The Spectator’s Opportunity

“The Spectator’s Opportunity” (2006/2010) is a curating-based, hyper-surveilled and ultra-punitive project, directed by Rogério Nuno Costa (as curator) with the participation of 11 artists chosen from 8 workshops held in 8 different cities. The concept behind the project is inspired by the movie “The 5 Obstructions”, by Danish directors Jørgen Leth and Lars von Trier: the 11 artists had to subjugate their artistic projects to the rules of Dogma 2005. The whole process was thoroughly supervised (in 3 different residency-based phases) by the curator himself and a group of thinkers, investigators, observers and artists, as well as a special group of young art critics and an Assessment Committee (made out of “specialized spectators”, who have previously applied to an open call). Apart from the public presentation of the 11 projects, the curatorial program was accompanied by a series of street and guerrilla art actions, along with lectures, workshops, installations, terrorist merchandising and a video documentary. Despite the official timeline of the project is over, “The Spectator’s Opportunity” documentation is still being featured in many different kinds of cultural events: installations, conferences and master classes. Most of the participants decided to continue their projects outside the frame of “The Spectator’s Opportunity” (some of the projects are still going on at the present moment), and 10 new artists, writers and designers started developing Dogma 2005 projects of their own. Workshops, master classes and lectures about the Dogma 2005 process, the ethic/aesthetic tension concerning art and the concept of “freedom”, and the role of the observer (participation, interactivity and relational aesthetics), directed by Rogério Nuno Costa, are available for circulation.

Below, some more information on the 5 phases of “The Spectator’s Opportunity” project:


Inside the official timeline of the project, 8 workshops were held, starting in October 2006 and ending in October 2007. All the workshops were developed in a half practical/half theoretical model, where “Dogma 2005” rules, statements and obstructions were explained to the participants, who were then invited to create their own projects in the fields of visual and performing arts, design, architecture, art theory and critic, writing, digital arts, mixed media, etc. From those workshops, 11 participants out of 55 went through to the next phase of the project. List of workshops:

#1. ESAD/October-November 2006
Intensive master class for drama students at Superior School of Arts & Design, in Caldas da Rainha, Portugal.
#2. Transforma AC/November 2006
One week workshop/seminar included in the broader “Documentation Project” about the trilogy “Vou A Tua Casa“, during the Festival A8 LAB, organized by Transforma AC, in Torres Vedras, Portugal. With a group of people with no artistic experience.
#3. NEC/February 2007
One week workshop with a group of dancers/performers, at Superior School of Music and Performing Arts, organized by the Nucleus for Choreographic Experimentation, in Porto, Portugal.
#4. Centro em Movimento/July 2007
One week workshop with a group of performers, visual artists and one architect, at the training center Centro em Movimento (included in the training program “FC Verão”), in Lisbon, Portugal.
#5. Dance Kiosk/August 2007
Two days short workshop/master class with a group of dance/theatre performers. During the Dance Kiosk Festival, at Kampnagel, Hamburg, Germany.
#6. Censura Prévia/September 2007
One week workshop for a group of theatre performers and writers. Produced by the cultural association Censura Prévia AC, at ESPAÇO, in Braga, Portugal.
#7. Tanzfabrik/October 2007
Three days workshop/master class for a group of advanced dance students. Included in the Festival Fabrikationen, produced by Tanzfabrik, in Berlin, Germany.
#8. Ninho de Víboras/October 2007
One week workshop for a group of performers and thinkers, produced by the cultural association Ninho de Víboras, at Ponto de Encontro, Cacilhas (Almada, Portugal).

Since the conclusion of the “The Spectator’s Opportunity” project (2010), numerous workshops and master classes about “Dogma 2005” have still been developed, mostly in the context of academic institutions: Escola Superior de Artes e Design (Caldas da Rainha, Portugal), Hogeschool voor de Kunsten (Arnhem, The Netherlands), Faculdade de Belas-Artes (Lisbon, Portugal), Escola Superior de Teatro e Cinema (Lisbon, Portugal), Teatro Académico Gil Vicente (Coimbra, Portugal), Faculdade de Letras (Coimbra, Portugal) and Faculdade de Arquitectura (Guimarães, Portugal).

(Torres Vedras, Festival Transforma B, November 2007)

The first 6 participants are welcomed in the fictitious “curator’s office”, temporarily installed in the headquarters of Transforma AC (one of the project’s co-producers), in the town of Torres Vedras, Portugal. They had a short residency period of 3 days to conclude the projects they have been developing since January 2007, strictly following Dogma 2005’s rules and obstructions. All the projects were “escorted” by an omnipresent documentary filmmaker, the observer André e. Teodósio, the photographer José Luís Neves, and the curator himself. A place for total “freedom of speech” (ironically named “Confession’s Room”) was installed in one of the compartments, and could be used by the participants anytime they wanted, as long as the testimonies were properly filmed. The final results were included in the Festival Transforma B and presented to the audience in the last day of the residency: Artur Félix’s autobiographical installation “Life Project”, Joana Campos Silva’s talk-show/performance “Ausência”, Joana Vaz’s street art installation “Fuck Quarta Parede”, Dinis Machado’s performance “Apresentação”, Natascha Moschini’s music performance “Solo”, and Cristiana Rocha’s durational installation/performance “Apresentação Pública”.


