Loose Lips

Jose Macabra talks Festival Forte


Jose Macabra talks Festival Forte

Loose Lips is here with Jose Macabra in the lead up to Festival Forte, taking place from 30 August until 2nd September at Montemor-o-Velho Castle in Portugal. With a focus on performing arts and the rougher, more experimental sides of electronic music, we can't wait! Five of the LL crew will be heading there for a proper party. With only a few days to go, Jose kind chats about the festival and offers an insight into what his own performance will be like. You can catch Jose on Friday 31st at 8pm in the Theatre. 

How did you first come into contact with Festival Forte?

It was through Violets Lisboa. She’s part of the Festival Forte organisation and focuses on bringing performance based acts to play. Violets saw my performance a while back at Power Lunches in London.  

So you told us that you haven’t been to Festival Forte before. Do you have any preconceptions of what to expect?

The people I know who have been before have told me it’s an amazing atmosphere. I’ve been told it feels unique because it’s a really open space where you have the ability to explore - sometimes festivals can feel a bit closed, or claustrophobic, after a few days. Also the fact that it’s in Portugal, my neighbouring country, is good too.

You have been creating a theatrical performance for Festival Forte. Can you tell us about your musical history and what you’ve done in the past as a sound artist that will influence this? 

My musical experiences include touch video, performance art, soundscapes and dance music as well as a variety of other musical influences. I feel that I’m taking some influence from these past experiences to create this performance. That also includes me jumping between different roles such as sound designer and performance director.

Can you give us some insight into the performance itself?

The performance will include a hologram video projection, which is something I’ve been exploring over the past year. When I was at New River Studios in London, I made Doors of Obsession, a hologram video, shown at Exfed, an amazing local warehouse space, as part of finishing my MA in Fine Art. The video I am making for my performance at Festival Forte is called Reigning After Death, and includes hanging organza fabric to simulate a hologram. Helping me with this video is Silvia de Tonmasso (illustrator) and Miguel Domingo Redondo from Iqono (post production).

Then, there is the performance element itself, which is based on a well known Portuguese historical story; Inês de Castro. The story is one of love and revenge. The Prince, the son of the King, has to marry a certain woman to satisfy the King. Yet the Prince does not love his wife to be and has fallen in love with the maid. He marries but his wife later dies during child birth. The Prince feels he is finally able to pursue his true love yet the King disapproves of his lover. The King banishes the maid from the court but the Prince still declares his love for her. The King then sends three of his men to kill her. After she is murdered, the Prince declares a civil war against the King, who eventually dies. The Prince now becomes King. He seeks his revenge by searching for the three killers. He finds two of the killers, killing them by extracting their hearts, one from the front of the body and one from the back of the body, and then eats the hearts. He highlights that they destroyed his own heart. The new King takes the body of his dead love out of the grave and to the court, forcing the nobility to kiss her skeleton.

I will offer some narration of the story in the video, based on my own readings of various adaptations of the story. Some people will know of the story already and if not, it’s a cool way to be presented with it. The extraction and eating of the heart is perhaps one of the most famous moments of the story and we will focus on this moment in the performance. 

Musically, is this quite different to what you’ve done before?  How does the storyline effect your musical decisions?

I’ve done performances before where I’ve had to create several different sounds. There will be a lot of contact mics and objects for me to use, which I’m currently putting together. I will be using various crazy effects and there will be a Timeline with several queues related to moments in the narrative. In a way I’m making a sound narrative of Inês de Castro.

Some aspects are pre-planned and some aspects will be intuitive. It will be wild, it will be fun and and there will be room for me and the actors to express ourselves. I’m very happy to have on board a supportive team of collaborators, artists, performers and great humans overall.

Who else are you looking forward to watching at the festival?

Oscar Mulero; he is a DJ that was around when I was growing up. Monolake, Mumdance, Rotten Sun, The Hacker, I Hate Models, Surgeon, Planetary Assault Systems, Svreca...there’s a lot of highlights I could mention!