Dani Tagen is a visual artist based in London. She will graduate from an MA in Fine Art at Chelsea College of Art and Design, UAL in 2020. She holds a Masters Degree in Contemporary Art and Teaching from Goldsmiths University. She was awarded the CAPES scholarship from the Brazilian Ministry of Education to study photography at City of Westminster College. She is currently living in Thamesmead, London, where she has her own radio program ‘Process in Focus’ at RTM Thamesmead Radio, in which Dani interviews artists. She works from a studio at her flat.
Currently she is working on a video-installation commissioned by Bow Arts & Arts Council England. Dani Tagen has exhibited in her native Sao Paulo as well as, London, Berlin and Vienna. Her work is held in private collections in Houston, Sao Paulo, London and Tokyo.
The Budapest Interviews
Those short conversations were not recorded, rather casual and intimate. I wrote down the words and the experiences from memory. The setting was a one and only, unforgettable Maria Inkoo tour in Hungary.
Massolit, Wednesday afternoon, I ask Zoe:
What do you think about thinking?
It’s unnecessary. I doesn’t mean much. But somehow, I guess I process things through writing so it has to be done.
What moves you?
But it is so difficult
Where is the sky?
It is in a crater lake on that mountain, the whole of it, condensed.
She smiles, with her eyes closed.
I was there when i was a child.
Thank you for reminding me.
* * *
Vera, what do you think about silence?
I love silence. I love it. The thing about it is that it is everywhere. In this glass, in this book, everywhere.
What about the clouds?
Clouds are dead people. Every time I look at the clouds I think of life and death.
* * *
Wednesday evening, Maria Inkoo + Amazons=Horses workshop.
The task: I will give you 3 questions, you respond through movement, embodying your answer, rather than expressing it, butoh stile. In the first question you stay solo. In the second question you start forming groups. In the third question you find a movement all together.
What will you be like in 50 years?
Zoe is close to the ground, slow but scream like gesture, contorted body. I think of a demon. Of being underground. Veronika walks really slowly, hunchbacked looking out at everything with eyes that do not recognise. Some people are lying down, some walking. Sarah stands still, with her eyes open and still but with an expression of fear, or even terror, like she is locked. Somebody is shaking, maybe Lorrie. I feel strange like there is death around.
What will Budapest be like in 100 years?
I see Fanny on the ground, like a fish without the water. Vero is pulling towards her, making a a river bed – fish times two, gasping and panicking. Sarah is a robot. I am lost, it’s all quite grimm.
What will the Earth be like in 5000 years?
(at first orbiting, for a long time, slowly they moved towards stillness, together, we were all silence)
* * *
Falafel shop, Friday, 4am, after the gig.
Ashley. What do you think London will look like in 20 years.
I guess it will be just more of what it is now. Young people will live further away. It will be old people oriented. There will be only rich people in the center.
What do you think about your eyes?
My eyes? I don’t know, I guess I am blessed, they are healthy, there is nothing wrong with them.
Where is the pain in your body?
In my mind. It’s the memories of the past. Difficult things that happened.
Can you talk about it to somebody?
Sometimes. Not very often. It depends on a situation.
Do you believe in Love?
Do you believe that love persists even in the wartime?
Would you like to ask me any questions?
Yes. I’m intrigued, I guess all the same questions you have asked me. Do you do it often?
It is the first time I’ve done it with a stranger.
* * *
Danube, Sunday night, the place seemed to be called ‘Fellini’.
I ask Bence:
What is good?
Being here. Not wanting much. This here is really good, friends on the river, singing. Not having to think about money. Ritushka is good. Yes, Ritushka is really good. Ritushka and I – that’s really good.
We sat on a pier, there were couple of couches and a little table and a little gazebo stile roof above. Out of the city, it was very quiet. The water was dark and warm and silky. We also had candles. Zoe, Sian, Tuuli, Vera, Rita, Bence and I, Dominika. We played singing games.
Rita asked us to sing single tones for at least half a minute, Bence started and we followed him, looking for some kind of joint vibration or harmoy. Seven vibrations. It went on for a while. So gorgeous, beautiful and moving.
* * *
Budapest airport, Sian asks me if I would like to make an interview with her. It is unusual because before that the suggestion always came from me. But she radiates with good will so I become curious and say yes. I am also really hungry, so I grab super expensive bacon sandwich. I count the second time I am having meat this week. I am thinking I’m a hypocrite and hoping Tuuli won’t think badly of me if she sees me eating it.
I am thinking eating and interview are not a good idea. I try to focus and be calm, and listen.
I ask questions and look at Sian, but I feel a barrier in a connection between us, and so I find it hard to go with her wherever she leads me.
She talked about her grandmother’s voice. It is deep but when she feels vulnerable it becomes really high. Emotion is really obvious in it.
She talked about how in her mind everything is enhanced, gesticulated the constellations and events, lightnings, colours, energy.
She likes watching.
It is hard to live while imagining the future and thinking of the past but never now. She thinks she needs to learn how to live.
She likes how yoga makes her feel various parts of her body that she didn’t even know about. And breathing into them.
She doesn’t know where she gets her neck from. It is different to her mum’s and different to her dad’s.
The last question I asked her was:
Imagine a line, where does it go from and where does it go to?
From me to you.
Very briefly it gleamed in my sight.
A great thank you to all the generous people who talked to me and to Veronika Szabó for hosting and introductions.