«A Fala das Cabras e dos Pastores» is a project in development focused in researching and mapping the sound language used between shepherds and their grazing animals. Here, we try to identify the mannerisms, vocalizations and protolanguage happening between different species. The ways and dynamics of the primordial are recovered and places of relationship between humans and animals are explored.
With the ultimate objective of covering the various districts of Portugal, the project has made recordings in Bragança, in the village of Lagoa in Macedo de Cavaleiros (2015-2019) and in several villages in Miranda do Douro (2021); an audiovisual survey is currently being carried out in several locations in Serra da Estrela.
In 2021, during the artistic residency I undertook in Picote at the invitation of Frauga, within the scope of the Encontros da Primavera (Spring Meetings), I had the opportunity not only to continue the survey of the vocalizations that shepherds use to interact with their cattle (to call, gather, guide or warn about the presence of predators), but also to develop a physical extension of the project «A Fala das Cabras e dos Pastores» through the creation of the object «Pedra Boca» (Stone Mouth). The «Pedra Boca» is a vertical granite block weighing about 120 kg, with sandblasted inscriptions that, like the stelae found in the village, conveys sense, meaning and language.
With «Pedra Boca» I tried to create a unique object that materialized some of the most common expressions identified in «A Fala das Cabras e dos Pastores» in Miranda do Douro, and thus perpetuate graphically the protolanguage of those shepherds and that context.
If, on the one hand, the creation of an object with the «sound» engraved fulfilled the need for symbolic representation, on the other hand, the creation of an object in stone, the most durable material in existence, fulfilled the need to guarantee it will be shared with future generations.
Afterall, the stone (through the stelae) was the strategy that lasted through time and that allowed us to understand the history of the village of Picote and the region; stone remains one of the most universal, basic and primordial ways of transmitting information.
Currently on display at the Miranda do Douro Museum, the «Pedra Boca» will be submerged in the Douro River, or buried in an uncertain part in the village of Picote, to be preserved by oblivion and eventually found and translated centuries later. This performative action will take place in 2023 and will be recorded on video and later integrated into the film being made of the process.
1. Horn. Image of the project «Entre o granito, um atlas» (Between granite, an atlas), made during the artistic residency of Encontros da Primavera (Spring Meetings) 2021, in the village of Picote, promoted by Frauga.
2. Video «The Speech of Goats and Goatherds»— Lagoa, Macedo de Cavaleiros. Bragança. 2015 — 2019. Shepherds: Amâncio Madureira, China, Osvaldo Pato Vila, Alberto Bobo, Augusto Badal.
3. Video «The Speech of Goats and Goatherds» — Picote, Miranda do Douro. Bragança. 2021. Shepherds: Telmo Cangueiro, Francisco Preto, Maria Da Conceição Gonçalves, Albino Delgado São Pedro, Maria Helena João, Marco Curral, José Manuel São Pedro.
4. Group of Stele. Photographs provided by the Miranda Museum and the Terra de Miranda Eco-Museum, as part of the research carried out for the project «Entre o granito, um atlas» (Between granite, an atlas).
5. Audiovisual recording of the selected vocalization (cá, obeeeelha – here, sheeeep), by Pastor Marco Curral, for the recording «Pedra-Boca» (Stone-Mouth).
6. Graphic representation of the sound spectrum of the selected vocalization for recording in Pedra-Boca» (Stone-Mouth). The study of the graphic translation of sound was carried out by professor, musician and sound artist José Alberto Gomes.
7. «Pedra-Boca» (Stone-Mouth). Diptych with general view and detail.
8. Video of the creation process of «Pedra Boca» (Stone-Mouth).