C& talks to the Angolan multimedia artist about his performative practice and his music-driven projects.
C& talks to multimedia artist Nástio Mosquito about his performative practice and his music-driven projects. One of his newest collaborations is called Nastivicious that merges music, the digital world and performances.
C&: Tell us a bit about your artistic journey. How did it all begin?
Nástio Mosquito: Spiritually and physically speaking, I do rate coming to planet earth and having to breathe on my own as a crucial moment; the beginning of the journey of the art of living. But I guess if I indulge your question, there’s no international vibe to my work without the 1st Luanda Triennial.
C&: You are based in Luanda but at the same time you move around, working in various places in the world. With these experiences in mind, how do you see the Angolan art scene – locally and internationally speaking?
NM: I am not a good source for that type of observational testimony. I am very happy about not being the only Angolan working in this area. There are actually more than I knew.
C&: You also have a background in theatre. How did you move on to performance?
NM: I was too undisciplined to be an actor, too impatient to be a musician, and too angry to be anything else… I did not know performance as such existed! I am very grateful for the possibility to do what I do without having to invent a name for it.
C&: As you are the main/solo protagonist of your performance pieces, (to which extent) do you draw your inspiration from your personal life?
NM: It’s part of it, but most of my work is a collection of very honest and sincere lies! I do think that words and materialized imagination have the power to overtake reality. In a way it is the foundation of reality. I take the bullshit out, of what is indeed personal, and do the best to add – within my sense of community – the most consequently prosperous lies I can possibly come up with.
C&: In your work you question the western canon and concepts regarding art, Africa, the West… How do you navigate and use your artistic practice in western, global contexts?
NM: That’s not what I do. I have no interest in denying or affirming what my work and motivation is about; not as a public declaration of purpose. They say that history belongs to the winner; and even then truth is quite limited. Who cares about that anyway. We just want to live better. That’s my biggest commitment, to myself and to my human community.
C&: Which role does music play in your practice?
NM: A huge one! It’s one of my biggest tools: rhythm, pulse, balance and contrast, sometimes melody and harmony. I work, most of the time, with words. Music is my access to something bigger, better, more, plus…
C&: In your eyes, is music as such more accessible to people than other artistic genres?
NM: No, there are all kinds of people in the world, moved by all kinds of things. Spiritual things, physical things, emotional things. Then again, if you are talking about structural access, one can say that music its one of the most invasive genres.
C&: What kind of music inspires you the most?
NM: Inspiration is a bitchy, moody, unexpected muse. I am not sure I am inspired by music in particular. But I do know that one of music’s powers is its capacity to serve any and all moments, including inspiring ones.
C&: What are your next projects?
NM: A new music-driven performance. I have songs inside of me struggling to come out. I’m excited, mainly because I know what I want and have no idea how I’m gonna get there. Another exciting vibe is Nastivicious, a long-term project with Vic Pereiró; we want to start getting things to an audience on a consistent basis in 2015. We are working hard at the moment. And I guess more of the same, just better: more videos, more texts and more stage.
C&: Any young, up-and-coming exciting artists from Angola you want to mention here?
NM: Mehak Vieira. She’s your girl!
Nástio Mosquito has recently been shortlisted for the Future Generation Art Prize 2014 and the Absolut Art Award 2015.
Nástio Mosquito, DAILY LOVEMAKING, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham/UK – February 4 – April 19 2015
Interview by Aïcha Diallo