In June 2019, Nerina Cocchi took part in The Arctic Circle, a two-week artistic residency sailing in the Svalbard archipelago. Drawing inspiration from the tales of adventurers Ellen MacArthur and Dee Caffari, as well as from Ursula Le Guin's mother tongue, Nerina started exploring the question of legitimacy in women's voices. Initially working through video in collaboration with Daniel Pinheiro, bit by bit this journey has become Nerina's playground for a writing practice aimed at using adventure fiction and non-fiction to foster intimacy and a change in gaze in order to promote gender equality.
Recipient of a Bourse Claude Etienne, a mentoring program for Belgian emerging playwrights run by le Rideau de Bruxelles and le Centre des Ecritures Dramatiques Wallonie-Bruxelles, Nerina wrote a first draft of a play retelling her journey upon her return from the Arctic. This was read at RRRR Festival - Rideau de Bruxelles in Brussels in September 2019.
Then, between January and June 2020, together with Grace Phelan at WOW Café Theater in NYC, and Martina Martinez Barjacoba at Théâtre Marni in Brussels, Nerina unpacked a more poetical kind of writing. Trilingual, this tongue lies closer to the language of her own thoughts. She used it on stage to investigate the place of the heart within journeys, as well as the space in between (languages, culture, identity) as a venue for discovery and articulation.
Then, through her project "Récits de femmes aventurières" (Tales of Women Adventurers) at Centre Culturel de Jette (supported by a grant "Un futur pour la culture" by Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles), Nerina tackled "translating" real-life experience into fiction writing. How to move from Pauline Oliveros's "Offer your experience as your truth" to short forms of fiction? This process allowed her to lay the foundation for the transformation of her own experience into a tale of birth, and mourning, amidst the Arctic ice.
This results into a rhizomatic project, currently developing under 4 "wings:"
- (near and far), a film / video piece / installation that opens up interpretation of the personal point of view through poetry, and that, through the metaphor of the heart, questions the place of the self and our relationship to others.
- Ad Nauseam, a research project in Le Guin's mother tongue: transcribing the 12hour improvisations in which Nerina told her journey from beginning to end, this project unveils an over-the-top narrative that doesn't hide behind contradictions, and explores memory the way we sail at sea - "it just comes and goes" A.J. Dungo
- Le corps qui parle, short story fiction writing project
- On se trimballe toutes quelque chose (We All Come with Baggage), a theatre project around sisterhood and playfulness as tools to elaborate grief and the weight of heritage
Through fiction, the Arctic landscape and the organic detours of being in movement, Nerina shares a few layers of the process of getting to know oneself.
A project supported by a bourse Claude Etienne, Belgian mentoring program for emerging playwrights run by le Rideau de Bruxelles and le Centre des Ecritures Dramatiques Wallonie-Bruxelles, le BIJ - Bureau International de Jeunesse, the Incubateur des Studios de Virecourt (France) and the "Friche" program by Compagnie MAPS.