Battersea Arts Centre, London – until 22 February 2020
The combination of Argentinian history told through a collection of recorded tape cassettes from her family archives, Florencia Cordeu explores how her family identified what and where home was after they fled Argentina for a new life in Chile.
The large collection of various tape recorders spanned the generation of Cordeu’s lifetime. Wearing a white chemist’s suit she entered the stage and switched each one on in what appeared to be a random order. You soon discover that the suit and gloves she later wears are to preserve the old cassette tapes.
Autoreverse takes its name from a function used by cassettes. Cordeu explained in detail how this worked. I am still not completely sure how it works though. One thing I have learned from this production is that tape cassettes only last for about 30 years and the ones she plays are around forty years old. Therefore the next time she plays one it could be the last.
For memories as precious as hearing her families voices on the tapes I am sure they are now all on digital and what we were hearing was that version. Cordeu is extremely fortunate to have these tapes to take with her through life and this production brings her family back to life again.
Director Omar Elerian and Cordeu have created an unusual and heartwarming production. The combination of family recordings with Cordeu’s translations and a selection of old family photos brings a part of Argentinian history to the stage. Immortalising her family in this performance with so much love and respect for who they were. It was an honour to have shared the experience.