Cure

Cura (female noun): from the Latim cura,-ae: care, treatment, concern, keeper/protector

 

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©Alexandre Marinho

“The female lifeguard comes from a lineage of other female lifeguards, and she belongs, thanks to her hereditary characteristics, to a separate caste, just like the tricksters. Without that natural selective privilege, no woman would take a job that implies spending eight to nine hours per day, over the course of four months, bathing in the sea, up to her chest. That amphibian life, apparently irreconcilable with any woman’s physiological nature, seems to benefit (not harm) the health of those who practice it [...] With their clear and deep eyes - eyes that have, for a long time, mirrored the vastness of sky and sea - these powerful women are in harmony with the ocean and marry it.”
Ramalho Ortigão, Album of Portuguese Customs (1888)

Cure is a audio project about a family narrative that has been passed down from grandmother to grandchild, about memory incarnate through speech. Throughout much of the 20th century, in Lavadores (a village south of Porto), Gracinda cared for and healed her community: as midwive, she was gatekeeper of life and death; as healer, she curated her own treatment repertoire and prayer book; as lifeguard, she rescued everything the sea stubbornly washed away. Cure are Gracinda’s stories, Elvira’s memories, the voices of different women. 

 

A project by Maria Inês Marques

Idea, script, narration, sound editing Maria Inês Marques

Storytelling and voice Elvira Praça 

Photography Mafalda Lencastre

Original music Michael Costagliola

Sound editing Maria Inês Marques

Featuring Joana Magalhães, Mafalda Lencastre

Graphic design Maria João Ferreira

Summer 2021.

#cavar#dig#profundezas#desconhecido#parto#espectro#útero#memória#vórtice#repetir#morte#boca

Institutional partner:

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EP. 1 - SIGHTINGS OF A CIRCE

EP. 2 - THE AMPHIBIAN WOMAN

EP. 3 - AMNIOTECHNIC GATEKEEPER

EP. 4 - SURVIVAL HANDBOOK

EP. 5 - BONITĀS BENEFICARUM

Gracinda led an extraordinary life. She lived through most of the Portuguese 20th century, cared for her community, had nine children, countless jobs, and stood up to forces most of us know nothing about. Through her stories and words, she left a mark on her granddaughter Elvira's memory. And on my memory too.

Text, narration and sound editing: Maria Inês Marques; Stories and voice: Elvira Praça; Original music: Michael Costagliola.

Work, work, and more work. Sea, sea, and more sea. She loaded ships, was a lifeguard, gathered litter, and rescued people who had drowned. Gracinda was one with the sea from a very early age. Photographs, memories, antagonists, and episodes that could be movie scenes were the fuel for our trip in the second episode of "Cure."

Text, narration and sound editing: Maria Inês Marques; Stories and voice: Elvira Praça; Original music: Michael Costagliola.

"The sea parts open but then it closes back in". This is how Gracinda da Mina explained the moment of expulsion during childbirth to the overwhelmed fathers who waited outside the bedroom. An experienced swimmer and professional lifeguard, Gracinda also helped hundreds of newborn babies navigate the transition from the amniotic realm to our world; she helped their lungs expel water and breathe the air in. Postnatal services included caring for the new mother and, of course, the baptism. So was the life of a midwife in rural Portugal during the 20th century.

Text, narration and sound editing: Maria Inês Marques; Stories and voice: Elvira Praça; Original music: Michael Costagliola.

We're in 2021 and we're pretty fed up. Thankfully, Gracinda - like many other badass gangstas who blazed a trail for us - left us her survival handbook for the modern woman in a very old world, in just nine rules. From work to domestic life, from self-defense to public battles - everything we need to know is in this "Book of Gracinda."

 

Text, narration and sound editing: Maria Inês Marques; Stories and voice: Elvira Praça; Featuring: MC MILK; Original music: Michael Costagliola.

The last chapter of CURE. The last stories and memories from Gracinda's life, which was built upon the force of words, gesture, and cure. We travel back in time, we peruse Inquisition files, we revisit the era of burning people at the stake, and we destroy the "hammer of witches" because sorceresses like Gracinda only practice the beauty of good. 

Text, narration and sound editing: Maria Inês Marques; Stories and voice: Elvira Praça;  Original music: Michael Costagliola.

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