Pink Valley is a three-member, Chilean-German performance collective that aims to investigate issues related to humanity and cultural identity. The group largely works within the framework of postdramatic theater and builds on scenically staged biographical elements, They are known to be highly interactive with the audience while drawing their aesthetics from the interdisciplinary. The group originally started with two unstoppable Chilean women who found their group complete with a chance encounter in Germany. Their story like their art is nothing short of inspiring.
How did the name Pink Valley come to be, and how does that name relate to your art?
We decided to call ourselves Pink Valley, because “Valley” is a mix of our names; Valeria and Leicy, and we wanted to have a color; we decided we are Pink! Because we are women and we are strong. Also pink has an interesting story: in the old times pink or rosa was a color of men, but suddenly it all changed.
Pink is a powerful color that reminds us of a sunset. It is an unbelievably beautiful and fascinating color that you wouldn’t expect to see in the sky because it is so floral. We felt related to this color because we want to work in between spaces,between day and night, reality and fiction, between male and female. We don’t believe in positioning something on one side or the other. We believe that when you do that you miss somethings, so we are constantly in limbo, open to letting things happen.
We feel that being in limbo is radical because that way anything could happen, not only to us, but to our audience as well. We constantly try to bring them to this middle point. We came from a structured background, but we wanted to abolish this and live in the middle where everything could happen. Our aim is to make our audience feel that our performances are in the moment and that each one of them is a protagonist.
How did you find yourself in Berlin?
Liacy: I was working with Valeria in Chile. In a national theatre, on a really traditional theater piece, and somehow we all got exhausted because of a man – a director, flirting with women actresses.
Valeria: -laughs- not “somehow” but obviously we were tired! It is really interesting that we use relativising words to not make it sound so bad.
For different reasons we were tired of working with men in power, and that is the norm when it comes to working in theatre in Chile. We are also very curious, and had a need to open our world to know what is happening in other places and how we could once more mix what we know with the other, and it was kind of like having a bag full of stuff, but at the same time we wanted to empty this bag, and we found each other here in Berlin together, and we started to think and create. It was fate!
Fate and Destiny seem to play an important part in your art and your journey in general, could you tell us more about that?
We started doing feminist interventions, asking questions about love, and because of destiny, we found each other living here. And we thought that now that we are here, what do we do? Either we wait for someone to call us or we change our schema (what we are looking for) and create our own stuff, and then we created our project D-Project (Destiny Project). In this project we asked people how and why did you arrive here, because we saw that Berlin is so multicultural, everyone has a different story, and we thought it would be interesting to ask ourselves and also the audience that question.
We also conducted an experiment where we asked people to write down or draw how they imagine themselves in 4 years, and we asked them to write their emails and four years later we sent their input back to them. Some people were where they imagined to be and others found that their lives went towards a completely different direction.
In the performance we said we don’t know what is destiny, for some it is in the future, for others it has already happened. When you see what has happened, you might say that was my destiny.
We mixed disciplines to try and understand destiny, we looked into quantum physics to religion. We realized we have a huge philosophical question, and we didn’t want to just show something, we wanted to ask questions and move people through space. And we told our audience that they are the protagonist of the experience.
We wanted to move people through space, as the protagonists of their own existential experience.
Was it hard to initiate working in Germany as people from a completely different background?
People had doubts about what we could bring to Berlin as people from a third world country. They said that Berlin has everything – what could you possibly add? But we found that there is space to do so many things here, and then Nina arrived to our collective also as if by fate.
How easy was it to integrate Nina into your collective despite your different background?
When Nina came, we were working in a park in a small performance and Nina just jumped inside and she just understood us. She simply understood what we were looking for, and she brought a lot with her. With her joining us we could mix our culture with the German culture, but it couldn’t be any German person, it had to be Nina!
Nina: In them I found sensibility and passion that I could not find anywhere else. I see so many collectives that lack an approach that goes as deep as these women go. These women have a very humane and sensitive approach to things and it touched me and grabbed me. They started to talk about civilization and I felt that that is an evil word, because the opposite of that word is primitive, and I said that we are taking the word civilized and we are shaking it to see what comes out. They also have a sense of irony and they don’t take themselves too seriously and they have an amazing willingness to pose question, research and negotiate.
