mirador: a turret, window, or balcony designed to command an extensive outlook. 

borrowed from Spanish, borrowed from Catalan, from mirar "to look at" (going back to Latin mīrārī "to be surprised, look with wonder at")-ador (going back to Latin -ātōrium, from -ā-, verb stem formative + -tōrium, suffix of place, from neuter of -tōrius, adjective derivative of -tor, agent suffix)


Merriam-Webster Dictionary


1. adj. Que mira.

2. m. Corredor, galería, pabellón o terrado para explayar la vista.

3. m. Balcón cerrado de cristales o persianas y cubierto con un tejadillo.

4. m. Lugar bien situado para contemplar un paisaje o un acontecimiento.


Real Academia Española

One night while I was grocery shopping, I decided I would do my thesis about



Why do we go to these places? To see something. To our presence precedes the assumption that there is something worth seeing, and we need to get there if we want to experience it. We move to watch: there is an effort and a reward. 

point has been chosen in relation to a view. By whom? Why? How? When?

My colleague Anni Pellikka pointed out that the Portuguese word miradouro could allude to a "golden view" if we break it into mirar o d'ouro – mirar (to look at), and ouro (gold). In reality, the etymology is similar to mirador in Spanish, but this play on words clearly associates viewpoints to contemplation and pleasure. There is value in it. But what is there to see? Can we see anything at all? 

Who says view, says eye, landscape, representation [see Glossary].

Miradores are also a matter of scale, distance, and speed. Reading Ser o no ser (un cuerpo) by Santiago Alba Rico, and some excerpts of Michel de Certeau's The Practice of Everyday life, especially the chapter dedicated to spatial practices, has been informing my perception on these topics. I will articulate how they speak to me in the future – now is too soon. 

If we focus on VIEWPOINTS AS PLACES1, what is their use today? Which viewpoints can we think of? Where can they be found? 

I've thought of these [see Miradores]2. Based on my personal experience, I've divided  viewpoints into three non-exhaustive categories: (i) places for contemplation in rural environments, (ii) touristic sites, (iii) and spaces to monitor and control (from a window to a tower). 

As I live in a city, I would like to focus on touristic3 viewpoints in urban environments4. To access these spaces one must often pay for an entrance or pay for a service, and these iconic sites can tell us a lot about how a city or territory portrays itself. What can we see in and through them? Have most viewpoints become obsolete spaces, and thus touristic? 




1 Every space (including what is intangible) can be a place for looking, from or towards which to focus our attention. However, I would not like to address this at this stage, as I'd like to start from the physicality of viewpoints. They are places that have been chosen, arranged or reconverted for the exercise of sight, and we must get there, where they are, to watch – this is something that is becoming rarer in our everyday life as we appreciate an increasing amount of things through a screen, they come to us.

2 The Miradores page of this exposition gathers those viewpoints that came to my mind when I did the first brainstorming about the topic. They are places I've visited, mostly as a tourist, and a few have been very present in my every day at some point in my life. Most of these images were hiding somewhere on my computer, and some are almost ten years old. The paintings, poems, and song are not "physical" vantage points, but viewpoints nonetheless, and they made an unexpected appearance while I was building the Miradores page. They belong to my collective imaginary, and I've chosen to keep them close because they've already triggered some questions. As time goes by more viewpoints emerge: I've decided to stick to the first ones I could remember. 

3 What is touristic and what is not is a question in itself, but so far I will define as touristic those sites that are recommended at local infopoints for tourists or in the official website of cities. 

4 However, at this stage, I am not excluding touristic vantage points in the countryside. 


Movement and bodily practices will be key in my final work. The reasons are simple: because I enjoy it and because I've never done it before. Any other arguments will be relevant but secondary in importance. Three things are worth mentioning at this stage. 

First, a working tool. Over the years I’ve encouraged myself to attend workshops related to dance and somatics. My notes remain the primary access to these practices after a workshop is over, and I’ve thought to bring them together in The intuiclopedia of the body. Each entry of the intuiclopedia will be a fanzine and will correspond to a practitioner whose workshop I took part in. It will include who they are, the context in which we met, my notes and instructions on the exercises we did, as well as questions that emerged during the workshop. I’ve conceived the intuiclopedia as a tool for internal use for myself and the working group. I see it is a means of reviewing and gathering scattered knowledge while acknowledging practitioners and learning experiences that have been important for me. There is both an emotional and functional dimension to The intuiclopedia of the body

Second, attention practices. Without any theoretical knowledge about somatics and bodily work, I associate these practices with attention, presence, imagination. They activate other ways of perceiving and relating to one's body and other bodies, both human and non-human. If I also think through movement, I haven't found a way to translate these thoughts into words. Moreover,  I would also like to bring into the picture other actions that are familiar to me, like dancing cumbia, cleaning, walking, or gesticulating while I speak. I think this is the biggest challenge and mental barrier for me – how to make a "movement piece". 


