Maculele is an afro-Brazilian dance and martial-art often practiced alongside capoeria. In this "warrior dance", multiple people gather to perform a rhythmic, high-energy ritual that builds over time. It is currently practiced throughout the world.
Maculele is primarily a form of revolt derived from repressions that occurred during the Brazilian-Angolan slave trade. It exercises warrior combat training tactics disguised as tribal dance. It uses "grimas" or wooden sticks as a modern metaphor for ancient weapons. By rhythmically striking the sticks both together and with other performers, a fierce interplay of offense and defense forms a game that moves in chaotic spatial patterns.
Our installation embodies the spirit of maculele. Like acrobatic forms twisting through the space, we explore the journey of the dancing warrior in motion. This non-linear undulating gesture demonstrates a sort of motion-captured translation of human movement. The wooden lath becomes the kinetic limbs lunging and spinning. The lights become illuminates "grimas" that are repititiously pulling away and striking.
In relation to the installation, the audience is forced to play this same game of attack and escape through basic interaction with the space. Having to actually bend down and reach around in order to circulate within the space, the audience performs its own dance.
Our choice of materials for the piece was a conscious effort on a number of fronts. First, the idea of working with salvaged, locally-sourced lath, a construction material no longer used, is a physical evocation of the past, in the same way maculele conjures a century's-old warrior dance into a new interpretive art form. Second, by working with lath, we have repurposed one of the most elemental materials as a "weapon" of design, which is analogous to the primal wooden sticks used by maculele dancers.
This installation aims to systematically and structurally address the tension between architectural space and the human form...coalescing light, architecture and performance with the intent of fostering the viewers' awareness of this dynamic relationship. Through the use of salvage building materials, the public is invited to experience an immersive, site-specific environment.