Siblings of the sea and the forest

Lecture by Chus Martínez and projection of the film 'Theodora or The Progress'

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‘(…) every living being receives their own intensity of existence, both through giving to others and through receiving from others’

Vinciane Despret, Autobiographie d’un Poulpe et autres récits d’anticipation, 2021


Hugo Canoilas’s exhibition Sculptured in Darkness is the starting point for a public programme of conversations and debates in connection with the screening of the film Theodora or The Progress (2021), made by the Alpina Huus artists’ collective, which includes Hugo Canoilas, Elise Lammer, Niels Trannois and Florence Peake, among others.

With the collaboration of Chus Martínez (participating remotely), Elise Lammer, Hugo Canoilas and Rita Fabiana, the programme seeks to question the way that some contemporary practices of artistic research allow us to critically rethink and re-imagine new ways of being and doing, opening up to other modes of cultural, social and ecological co-existence. The debate also seeks to investigate the way that these artistic practices can generate strategies of resistance to a hegemonic vision and construction of life and of the world, which lie at the centre of social and climate injustice and which continually produce new forms of inequality, discrimination and exclusion.

The encounter between the Sculptured in Darkness project and the film Theodora or The Progress is also an opportunity to rethink and debate possible modes of coexistence and relationship between human animals and non-human animals, with echoes in symbiotic and mutualistic relationships, seeking to establish new forms of attention and empathy.

The Sculptured in Darkness exhibition is currently on display in the Museum’s temporary exhibitions gallery and is open to the public until 30 May.  The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue, which visitors can purchase at a discounted price on the day of the event in the Foundation’s shops.





16:00   Opening session  

With Rita Fabiana


16:10   Lecture ‘Can a wave notice our tears?’   

With Chus Martínez (remote participation)

The talk is intended to reflect on our value systems, on the power structures we replicate, about the language we use to describe, to name, to tell stories, to position life and art and culture in the social. 


16:45   Break 


17:00   Projection of film Theodora or The Progress

Theodora or The Progress is a collective artistic project that includes newly produced installations, sculptures, music works, performances by a group of international artists including Hugo Canoilas, Cee Füllemann, Tarren Johnson, Elise Lammer, Alizee Lennox, Sarah Margnetti, Julie Monot, Lucien Monot, Florence Peake, Jessy Razafimandimby, Mia Sanchez, Eve Stainton and Niels Trannois. Filmed in 16mm, and co-produced by art institutions Europe-wide, the film addresses the notion of empowerment, while exploring the potential of the subconscious. Drawing from a large spectrum of references ranging from Virginia Woolf, Adrian Piper, Lisa Simpson, Deleuze and Guattari, but also Snoop Dogg and Franz Kafka, the film emphasises the ability of non-verbal communication as means to produce strategies against different types of discrimination. Borrowing the name of what was possibly the first feminist figure, the empress Theodora (500 AD), Theodora or The Progress portrays the metamorphosis of the narrator and several of their accomplices into a pack of dogs. Theodora or The Progress stages a collective takeover that speaks of love, transformation and transcendence.


17:30   Panel discussion with Hugo Canoilas, Chus Martínez and Elise Lammer

Moderated by Rita Fabiana


Chus Martínez was born in Spain and has a background in philosophy and art history. For the 56th Biennale di Venezia, in 2015, Martínez curated the National Pavilion of Catalonia. She also did this for the 51st edition of the Cyprus National Pavilion, in 2005. Currently, Chus Martínez is the Head of the Institute of Art of the FHNW Academy of Arts and Design in Basel, Switzerland. From 2021 on, she will be the artistic director of the Ocean space in Venice, a project initiated by the TBA21 Academy. She is also curator at large of The Vuslat Foundation in Istanbul.

