By Marlene Monteiro Freitas

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Idiota [Idiot] is born from painting. It is a canvas that has become a box. Translucent, reflective, and permeable, it is simultaneously a showcase and a mirror. It is a multifaceted box: a house-box, a plantation-box, a space for retreat and extreme exposure, a prison-box, a party-box, a tent-box, a buoy-box, a phone booth, an airport terminal, an immune-box, an unpunishable-box, a dressing room-box. It is also a portable theater, and therefore, open to all figures that want to be projected there.

Idiota is also the name of the figure that deliberately sneaked into this box, with the intention of spying on a creature, Élpis

The myth of Pandora probably arose in response to the old question: why do people get sick and die? Why do bad things happen?

In Idiota, the artist dialogues with the work of painter Alex da Silva (1974-2019), also Cape Verdean and dedicated to representing ‘creatures’ in transfiguration. Monteiro Freitas places herself inside a box that is both a place of imprisonment and liberation. In this space of imagination, memories of the world intersect, from the violence of the Universal Exhibitions, where indigenous bodies are exhibited to Western curiosity, to the fantasy of the circus and illusion.

The work of Marlene Monteiro Freitas, built from collages of hundreds of iconographic references, is an exercise of memory composition and, for the viewer, of recognition and strangeness.

The contrast between the absence of references to the colonial past in the archives on dance in Portugal and its daily presence (in the bodies, in the imaginaries and in their emanations) is paradoxically put on stage.

Included in the dance not dance programme, this performance created in 2022 is presented in Portugal for the first time, in dialogue with another performance, Miquelina e Miguel, by Miguel Pereira, which takes place on 4 February, 2024. Under the motto Unearthing memories of dance, there is a talk with that same title, about the presence of black bodies and Afro-diasporic narratives in Portuguese dance, also on 4 February.

This performance uses strobe lighting

Image © BEA BORGES/ kfda

Marlene Monteiro Freitas (1979, Cape Verde) is known for creating pieces whose hallmark is openness, hybridity, impurity and intensity. She has won numerous awards, including the Silver Lion at the Venice Biennale (2020), the Chanel Next Prize (2021) and the Evens Arts Prize (2022). Since 2020, she has been a co-curator of the (un)common ground project.

dance not dance

This event is included in the (re)performances, films and talks series which constitutes the first part of dance not dance – archaeologies of the new dance in Portugal. More info.


Creation and interpretation

Marlene Monteiro Freitas

Choreographic assistance

Hsin-Yi Hsiang


Marlene Monteiro Freitas, Miguel Figueira, Yannick Fouassier

Light design

Yannick Fouassier

Sound design

Rui Antunes


Marlene Monteiro Freitas


P.OR.K (Sandra Azevedo, Soraia Gonçalves). 

Tour management

Key Performance (Estocolmo, SE) 


CNAD – Cape Verdean National Centre for Art, Crafts and Design (Mindelo, CV); Festival d'Automne (Paris, FR); Grec Festival (Barcelona, ES); Kunstenfestivaldesarts (Bruxelas, BE); Wiener Festwochen (Viena, AT)


Theater Freiburg (Freiburg, DE); Mattatoio — Azienda Speciale Palaexpo (Roma, IT)


CAM — Centro de Arte Moderna / Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation


P.OR.K Cultural Association is funded by the Portuguese Republic – Ministry of Culture / General-Directorate for the Arts

The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation reserves the right to collect and keep records of images, sounds and voice for the diffusion and preservation of the memory of its cultural and artistic activity. For further information, please contact us through the Information Request form.


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