The Report of the reports
by Camila Régis.
Text written for the Wanted project.
In her book O tempo vivo da memória (The memory’s living time), Ecléa Bosi states that “being inaccurate doesn’t invalidates the testimonial, unlike the lie that, many times is accurate and detailed”.
The inaccuracy was necessary to perform “Procura-se” (Wanted). The work, which consists in the repetition of a speech - the description of Moreschi’s face - for the last police portraitists of the country, was at first a study about versions. I thought it would be a curious experiment: an analysis of different perspectives that people would have from the same report and the effect of all these readings condensed into an exhibition space. However, in the early stages of the process, I realized that not only the readings of my story would be different, but the story itself would also oscillate.
The working method was similar among the portraitists. my speech was induced following the direction of the macro to the micro and the general characteristics of the pictured were given - “man or woman? What color is his skin? Is he fat or thin?". After this first round of questions, a series of improbable questions (for me at least) came up. “Is he taller than you?”. With an affirmative answer, a portraitist drew on paper a face in position, chin slightly raised. The rationale was that for being taller than me, that was his angle I’d mainly see Moreschi.
To start the process with each portraitist I was relying on my memory and trying to fill gaps that seemed nonexistent. “Does Bruno have freckles or spots on the face?” it was a frequent question. My first answers were always negative. As this questioning became more common, my statements migrated to the “i don’t know” and “maybe, I can’t remember.” Later, small black spots began to appear in the drawings. The face had marks, that have never been noticed before. With each new encounter with the described face, I sought answers to questions thrown by the portraitists.
Those were details, albeit insignificant, which were only perceived because the speech a “hard” block since it was tested, was constantly in check. The report was volatile because it did not depended only on me - the narrator. Outside the context of an exchange between interlocutors, the speech would echo only into nothingness and would never fulfill its mission to make itself understood. this standoff made me rethink everything I spoke even over an agreement with the work (“repeat the same speech for different people”).
The exercise of inaccurate speech, a point that theoretically denies the core of the work, is one of the central questions of “Procura-se” ("Wanted"). As ecléa Bosi wisely said in another passage of her book: “retelling is always an act of creation.”
* Camila Regis is coauthor of Wanted.