Third, collaborations. I’ve met Anni Pellikka, Georgina Goater, and Mercedes Balarezo during my studies at the Theatre Academy (Teak). Inviting them to take part in my final piece has happened almost intuitively: over coffee and lunch, or while chatting after a performance. What could we do together?


But perhaps I should begin with another question: Why do I feel the need to work with others? Recently, I’ve been mostly working on my own. Otherwise, I’ve always been involved in collective projects, urbanism or culture related, and my tasks only made sense in connection to somebody else’s. Now that I’m “in charge” of my thesis, I’m confronted with the question “What is it that I want to do?” more than ever before, and I’ve recognized some limitations. The first one: What do I know about moving and dancing? If I plan to move out of my comfort zone, it might be a good idea to do so with people who have experience in this field. Anni, Georgina and Mercedes have their own practices and approaches to bodies and movement. We’ve crossed paths in workshops, and it’s from these experiences that I feel eager and curious to work with them. It will also be the first time the four of us collaborate. 


This leads me to another concern: How to make room for all of us. On this occasion, I’m the host; the thesis is my responsibility. I have the opportunity to rehearse how to work and be with others. How do we prepare the circumstances for the working environments we’d like to belong to? I think it is also about learning how to lead others inside my process while remaining open to contaminations—which is easier said than done. There are many things to be discussed among the four of us: rhythms, needs, desires, conflict zones. 

Finally, workshops.  Everything I've learned about movement techniques has been during workshops, and my professional experience in urbanism involved mediating several, although of a different kind. It's as if I've been jumping from one to another. 


I've come to understand them as intermediate spaces where you can try things out. However, I don't know how to bridge what takes place in a workshop with "the outside world", for instance, a "final" piece, and even with my practice. Something has happened, but it's difficult for me to take it any further, and it might be an issue during my thesis process. 


Further on, I'm sure there are creators for whom the workshop is the performance itself, and this is something I would like to research. However, as of now, I'm intrigued to explore it as a crack. What are the possibilities of the workshop as an in-between space? Can I imagine anything different than what I've been taught? Is there anything that needs to change? What good does a workshop do? The list goes on. 


It was halfway through my current studies that I began to think in terms of practice. What do you do? How do you work? Until then, I had only thought in terms of interests, and how I got closer to them was a matter of circumstances and knocking on doors. 


Retrospectively, I realise that for a long time my practice consisted of accessing different spheres of art. To think about it would first and foremost require me to reflect on processes of legitimisation, working environments, and education in this field. I will not do so here, but I'd say that before the MA in Live Art and Performance Studies (LAPS), my artistic practice was confined to what I thought of as "the margins". It came down to being an audience, taking workshops, and assisting in the production of different projects. In other words: finding information, buying tickets, paying course fees, attending public talks and events, writing and translating texts, making phone calls, moving furniture, cleaning, guiding people, and participating in collaborative projects, often without a clear position. 


I’ve kept doing most of these things since I moved to Helsinki. What has shifted is (i) acknowledging practice as a thing, and (ii) finding myself building a solo practice as an artist.  In complete honesty, I think I’ve advanced very little on this front: If you can choose what to do, what will you do? Are you free at all? 


As I keep working towards naming and discovering what I enjoy doing, I would also like to take this exposition as an opportunity to reflect on my practice during my time at LAPS.  


We had three mandatory performances throughout our first year of studies. I will quickly go over them to remember which strategies I used to make decisions at the time.


Güateque, renamed Follow the plants!, took place in August 2017 during a study trip to the Research Pavillion in Venice. I was concerned about what I was contributing to by being there at that time. Being a tourist was for me the most significant performance of all, and I kept asking myself what can I see in such a short time? I began to pre-fabricate situations for myself, hoping that something unexpected would happen. 