Working as a collective often comes with great challenges. How do you manage?
Working collectively means each part needs to be responsible, and there needs to be a structure where there is a possibility for everyone to contribute. Being a collective means that instead of having one head we have three, It works well because of love and respect. The bases of love is not expecting what the other would do, but to respect what the other does. To us love is about acceptance.
What “moves” you or what inspires you both as human beings but also as artists?
Laicy: I started theater because I wanted to make a political change, I chose theater because I wanted to create a space where people can reflect and connect. It’s important to listen to each other and to connect, and to try and change the world together. However, in theatre there are power structures like actors being below directors, and in a sense that is why we decided to work collectively without a hierarchy, and in a way it is important to create equality.
Valeria: It wasn’t political for me. I am a sensitive person that has always wanted to understand both my behavior and other people’s behaviour. And I always want to understand what makes people move and to reach different perspective, and to search for meaning with the help of others.
Nina: I feel that seeing the potential in exchange is the core aim of us. If I go back three steps, I consider myself a feminist and an anarchist and I do fight for collective creativity which is hard work, it might be easier if somebody was in charge directing how things should happen. However, working as a collective allows ideas to constantly grow and for more interesting and intriguing things to happen.
What is your methodology?
Some people have an idea, and they want to put that idea on stage. For us, we pose questions and then we search and search, which is why we like to call our performances experiments. Our strategy is not to present a contradiction. We want to reach people without being deductive, and we want to present more than just our vision.
How would you describe your creative process?
A lot of the time one of us comes with an idea of something she wants to try out, or things she wants to examine. We work on the idea together, and then it develops and then we can no longer trace where the idea originated from. We always reflect on whatever we do together. Sometimes an experience transforms after a process of development and finds its way into one of our scenes. We also try not to limit ourselves to one discipline, and we always try to see things through spectacles of irony and contradiction.
We always try to remember that we are absurd, and full of contradictions, and we try to not limit ourselves, because humanity is absurd, and we always work with what really moves us, with what we think is important and then we build around it the dramaturgy and the structure. Often what our audience see is just the peak of the iceberg, we research and research, and we never draw a border between life and art.
Everything is a material that can be put on stage. This is an important part of our process. We also try to stay connected to the people and incorporate their ideas into our art. Also, we believe that things develop when you give every inspiration its own room.
What do you generally aim for when you are working on a piece?
Our aim is to make our audience identify, and that’s why we use humour, because when people laugh, they become more open and receptive and then we can start discussing important issues.
You have talked about identifying as a feminist group, but it seems that so many of the ideas you try to tackle through your art are very inclusive of men, could you tell us more about that?
Is is inevitable to include men when it comes to feminism, since we are talking about issues of equality. 97 percent of prison population are men. We have to work with men and boys, who suffer under a binary gender order. A lot of the time we are empowered as women, but we have to share this empowerment with men and boys for them to free themselves of an unhealthy hyper-masculinity.
What do you think is needed to become a successful artist?
I think the most important thing is to believe in your vision, but also be willing to put in the hard work, but you must be sure of what your dream is. You must clean your space and your focus from what is not important or urgent to you, in order to be able to see the possibilities.
Many people say you have to be in the right place at the right time, but sometimes you have to manage to get there. It is also important to be open, and see what you can bring, and how to use it in the right way.
It is very important to believe in yourself although it might cost you tears and blood and sweat, you need to do it! As long as you do something relevant people are going to start talking about it.
You also need to be structured, organized and stand behind what you are doing. You must be very patient. Don’t search for people that can give you something. Look for people that you can exchange things with.
What drives you to continue working despite all the challenges you face?
We feel lucky when we see the audience relating to our message, or learning something new, or engaging with a topic we threw into the room, or when we touch them and make think and connect.
Is there anything you would like to tell your future self?
Never forget that you have a role in society!
We also hope that nothing corrupts our ideologies, and that we’d always remember the sensibilities that drive us and where we came from.
Interview Conducted by: Muge Olacak
Edited by: Maya Asfour