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Prelude

Chapter one: Translation

Chapter two: Theatre

Chapter three: Film


Some Curatorial Process Notes


A director and an untrained actress in her mid-twenties meet in a black box in Buenos Aires in the winter of 2020. Over the course of one day, the director coaches the actress to perform a three-page highly self-reflexive poetic monologue translated into Spanish. The process of learning to embody a character who herself is questioning what it means to be an embodied “I” unfolds in a documented rehearsal.

A director and a trained teen actress meet in a black box in Amsterdam in the summer of 2021. Over the course of two days, the director coaches the actress to perform the same three-page monologue in its original English version. The process of learning to embody a character who herself is questioning what it means to be an embodied “I” unfolds in another documented rehearsal.


This is the basic set-up for Becket MWN and Aimée Zito Lema’s The Actress, a process-based video installation, which was first presented in Fall 2021 at the Grazer Kunstverein, Austria under the artistic direction of Kate Strain. The project is, as Strain wrote in her curatorial text, “a live investigation of a thinking process, in search of a moment when thinking is distracted or displaced, by memorized words and speech acts, to the point of performative transformation”. In the four-channel installation, this process is visualized from two perspectives, that of the camera filming the rehearsal process and that of the actress rehearsing with a director in front of a film crew. With the rehearsal process screened in projection and the actress’ view screened on a monitor behind the projection, viewers are offered an inside/outside visual perspective on what that “thinking process” looks like and possible moments of “performative transformation”. And this offering is doubled: it appears once in English in the context of the Amsterdam rehearsal and once in Spanish in the context of the Buenos Aires rehearsal. All with German subtitles.

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