and danger, since the vacuum of sex is covered by the reels and threads that had passed through the mouths of the participants in this last performance, thus having a double load of sexual ambiguity, another of the forms that interpersonal relations take.

Manual of elegance and efficiency always and everywhere (2009) uses common elements that have implicitly a very specific symbology - what she calls "cultural materials" - such as ties, attributes of a male culture and status. Her use within this performance to construct a dress that she strips off and ties the participants, both women and men, represents in a very powerful way the kind in which we are constrained by socially imposed conventions.

The host (2010), on the other hand, resorts to stereotypes of what women should be, which are extensively collected in urbanity manuals, presenting her tied to thin rubber strings attached to the physical space of the gallery, which limit their freedom of movement while fulfilling their role of receiving participants.

In Fleeting encounters (2005) the elastic bands were also small but strong ties against which, on this occasion, the performer had to fight to get closer to the others to receive them with a greeting and a smile in a cold and austere space.

Saeta (2008) is a private photo performance, whose documentation is not fully published by the artist's wish. In this work, produced with the help of Braxter Cain, relationships play a central role once again. Relationships within the work that are expressed in the photographic composition and in the games of glances between the two models, but also meta-artistic relationships, such as the couple relationship between performer and model -related to the theme of the work- or the brief but intense power relationship that is established between the apparently unarmed performer and the technical team, that which is not seen in the work. On the other hand, on a conceptual level, another constant of Maria Cosmes' work appears, the use of what she calls "cultural materials". Because the Saeta is full of references to the imaginary of popular culture, to the one who asks for "a ladder to climb the wood to remove the nails of Jesus the Nazarene" 7. To this she adds an image that reminds me of baroque paintings, showing an almost androgynous face that will only reveal its mystery at the end, by revealing its naked body. And to all these soft and delicate images he contrasts the apparent visual brutality of bondage. As always in her performances, without concessions, she introduces this element of cut, of contrast, an element that is part of our culture, even if it wants to hide, and remains hanging for forty-five minutes. It is not as much a test of resistance as a demonstration of coherence: it is a necessary act. As in all Maria Cosmes' work, the Saeta is full of evocations. Each image refers us to multiple interpretations. A quick reading could leave us with the idea of an inversion of the scene of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. But if we go deeper into the analysis we will see that the work is richer and more complex, since Maria Cosmes within the photoperformance is both the crucified Christ and the announcing angel as the Madonna who looks at the son with pity: vulnerable and yet powerful. Once again, the elements used take on a central symbolic importance, minimal elements charged with meaning. Maria suspended by the ropes and covered only by a red cloth, which will end up falling, to show herself in her leap forward, while the model clings to her own cross of the past.

The weaver (2010), a collaborative performance with Saverio Longo, is inspired by bondage and uses musical quotations as "cultural materials". It is a performance in three parts. The first was recorded in a closed space and shows the process of construction of the string dress. This video is projected at the beginning of the live performance before Saverio and Maria appear, she with the string dress, her arms immobilized and her breasts in the air, he impeccable in his white shirt. After the opening dance they both perform, a waltz, as if it were a wedding, Maria remains motionless in the middle of the room like the dolls of the music boxes so that those attending the event dance with her to the sound of the music that floods the place. The choice of songs is not casual either, the lyrics always speak of relationships between women and men, some romantic, others about fatal women, others about loves that kill. The image of Maria immobilized generated readings opposed among the public, from repulsion - for the image of domination and submission that they seem to transmit - to others of a sexual nature and even feminists. This game of multiple readings is not alien to Maria's intention, since although her work does not seek provocation, she does not want to make any concessions for the sake of maximum rigour and coherence. For her, this work, like all hers, generates questions without giving any answer; whoever finds one is theirs. For Maria, on the contrary, in each work she is assailed by new questions, which generate even more uneasiness, that the action can mitigate only in part. At the end of the performance Saverio delicately frees Maria from the ropes and clothes and, later, from the wig that covers her head, at which point she confesses to felt - for the first time - absolutely naked. In this last part there is a game of three between Maria, Saverio and the strings, in which each of them plays a very special role. The ropes keep the contact between both performers at all times, maintaining their tension is essential not to break abruptly the relationship of devotion and care that has been established between them and are gradually revealing the marks that have left on the body of Maria. Saverio's attentive gaze watches over any sign of the state of that being entrusted to him in custody, while Maria's expression is one of overwhelming beauty, not inexpressive or resignation, on the contrary, of ecstasy 8 .

I would continue with more examples and references, because actually all her work is connected. The artist plays with everything within her reach: an instant, a space, a material, a symbol, an idea, a feeling; this does not mean that she is always talking about the same thing, but that all this serves to create - and this is one of the fundamental elements in all her work - a universe of evocations, as opposed to a closed and univocal conception of art. All her actions are different aspects of herself as an artist, but above all as a person and, therefore, constitute a coherent and multifaceted continuum.