Follow the plants!  and resolving by imitation: While in Venice, all I did was intrinsically linked to my life in Madrid. Walking, drawing, weeds, and food initially relate to the practice or interests of colleagues and friends, rather than my own. My actions intended to re-enact experiences that were very dear to me: (i) for the pleasure of it, and (ii) to test where they'd lead me in a different place and with other people.  


Call me Mermaid, if you like was conceived in the framework of Co | Lapse, a joint event with fellow LAPSes at Vapaan Taiteen Tila in November 2017. I thought again: What am I supposed to do? We’d been in school for a couple of months, and I suddenly felt I had to pretend I knew. But I didn’t. All I could come up with were performance clichés I’d likely fail to pull out. I chose to take advantage of the two “spare weeks” we had to prepare the performance to play with time and get out of my way.  


Call me Mermaid and resolving by deviation: I think I was afraid of “performing” in front of an audience, and I instinctively slipped away to ideate a situation where I could find what I needed back thentime, getting to know Helsinki, and hopefully people as well. 


No olvida el corazón cuando se ha dado was performed in the garden of the Khalil Sakakini Cultural Center in Ramallah on May 12, 2018, during the symposium Recall|Reflect|Return. Once again we had the chance to travel, and the obligation to perform. Going to Palestine and doing a piece there was a challenge; first, because no matter how much we prepared beforehand the complexity of the situation there exceeded my understanding, and second because we would only discover the performance spaces on site. Eventually, I decided to focus on belonging, an issue that resonates with me on a personal level. 


No olvida el corazón and resolving by association: The title of the piece is a verse by Mexican poet Rubén Bonifaz Nuño. It wasn't the first time literature or poetry provided me with a starting point for a performance. On this occasion, I took it out of context and used it to explore my own geography and my experiences in Latin America in particular. 


Had we not had an obligation to perform, I probably wouldn't have performed at all. These experiences were valuable in so far they pushed me to produce work, often under pressure,  and try out things even if I didn't feel the need to. It was like jumping in at the deep end and, for somebody who didn't have a practice in performance art, this was necessary. However,  I jumped from one task to another without doing much follow-up. The choices I made for each performance were related to my life and my needs at the time. Looking back, imitation, deviation, and association seem like resourceful strategies, but they weren't necessarily conscious, and I would like to make artistic decisions in a different way than just ticking the box and moving on to the next deadline. My situation today is different compared to my first year at LAPS: I am more focused, I have a more defined practice and research interest, and I can afford to take the time to have longer research processes. The thesis will be the occasionand the challengeto take things further, to sharpen what it is that I do and how do I do it. 




In Helsinki, the sound of water is very present.  I began to take videos of water pipes, and later on documenting the melting of ice and snow in different contexts. Eventually, I began to keep track of everything that unexpectedly caught my attention on the streets, both with pictures and videos.



I know very little about photography, but I use an analogue camera to go on walks and map spaces. I consider it a collaborator, a co-performer that helps me approach those elements that make me drift and pause. I don't necessarily aspire to get "nice images" but to explore the action of taking a picture, and how it may alter the flow of a place. An example of this practice could be Vasistas/Was ist das? or Sintra


In the summer of 2018, I created an Instagram account (@mariadecandama) and launched a series of #minute_performances. During 60 days, I would upload every day a "still" one minute video, and then take a 60-day break. Part of my original motivation was to share the material I was keeping to myself (videos of random things), but also to start assessing the content of these videos as performance. Most videos on the Miradores page of this exposition are #minute_performances. I did this exercise twice and then decided to delete my Instagram account. However, I keep making minute performances as field notes and would like to focus on editing and making a video essay.



Last but not least, writing. I have a complicated relationship with writing, so I write. I enjoy George Perec's writing practice in An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris, and I'm interested in how we map a space through writingwhat is it that we noticeso I've done Perec's exercise alone and with other people, including my father, as exemplified in Verano 2018 (texts only in Spanish).  


The activities I refer to in this section have been impulses, gestures, things I enjoy doing. Outlines. I'm a fan of the mundane, and there are names, people and practices along this line with whom I'd like to engage further. After all, there are viewpoints and points of view, and this thesis deals with the two. My final work at LAPS will be the opportunity to get rid of canons and habits that obstruct my learning experiences in general. It will also entail coming to terms with a series of artistic ambitions that might, in fact, be contrary to my desires and intuitions. What's it like?