Patrícia Portela

Mãe d’Água

Lisbon survives thanks to a green corridor that runs through the whole city cleaning it daily from the auto and industrial pollution. This corridor is divided in three levels: an air corridor, which finds in the Monsanto park its central Lisbon lung. A green corridor, of trees, bushes and afforestation that feed the city’s air. And an underground corridor of water that feeds and revitalizes the city. Any illegal construction, private or public, which interferes with the circulation of these three vital channels, may endanger the whole city.

I’ve chosen Mãe d’Água because it is the – and it is in the – heart of Lisbon. The sound path takes place in three levels, beginning in Jardim das Amoreiras, entering the reservoirs of Mãe d’Água accompanying a primary school fieldtrip, climbing an air pipe at the end up to the roof of Mãe d’Água to contemplate the city.

These recordings took place in Mãe d’Água in June 2002 with a very basic sound equipment, during the editing of “Encontros Imediatos” (“Close Encounters”) in the Danças na Cidade Festival; these encounters also served as a fundamental cultural corridor for the dialogue between the city, its artists and their creative processes.

A corridor
that was


Patrícia Portela (1974). is a writer and performance maker living between Belgium and Portugal. She has studied set and costume design in Lisbon and in Utrecht, The Netherlands, film in Ebeltoft, Denmark, and Philosophy in Leuven, Belgium. Between 1994 and 2002 she worked mainly as a costume designer and décor artist for some of the most prominent independent companies and film-makers in Portugal winning the Prize Revelation of the year in 1994 for her multiple work in performance and cinema. Since 2003 she works in her own performances and installations in collaboration with international artists and tours regularly in Europe and around the world. She has won several awards and has achieved national and international recognition with her unusual work and has been considered one of the most outstanding and daring artists and writers of her generation. Widely anthologized, she is the author of the novels Para Cima e Não Para Norte (2008) and Banquete (2012, shortlisted for the Grande Prémio de Romance e Novela APE). In 2013 she has been invited to participate in the prestigious International Writing Program (IWP) at the University of Iowa City as well as be the IWP’s inaugural Outreach Fellow with a focus on cultivating public outreach events and reflections based on her expertise and multi-genre/media talents. She lectures regularly since 2008 at Forum Dança, in Lisbon, as well in other art institutions and universities.