In June 2019, Nerina Cocchi took part in The Arctic Circle, a two-week artistic residency sailing in the Svalbard archipelago. Inspired by women adventurers Ellen MacArthur, Dee Caffari, Sally Poncet and Mary Chipman Lawrence, as well as by Ursula Le Guin's mother tongue, Nerina explored the question of legitimacy in women's voices. While, for the past centuries, travel literature has been dominated by male voices - then implicitly internalized as 'standard/neutral' experience -, what happens when adventure is told from another perspective? What happens when "we offer our experience as our truth" and not as THE truth?
Ad Nauseam is a project developed along three different axes.
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 is currently writing a play about her journey. Engaging the internal voices that babbled inside her as she traveled, it is played by three young women actors who, like on a playground, get to embody multiple characters: three sisters going on this journey (willingly, grudgingly or lightheartedly) as well as different people met during their trip. Through their doubts and discoveries is developed a story around grief, life and friendship, and the courage needed to be oneself.
A first draft of the play was read by Julia Le Faou, Alice Mottoul and Paola Pisciottano at RRRR Festival - Rideau de Bruxelles in Brussels, in September 2019. Nerina intends to work on further edits during two writing retreats in March-April 2020 and July 2020.
A second theatre piece, monologue Mother Tongue, is currently in the works. With Nerina on stage, Grace Phelan directing and Martina Barjacoba movement directing, this solo goes further into the trilingual tongue (English-French-Italian) that Nerina recognizes as her mother tongue. Through a series of texts written before, during and after the Arctic trip, this piece explores the space in between (languages, culture, identity) as a space for discovery of the self.
Mother Tongue opens on May 1st, 2nd and 3rd 2020 at the International One Woman Show Series held at WOW Cafe Theater in New York.
The last angle of this project is video. In collaboration with Daniel Pinheiro, Nerina started collecting video material well before her departure, playing with what (and how it) is legitimate (or not) to shoot. In the Arctic, she collected a lot more material, between landscapes, everyday gestures and clips of hunger, sleep and weaving relationships. The video editing that Nerina and Daniel have started doing is a creative space to explore the material itself. To see what stories it tells as it is, and how, built into magic boxes playing with proportion, attention and direction of the gaze, it can contribute to the dramaturgy of the theatre pieces above. In a second time, the idea is also to create a self-standing video object at the crossroad between documentary, fiction and video-art, playing more with the idea of revealing the invisible, the magic buried in the everyday.
Daniel and Nerina will be in residency in Mariemont, at the Centre des Ecritures Dramatiques Wallonie-Bruxelles, from 19th to 31st May 2020.