Elise Lammer is the founding member of Alpina Huus, a research platform and collective exploring the relationship between performance and the domestic space. As an artist, curator and writer, Elise Lammer has participated in exhibitions and projects internationally, including MACRO, Roma; Centre Culturel Suisse, Paris; Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow; Istituto Svizzero di Roma, Rome; MAMCO, Geneva; The Schinkel Pavillon, Berlin; The Goethe Institut, Beijing, Hong Kong; MCBA, Lausanne; among others. Her writings and research on art, performance and film have been published in magazines and catalogs internationally, including CURA, Mousse Magazine, frieze, Novembre. Lammer was trained as a fine artist in Barcelona and holds an MFA in Curating from Goldsmiths College, London.

Hugo Canoilas lives and works in Vienna and New York. Recent individual presentations of his work include Buoyant, Galerie Martin Janda, Vienna; On the Extremes of Good and Evil, curated by Rainer Fuchs, mumok, Vienna; Cnidarian Polyps Repaired by the Eye of the Observer, curated by Ricardo Nicolau and Marta Almeida, Serralves Museum, Porto. Canoilas has been contributing with his work in institutional exhibitions at Kunstverein in Hamburg, De Appel in Amsterdam, Kunsthalle Wien in Vienna, Salzburguer Kunstverein in Salzburg, 30th São Paulo Biennial in São Paulo, the 4th Ural Industrial Biennial in Yekaterinburg, and Vienna Biennale For Change in Vienna.

His work has received critical reviews in the magazines MousseArtReviewObserverFriezeMetropolis MFlashArtKunstforumContemporanea and in the newspapers The GuardianPúblico and Expresso. Canoilas was co-editor of OEI #80–81The Zero Alternative: Ernesto de Sousa and some other aesthetic operators in Portuguese art and poetry from the 1960s onwards. He’s developing The Grotto, a collective project at Quadrado Azul Gallery in Lisbon. Canoilas was the 2020 recipient of Kapsch Contemporary Art Award.


Collective Alpina Huus Hugo Canoilas (PT), Cee Füllemann (CH/BE), Tarren Johnson (US/DE), Elise Lammer (CH), Alizee Lennox (FR/DE), Sarah Margnetti (CH/BE), Julie Monot (CH), Lucien Monot (CH), Jessy Razafimandimby (CH), Mia Sanchez (CH), Niels Trannois (FR/CH)
Author Elise Lammer
Directors Elise Lammer, Julie Monot, Lucien Monot
Edition Lucien Monot
Scenography Christopher Füllemann, Julie Monot, Sarah Margnetti, Niels Trannois
Communication/Production Elias Carella
Production Alpina Huus
Coproduction Arsenic – Centre d’art scénique contemporain, Lausanne
Support Pro Helvetia – Fondation suisse pour la culture, Ernst Göhner Stiftung, Fondation Nestlé Pour l’Art, Loterie Romande, Canton de Vaud


Initiated in March 2015 at the Schinkel Pavillon in Berlin, Alpina Huus is a performance-led project and research collective dedicated to investigate the relationship between performance and domestic space. Whether in painting, literature, or philosophy, the house is often used as a metaphor for the human figure, and alludes to the many analogies between the house, the body and psyche. In a domestic space, each room covers a specific typology, from the living room and kitchen to the bathroom and bedroom, to which human behaviour adapts or resists. Alpina Huus proposes performances that further explore ideas around community practice, and offers an understanding of the domestic environment as a stage where meaningful artistic conversations can and do take place. Among an audience that never knows what is to be considered as staged or not, the difference between a spectacle and the typical course of an art gathering is blurred, pushing the limits of, and sometimes overlapping, private and public spheres. As a non-for-profit, itinerant collective with varying members, Alpina Huus has authored many performances, conferences and exhibitions across Europe, including at the Schinkel Pavillon, Berlin; Istituto Svizzero di Roma; Motto Berlin; Bâtiment D’art Contemporain (Le Commun) Geneva; DAMA, Turin; and Arsenic, Contemporary Performing Arts Center, Lausanne.

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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