Milan Kundera, in his book "The Curtain. Essay in seven parts" talking about the novel, says:

" Don Quixote explains to Sancho that Homer and Virgil did not describe the characters "as they were, but as they had to be in order to be an example to the coming men of their virtues". Now, Don Quixote himself is anything except an example to follow. Novel characters do not ask to be admired for their virtues. They ask to be understood, which is something completely different. Epic heroes win or, if defeated, retain their greatness to the last breath. Don Quixote has been defeated. And without any greatness. Because, all of a sudden, everything is clear: human life as such is a defeat. The only thing left before this irremediable defeat that we call life is to try to understand it. This is the raison d'être of the art of the novel. "

And later he adds:

" The quotidian. It is not only boredom, futility, repetition, mediocrity; it is also beauty; for example, the sortilege of atmospheres; each one knows it from his own life: a music that comes from the apartment next door and is heard in the distance; the wind that makes the window vibrate; the monotonous voice of a teacher whom a pupil with a bad love hears without listening; these futile circumstances imprint an inimitable singularity on an intimate event that thus remains dated and becomes unforgettable. [...] In theatre, a great action can only be born of another great action. Only the novel knew how to discover the immense and mysterious power of the futile. "

This spirit that Kundera finds in the novel - which, in his view, is the authentic form of modern art - is very similar to what, for me, is the essence of action art: the small acts of everyday life, the small actions, the elemental, the essential. And, above all, to try to understand.

Maria Cosmes is now talking about a redefinition of her position in order to approach a journey within other contexts, of searching within herself for the house of the heart that she has never known or had the opportunity to explore, of abandoning the incessant pursuit of an intangible that has marked her so much, of revisiting places and people and of stopping to reread the vicissitudes.

Carlos Pina
Independent curator
director of eBent, international performance festival of Barcelona (2003-2010)
february 2013

1 When Maria asked me to create her new website, I began to ask myself some questions about the role this medium plays in the context of the diffusion of an artist's work, especially for a performer. Is it an extended curriculum launched into the unknown, with greater or lesser fortune, call it the audience? Perhaps a self-published catalogue? Or perhaps a personalized presentation that she makes to each one of us in the intimacy of our homes? Whatever it is, for this purpose the medium is too much unidirectional. Too many years of experience in networks prove to me that the interrelation is minimal, even non-existent, and always superficial. The antithesis of a work such as Maria's. For that reason, I considered the design of the site not only at technical and formal but also at conceptual level. In this way, I conceived the web as an exhibition and I structured contents not only as a webmaster but also as a curator.

Starting from Maria's work I have designed a conceptual trajectory on some aspects that I consider to be essential in her work. A route that does not exhaust the meanings nor tries to delimit them, but it tries to be an external vision that seeks to organize, in a certain way, a complex work, subtle and of great amplitude. Thus I have built a framework that is filled with his works and texts, to which are added writings by other authors about his work. I have sometimes ignored the logic of chronology, which tends to mark every exhibition, and I have preferred to take advantage of the recurrence of certain patterns which, for me, are important in their performatic execution.

2 Mary Douglas, "Thought styles."

3 I am especially interested in the use of performance as a tool to interact with the world; as authors as Diane Taylor or Richard Schechner say, performance is a magnifying glass through which one can analyze phenomena and behaviors, attitudes or roles that are outside the strictly artistic realm, as if they were performances, or Schechner's definition of performance as "twice behaved behavior", which we could translate by "doubly represented behavior" or "repeated repertoire of repeated behaviors", both very suggestive translations in my opinion.

4 Daniel Le Breton. "Anthropology of body and modernity".

5 Mary Douglas, "Thought styles".

6 As Diana Taylor says: "Performances function as vital acts of transference, transmitting social knowledge, memory, and sense of identity through repeated actions, or what Richard Schechner has called "twice behaved-behavior". In this respect, analyzing Maria Cosmes' work in terms of performativity seems unsatisfactory to me, since I think Taylor's own differentiation between "performative" and "performatic" is more appropriate, in order to differentiate the discursive and non-discursive components within the performance. Going further in its distinction, I consider that action -the performatic- is really what can modify reality, and I prefer that term to performative -the discourse- which I doubt achieves such an objective. I intend to address this issue in an article in the future.

7 Saeta popular, quoted in "La saeta" by Antonio Machado.

8 Ecstasy means to be "out of oneself", as the Greek etymology indicates: the action of getting out of one's position (stasis)."To be out of oneself" does not mean that one is out of the present moment as a dreamer is escaping into the past or into the future. Exactly the opposite: ecstasy is an absolute identification with the present instant, a total oblivion of the past and the future. If both the future and the past are erased, the second present is found in empty space, outside of life and its chronology, outside of time and independent of it (this is why it can be compared with eternity, which is also the negation of time). "Milan Kundera, The Betrayed Testaments".