23 / 10

A Rite – A Collaborative piece by Agora Collective and Kari Mayo

Executive Producer: Céline Huerta

“A Rite” is a collaborative piece conceptualized by the artists who comprise the Agora Collective – Marcela Donato, Renata Har and Caique Tizzi – and the Mexican artist Kari Mayo, who has completed a three-week residency program at Agora – a network of cross-disciplines located in Neukölln.

This artwork is the outcome of the encounter between four artists who decided together to elaborate a rite in a two week-period to be presented as a final act at Instituto Cervantes.

All the artists, born in Latin America – Mexico and Brazil – found common interest to investigate the notion of rituals – the atemporal necessity of binding, belonging – the necessity to connect with others – that one can find through family, religion, friends, political views, relationships, causes, obsessions, art, gods.

The pictorial element of this rite came intuitively: shoes. So as did the scenario: the streets. Symbolically speaking, shoes represent contradictory meanings – the lowly and the humble, the authority and power – whilst barefoot represents liberty. Shoes resist. Few elements have stronger connection with the streets than shoes. The street is the line of passage, our rite of passage.

The concept of rites of passage was described by Arnold van Gennep to denote the time between young age and full inclusion into a social group.  According to his theory, there are three phases of a rite: separation, transition and reincorporation. These described phases were also embodied in every step of the work.

Over 500 hundreds shoes were collected from friends, Agora’s community, and friends of friends.  People who heard their bell ringing for our common obsession of collecting as many shoes as possible. With the intensive help of social networks the given mission was accomplished.

The shoes have been painted and the streets have been stamped with a washable, self-made colour produced specially for “A Rite” in order to occupy the streets cleanly and softly. White paint, with lots of pigment. Chalk-like wanted. The red. Revolution. Soft-power colour.

Each shoe has been placed on it’s own square, in corners of different neighbourhoods of Germany’s capital. A portrait of Berlin is being portrayed through it’s shoes. All the personalities, from the skater to the queen, the businessman, the clubber, the policeman, the artist, the bummer, the anonymous walker.

“A Rite” is an attempt to elaborate a piece that resists in our context – 2012, Berlin, our encounter, the streets and their citizens – a trial to compose a spatial choreography of passage. A rite of passage for all of us. A strategic logistics operation was required to implement and document “A Rite”, including 4 cars, 4 drivers, 4 photographers, and 150 shoes per car, spanning several routes across the neighbourhoods of Mitte, Kreuzberg, Friedrischain, Prenzlauer Berg and Neukölln.

“A Rite” explores the risk of involving a large numbers of participants and works accurately as the “catalyst” of ideas – rather than putting the artists at the centre – producing an experience that requires the engagement of the audience for elaboration of the ideal image: shoes hanging on cable; current in the streets all around the world – holding subjectivity, curiosity, speculation and several meanings.

“A Rite” assumes it’s lack of control and integrates many different worlds, stories, memories and trajectories. The piece works as a cross-path between the public and private sphere – bridging the streets and the institution – exploring the absence and claiming for the presence, a real presence.