Chavisa Woods

header photo

Itziar Barrio at the Arriaga Square and Theatre, Bilbao,



Arriaga Square and Theatre, Bilbao, Spain

Some months ago I came into an open mic at the bowery and made people repeat Adele lyrics mic-check style. Silly as it seemed at the time, this was part of a larger collaborative project concieved and direted by Itziar Barrio. I have included the video and footage of the sound installation outside the theater, all of which which played in public in and outside of a theater in Spain for a month. My poetry is also included in Itziars brilliant video of the theater, all of which can be viewed here:


Through the project “We could have had it all”, Itziar Barrio assimilates different phenomena: the “people's mic” as a formula of popular protest in public squares, when it is forbidden to use amplifiers (Occupy Wall Street); the crystallisation of contemporary myths in mass concerts where pop stars invite their audience to continue their songs (Adele), and an ancestral form of communication that predates theatre (bertsolarismo). In all these cases, amplification of the voice and repetition are a constant. The microphone appears in all these manifestations as a prohibited and/or desired object. An instrument of power: to be snatched away, to facilitate, to share. This erect device is exactly what enables the amplification and repetition of voices, thoughts, ideas, and signature tunes, making the microphone a symbol of the public sphere and the transmission of stories.


Through the exclamation “we could have had it all // dena eduki genezake”, frustration, desire and social struggles come to light. Two storytellers with narrative tools and their own languages (English and Basque) will unveil a hidden story that is or isn’t fictional, that is or isn’t credible. North American writer Chavisa Woods and bertsolari Maialen Lujanbio form part of the project creation process, through a dialogue of figures between the two artists, functioning simultaneously as producers and protagonists of this story.


What marks the project is the fragmentation of an audiovisual piece. Audio and image in movement, separated, bring about a frustrated dialogue. The voice hangs in the Arriaga Square just as on so many other occasions at the beginning and end of countless demonstrations and protests. The image comes in and takes its place on the stage facing the stalls. The audio-visual, film and theatre, outside and inside, public and private space. Dichotomy and diptych are the formal keys to the proposal, but to the language too, for that is what is predominantly used to resolve, understand and create a conflict. There is always conflict, as there is always language.


Below find the full poem with excerpts featured in the video:

"And Where are the Giant Squids of Sex?"   - by Chavisa Woods

there remain   many things     missing;

the taste of lemon in the sunlight

that makes  brutality forgivable,

the breath of the breathless,

my left eye.

I’ve been seeing through half-light

as if the ocean bottom

as if the ocean is blinking


there remain   many things    missing;

where is the silver in the rafters whose sheen made the beating bearable ?

they are dull now

duller than a worn out drum

where are the wars’ ends ?

and who is fucking them ?

the beat that was played 

and the beat that was not playing 


there remain   many things     missing;

the fever pitch bringing out the dark, 

a million mad revolutionaries tearing holes through perception’s air 

and the generous lover filling my holes with fists of intuition,


the giant squids of sex, 

the piss on the tongue

the storm that came and


my knowledge of myself 

(where is the love in your red speach?

and where is the communism in your love?)

your chaste withholding

the turning away

strikes like an unsuspecting

bird against my windows

where the air decays the ocean’s edge

I walk down the boardwalk of bodies

each one more brittle than the next

mine has been placed there as well

by your hands of ration

you’re going to wish

you never met me

missing remains

the tossed ship

moss covered

eaten away


in the deep


Go Back