An intense feeling of complicity permeated those who participated in the performance action. PHOTO: Felipe Campos Mello

October 28, second round of elections. The same dramatic day that elected a president driven by false information was the scene of the biggest collective performance in the country's history: hundreds or thousands of people - it's an imprecise move - left their homes to vote with a book in hand.

It is not known where the idea came from, it has to be said that the singer Criolo was the first to suggest it – he went to vote with Grande Sertão: Veredas, by Guimarães Rosa -, but the fact is that the book ended up becoming the symbol silent of those who opposed the candidate of arms. In the 1970s, Marina Abramovic summarized in three directions how a performance should develop: no rehearsal, no fixed duration and no repetition. What she and the artists of that time wanted was to avoid representation, staging, creating actions that were real experiences, making art an experience without mediation. Voting with books was an action that followed all these principles. I felt the need to go out with the book, not knowing what to do with it during the voting process, but as soon as I approached the school where I vote, in Vila Madalena, in São Paulo, I noticed that many others were following me. The feeling of complicity was intense. I didn't exchange words with anyone, it didn't seem necessary, but I gave and received affectionate looks, constant smiles, positive nods. It was exciting. There were no exaggerated gestures, everything was restrained, like a choreography that, even if it was not foreseen, occurred naturally. As in a choir, after all, the impression was that together with Peter Pal Pélbart's Capital Life, the book I chose, I was not isolated, but participated in a symphony for the affirmation of humanist values ​​and the rejection of fascism. Walking with a book has become a transgressive act.



Each and every one I met carried the book in a different way. Some holding the book on their chest, making it clear who was paying tribute, others with a rose in the middle of the publication. Many posted the photo on social media, some with proof of voting, others with family.

As in the performances of the 1970s, the photo with the book became the record of an action that cannot be forgotten and that becomes as important as the action itself. As there was no rehearsal, each one did as they could and as they wanted, totally performative. Someone even created the hashtag #bibliography- 28 October 2018, I believe it was Daniela Name or Jorge Menna Barreto, to mark the posts on Instagram and Facebook of those who participated in the performance.

There are many marked, unknown and famous, especially actors and actresses like Camila Pitanga, Denise Fraga, who voted with Teatro Completo, by Bertolt Brecht, Silvia Buarque, with Raízes do Brasil, by her grandfather Sergio Buarque de Hollanda, or Deborah Secco with Life as it is, by Nelson Rodrigues, to name just three cases.

Someone even proposed that the books be donated to the Museu da Maré, in the care of Luiz Antonio Oliveira (avenida Guilherme Maxwell, 26, Maré, Rio de Janeiro, Cep 21.040-212). It's a beautiful initiative, I'd like to do it, but Peter's personal autograph in the book stops me. I'm thinking of buying another one to send.

I've been following the performance scene for at least 20 years, I watched dozens of them, including the historic “The artist is present”, by Abramovic at MoMA, in 2010, but I had never performed one. Taking the book to vote was one of the freest moments of my life. Of using my body as resistance and realizing that so many others were on the same wavelength.

Now, when I see someone on the street walking with a book, and this situation has been very recurrent, including many people reading a book while walking, I get the feeling that the 28th is not over yet, and that the performance is not yet over. ended. In fact, I'm sure it will continue.


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