Let's Pretend This Never Happened

Performance | Stockholm Design Week 2018
Art Installations

The furniture brand De La Espada challenged Joana Astolfi to create a concept for the introduction of a new collection of pieces. Instead of a cabinet of curiosities or an art installation, this time Astolfi’s intervention took the form of a live site-specific performance featuring actors Fernando Nobre and Vania Rovisco. Rather than recreating the static and impersonal way that furniture is often presented in shops and fairs, Astolfi aimed to bring the pieces to dynamic life in relation to human stories. The performance takes place in an ample, elegant apartment, rented by De La Spada in the city center. Joana and her team emptied the apartment, reinhabiting the space with the brand’s own pieces including sofas, tables, chairs, sideboards and lamps. Even the paintings displayed upon the walls are removed, and replaced by neutral canvases with texts that maintain a memory of the originals. Astolfi hand-picked antique toys, vintage decorative objects and pieces of art to enter into dialogue with the furniture, creating a cozy and familiar environment to evoke emotions and sensations. The first presentation of the performance, entitled “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened,” took place in Stockholm Design Week 2018. In 2019, the piece was recreated in Lisbon, for a run of twice-daily performances over the course of four days. Astolfi wrote a storyboard of 13 scenes, in which the audience is invited to interact and participate, thereby bringing people closer to the pieces, creating empathy with them through touch, play, dance and memory. This immersive experience, one hour in duration, creates a real interaction with the objects by way of emotional catharsis. How do you experience the pieces of furniture in a home? How many memories can an object hold? What is the story that each object tells?
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