Federico Campagna + Joana Gama e Luís Fernandes
The Fable of Reality is a metaphysical meditation about that wonderful, terrifying and fragile fiction that goes under the name of "reality". Like the hero of a fable, the listener will move along the path that leads from the uncomfortable simplicity of a basic idea of reality to the comfortable ease where it is possible to embrace the ineffable quality of what we are and what surrounds us.
"We thought we were dead, trapped inside nothingness. We were sunk into the night, hearing malign voices speaking incessantly to no-one. When, all of a sudden, a voice started speaking to us. It came from a stranger, like those who surround us now, in this room. And the stranger said “you”. And then something happened. They didn’t even need to say it. They simply looked at us, as one would look to “you”, and it happened." — Federico Campagna
Curated by Mariana Pestana
Three guided meditations, comprising a reading and a live concert created by contemporary thinkers and composers, use different methodologies — reorientation and positioning of the body, reason and imagination — in an attempt to lead us towards an awareness of ecological interdependence. Created in the wake of the emotional crisis caused by the social isolation during the global pandemic of 2020–21, this public programme functions like a philosophical expedition in the aftermath of the growing societal symptoms of disorientation, anxiety and doubt derived from the global environmental crisis, exploring modes of thinking, questioning and imagining about this and other possible realities.
The division of light between day and night caused by the rotation and translation of the Earth is perhaps the most literally cosmic experience we have access to on a daily basis. Created to accompany Carsten Höller’s DIA exhibition (maat, 05/10/2021–28/02/2022), the 7.8Hz Meditations programme is based on the 7.8 Hz frequency, a unit of measure that also converges celestial and terrestrial phenomena. 7.8 Hz is the Earth’s electromagnetic resonance, produced by discharges of energy such as lightning and thunder between the surface of the planet and the ionosphere. Interestingly, 7.8 Hz is also the frequency of the human brain when in a state of almost meditative relaxation, between consciousness and unconsciousness, and can be induced by exposure to light sequences (as in Carsten Höller’s work). Starting from this frequency, the programme offers the public a series of text and sound therapeutic compositions to reflect on terrestrial coexistence and explore other ways of seeing and thinking about the extreme present we currently live in.
The three meditations will be released on an LP coproduced by maat and the record label Holuzam in May 2022 for people to listen at home.
Michael Marder + Maxwell Sterling
Federico Campagna + Joana Gama e Luís Fernandes
Sofia Lemos + Ece Canli
Mariana Pestana works and lives in Lisbon. She is an architect, curator and researcher in the field of contemporary design and architecture. Her work materializes in cultural programmes that take the form of exhibitions, events, conferences, installations and publications. She is co-founder and director of The Decorators, an interdisciplinary studio that creates collaborative projects ranging from furniture to buildings in the aim of expanding notions of place, community and commensality (the practice of eating together). Mariana Pestana was the curator of the 5th Istanbul Design Biennial, titled Empathy Revisited: designs for more than one (2020–21), prior to which she curated several exhibitions including Eco-Visionaries, (maat, Lisbon, Matadero, Madrid, and The Royal Academy of Arts, London) and The Future Starts Here (V&A, 2018). She worked as a curator in the Department of Architecture, Design and Digital at the Victoria and Albert Museum (2015–19) Having lectured at Central Saint Martins (2011–14) and Chelsea College of Arts (2012–16), among other universities, and currently is an Invited Assistant Professor at Instituto Superior Técnico in Lisbon.
Federico Campagna is an Italian philosopher based in London. He is the author of the books Prophetic Culture: Recreation for Adolescents (Bloomsbury, 2021), Technic and Magic: the Reconstruction of Reality (Bloomsbury, 2018), The Last Night (Zero Books, 2013). Campagna teaches philosophy at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, and at the KABK (Koninklijke Academie van Beeldende Kunsten), The Hague, and works in the radical publishing house Verso Books.
The piano and electronics duo composed of Joana Gama and Luís Fernandes made their debut in 2014 at Theatro Circo and, since then, they have performed regularly, namely at festivals such as MADEIRADiG (Funchal), Tremor, Walk&Talk (both in Ponta Delgada), and Novas Frequências (Rio de Janeiro) or in venues such as the Gulbenkian Foundation (Lisbon), the Centro Cultural Vila Flor (Guimarães) or Cafe Oto (London). Their discography includes four albums created in different ways, in duo (Quest, Shhpuma, 2014), but also in collaboration with Ricardo Jacinto (Harmonies, Shhpuma, 2016), with José Alberto Gomes and the Guimarães Orchestra (at the still point of the turning world, Room40, 2018) and with Drumming GP (Textures & Lines, Holuzam, 2020). The release of their new album, entitled There is no knowing, is scheduled for early 2022. In recent years, the duo has also collaborated in the performing arts, video and film, working with Eduardo Brito, Victor Hugo Pontes, Miguel C. Tavares or Nuno M. Cardoso.