(Rogério Nuno Costa's house & Galeria ZDB/Lisbon, July 2008)

The remaining 5 participants join a new approach to the hyper-surveilled curatorial project, entering the Curator’s own house, supervised all day long by an internal video surveillance system connected to a website. Not only they had to follow Dogma 2005’s rules, the curator’s conceptual coaching and Nelson Guerreiro’s “punitive” observation, they had also to respond to all inputs coming from the online audience, who could interact with the participants in real time via website (where the Curator’s House footage was being streamed), Skype, blogs, and other social networks. Furthermore, a group of 5 special spectators (chosen from a public open call) could visit the house, as well as the aforementioned group of young art critics. The residency lasted for 9 days and was accompanied by a series of street art activities aimed to promote the whole event; the artwork was signed by the Portuguese designer Diogo Machado [aka add fuel to the fire]:

Screen shot 2010-05-22 at 5.38.50 AM

The final gala/talk-show was recorded live the 18th July 2008, at Galeria ZDB (Lisbon), with the participation of all the Dogma artists, collaborators, past participants and special guests. The projects “Re-Cobro” (by Daniela Reis), “To Do Lists” (by Katinka Priegnitz), “Vou A Tua Casa E Tu Não Estás” (by Alexandre Sampaio), “Satisfaktor, Institut Für Beglückende Erfahrungen” (by Katja Fillmann) and “How To Become An Organizer” (by Hugo Loureiro) were evaluated by the Assessment Committee, but the last word came from the audience, who could vote for the winning project: Katinka Priegnitz’s.

(Circular Festival, Vila do Conde, September 2008)

“The Curator’s School” was a one week intensive master class program featuring almost all the participants of the last two phases of the project, along with many new collaborators and some special guests: the art historian Magda Henriques, the digital artist Helder Dias, the cultural programmers Paulo Vasques and Dina Magalhães, among others. This time, the invited artists (now “teachers”) and the curator (now “Rector”) could freely talk about their processes dealing with Dogma 2005 during the last 2 years, and the audience (turned into “students” of this fictitious “School”) was invited to undertake a conference-like work and an individual thesis to be presented in the last day of classes. “The Curator’s School” worked, in this sense, as a sort of ‘Spectator’s Opportunity megamix’, with traditional classes happening alongside with debriefing sessions, performances, conferences, talk-shows, lectures, documentary movies, etc. Following the main concept behind the parent-project, “The Curator’s School” proposed a fictitious university degree on the Art Of Denying Art By The Means Of Art Itself, and was grounded in the so-called “Vila do Conde’s Protocol”, where the main goals for the institution of a medieval-contemporary proto-academic learning system were systematized. All the activities were installed in the “real” Escola Superior de Estudos Industriais e de Gestão, in the town of Vila do Conde (Portugal), included in the Circular/Festival de Artes Performativas. “The Curator’s School” is actually the embryo of the new macro-project called “University/Yliopisto”, ongoing from 2012 until 2015. All classes can still be viewed in this channel:



(Atelier Real, Lisbon + Circular Festival, Vila do Conde, 2010)

From the end of “The Curator’s School” (September 2008) until the beginning of 2010, “The Spectator’s Opportunity” took some time to be properly archived and documented, a process that was accompanied by some paralleled activities, mainly academic master classes and conferences about “Dogma 2005”. During two months (April and May 2010), all the documentation materials (film, sound, text, photography, official documents, objects, souvenirs…) were installed at Atelier Real (Lisbon, Portugal) in order to be compiled, organized, systematized and presented to an audience. This new autonomous project was produced inside the frame of the cycle “Leftovers, Tracks & Traces: documentation practices in contemporary creation”, during a two month artistic residency at Atelier Real. Along with the documentation materials (organized chronologically through 4 video-documentaries and 4 installations), new street-inspired artwork was created on purpose by Diogo Machado [add fuel to the fire], and new retrospective textual reflections upon the main themes of the project were written for a special newspaper. The movie “The 5 Obstructions” (Jørgen Leth & Lars von Trier) was also shown and discussed between Rogério Nuno Costa, the Portuguese choreographer João Fiadeiro and the audience. Moreover, two internship trainees developed two new Dogma projects during the residency, and were evaluated by the audience in the final public presentation day. A corrected and augmented version was later on installed for the same Festival that 2 years before had received “The Curator’s School”: Circular/Festival de Artes Performativas de Vila do Conde. This time, “Big Curator Is Watching You!” was turned into a readymade/do-it-yourself interactive installation, where the audience could experiment, in a playful way, all the phases of the “Spectator’s Opportunity” project. The installation, held at the auditorium of the Teatro Municipal de Vila do Conde, were accompanied by the vending of special fan merchandising items: Big Curator Is Watching You bags, Dogma 2005 pins and The Spectator’s Opportunity postcards, all signed by Diogo Machado.



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