Elizabeth Torres – a Colombian American Award-winning poet and video artist interview to Film Poetry

Elizabeth Torres (Madam Neverstop) Colombian-American Award-winning poet, multimedia artist and translator, author of over 20 books of
poetry published in various languages. Her work intertwines poetry, visuals and soundscapes, language and performance, combining visions and concepts across various art forms and media. Elizabeth Torres is the Director of Red Door Magazine, NY and Red Door gallery, CPH. Music project & artistic monicker: Madam Neverstop

Which are the things that people worry too much that they don’t concern them as you say in a verse in your poem Gettin’ on with it?

I wrote ‘Gettin’ On With It‘ (which is an expression that means something like, moving on, or pushing forward) as part of a series of poems in the subjects of grief, loss, survival mechanisms and rebuilding one’s life.
5 years ago I experienced the loss of two important people in my life – my best friend in New York, and my first husband here in Denmark – and as I dealt with the horrible process of paperwork and rebuilding my life, I learned that a lot of people had “ideas” of what I should be doing with my time, with my life, or with my healing process. After talking to other people who have gone through similar tragic situations, I learned that it is a common thing for some people to try to criticize and try to take control of your process when you are vulnerable, when in reality all you need to do is heal, and take it one step at a time until you are ready to make your own big decisions. So that’s what I meant with this poem, although I am certain it also applies to all types of situations where others try to tell you what to do, but you would rather just go on living your own life.

when in reality all you need to do is heal, and take it one step at a time until you are ready to make your own big decisions

Where would you like to be, live, travel?

With my poetry and multimedia work, I have had the fortune of traveling to more than 30 countries. I have lived in Colombia, the US, and Denmark. Honestly I believe we shouldn’t be too attached to one location, because our hearts grow and our networks expand when we understand that the whole planet is our home. But I do enjoy my life in Denmark. I live with my husband in Copenhagen and we see this city as our base so we can travel to the rest of the world but always know there is a home waiting for us. Dreams to come true soon? Antarctica. I’ve been working with the theme of the Polar Regions for almost 4 years as a freelancer, and really need to stop writing about it and start experiencing it soon.

How your life experiences influenced your aesthetic style?

I am really moved by the philosophy of “neverstop”, which first originated from a film concept, where you hit record and don’t stop filming no matter what happens. That is what became of my life. All my projects, conversations, movements and goals are part of the performance. I want to look back at the film of my life and say: WHOA! NEVERSTOP! I really did manage to give my all to the projects I love.
And I think that this reflects in the aesthetics maybe not precisely by the one-shot policy but by the idea that it all revolves around a constant process of creations in various media that complement one another.

How important is performance to art?

Art is performance. Performance IS art. One cannot exist without the other. The real question is, how do we integrate these two into our life, so that they aren’t just a temporary situation on a screen, on a wall, on a stage, on a book… but in all of our actions, leaving a lasting print.

Art matters because it is an on-going honest documentation of our society.

Why does art matter?

Because it is the essence of communication. The ways we deliver messages that are directly connected to our hearts. The stories, knowledge and emotions of our people.
Art matters because it is an on-going honest documentation of our society. But it is more than that, as it gives us answers that can be interpreted and perceived without the need of translation or explanation.

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