Lilia Mestre is a Portuguese performing artist living and working in Brussels. In her work she uses choreographic tools to research the social body. She gives special attention to the agency of all things and has been working in assemblages, scores and inter-subjective set ups.

Since 1994 she has worked as a dancer and collaborator namely with Vera Mantero, Hans Van den Broeck, Christine de Smedt,  Martin Nachbar,  Mette Edvardsen, Marcos Simões, Heike Langsdorf between others. In 1999 she founded the company Random Scream with Davis Freeman to expose the eclectic elements of everyday culture with proposed lines of flight for dance, theatre, and other media.

Her own work includes the stage performances: “Untitle me”, “Missing Link”, “Beyond Mary and Joseph”, “Rendering”, “(g)hosts” and “Moving you”. She also created a research project series “Interface fictions” for semi public spaces questioning process related practices. Out of a research on sound and emotions she created performative installation “Live-In Room” which also has an outcome as a radio program. “Ai! An interjection – as relational form” is her last piece in collaboration with Marcos Simões.

Actually she’s involved in two research projects: ‘And what about Virtuosity?’ with Edurne Rubio, Shila Anaraki and Frederik Croene supported by the Flemish government and ‘Choreographic figures -deviation from the line’ initiated by Nikolaus Gansterer and supported by the University of Vienna.

Since 2006 she is dramaturge and coordinator for Bains Connective Art Laboratory in Brussels. Currently she is program co-coordinator at a.pass (advanced performance and scenography studies in Brussels).


And what about Virtuosity? is a research by Shila Anaraki and Frederik Croene in collaboration with Edurne Rubio and Lilia Mestre. This research tackles the notion of virtuosity in current art practices. Very shortly, we can observe a shift from the mastery of a single technology and its purist approach into a broader ‘Know how’ that takes into account everyday knowledge and common skills as material to construct with.

The capacity of relating, inventing, operating, interpreting and displaying multiple singular tools (specific to each discipline) in the making of an art piece, brings to the fore the idea of the craftsmanship of the contemporary artist.

We take the performer as the craftsman, which exhibits her/himself in the creation of meaning by crafting relations, by communicating in the present time, by exposing the tools s/he or they preconceived and now articulate in front of an audience. We are in a post–disciplinary era that encompasses the relation of a singular knowledge to several other knowledge’s and tries to trace their agencies, making that process and product become one in the act of communicating; making the audience a co-actor in the play, we make sense together.

We started by collectively reading and discussing the book ‘A grammar of the multitude’ by Paolo Virno to situate our practices in the social and economic context of what it is to be an artist today. During the presentation at Bijloke we’ll expose some of our insights on the question: ‘And what about virtuosity?’ relating to the book and our singular practices.