DIY 14: 2017 - Fabiola Santana: Houses of Decay - An Intervention

Let's explore together the potential for connection and humanity by creating new rituals to deal with death


Project summary

Houses of Decay: An Intervention is an attempt to place rituals of grief, loss and decay into public spaces. A series of workshops and performances for 10 intergenerational women. Through our bodies we will explore how we relate, experience and respond to loss, decay and grief; and create new rituals bespoke by us, for us, to deal with it all. We will explore and reclaim the role of women as a conduit for communal mourning and expression. Willingness to be vulnerable; be comfortable with hands-on explorations; use the voice; perform in public and private spaces; and be part of a community is essential.

Each workshop will explore different themes: 1) Group tasks exploring how we respond authentically to touch to uncover an unique movement language. Followed by a public intervention where each participant will offer to wash the hands of passer-bys while talking about anxieties around loss (of a person, job, house, status, etc); 2 ) A visit and dance in a derelict building, exploring the connection between the skin of the architecture and our own; 3) Carrying a body in a procession and holding a silent wake, in public; 4) A workshop in collaboration with voice coach Lisa Lapidge, exploring vocal practices in relation to lamentations, keening, speaking and crying voice. Later taking these laments into a public space where we offer to keen for the losses of the community. Group discussions will complement the bodily explorations, akin to a Death Cafe.

In the current political climate where, more often than not, division is promoted over community, I feel it is important to address and experience a creative language where the role of communal action brings people together. Through an exploration of these universal and inevitable themes a sense of belonging can be experienced. 

How to apply

Applications are invited via the link below, and require answers to a short series of questions on your practice, ideas on death, and group working, as well as the enactment of a short creative task:

While washing the hand of a person you know, as if you were preparing their body for their funeral, ask them what their parents taught them about death?

Documentation of this act can be uploaded to the form (video, images, writing, or audio), and video responses to the other questions are also welcomed.


Dates, times and location

Dates: 28-29 Jul, 11-12 Aug, 18-19 Aug 
Location: Leeds

The artist

Fabiola and Lisa work in a way which facilitates an openness to encourage others to explore their unique artistic voice and to be brave in addressing subjects that might be hidden or unspoken in our daily lives.

Fabiola Santana works as a dancer, collaborator, workshop facilitator and actor in immersive and physical theatre. Currently researching her first solo work, from where this DIY steams from, Houses of Decay. From her ongoing training in contemporary dance, Butoh, actor training and voice work she seeks to create performances that bring her and the audience to the present moment, through authentic human interactions. She is interested in the body, home and memory; simple movement tasks that allow each individual to explore their own creativity; and allowing our imagination to transform our bodies and movement. She is looking for sensitivity rather than extreme movement. These experiences expand her practice and understanding of audience- performer's relationship. Relevant work for others includes: as a dancer in Erratica's new production Remnants (2016-17); as a core member of ZU-UK's critically acclaimed overnight immersive theatre experience Hotel Medea and The Humble Market (2011-2012); and MAS Productions' Lady Vendredi (2016-2017). These projects challenged audience and performer's relationships in familiar and unfamiliar ways. 

Lisa Lapidge is a voice practitioner and coach with over ten year's experience. Notably she created vocal arrangements for ZU-UK's award winning Hotel Medea whilst managing the company's work. More recently she has created polyphonic immersive sung encounters for festival audiences. She holds an MA with distinction in Voice Studies from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Houses of Decay co-produced with MAS Productions.

If you have questions about this project, please contact Fabiola.

This DIY is supported by Live Art Bistro, and funded through Live Art UK's Diverse Actions initiative.

Part of DIY 14: 2017 - Call for Participants