Terrorist Cunt was an open collective of art students at the University of Porto. Their projects can be described as filmed semi-scripted absurdist performances and can be read as an expression of the dissatisfaction felt by art students in Porto at the time with the apathy they observed in the generation of artists that went before them. In 1998 Portugal faced unprecedented cuts to culture funding. Terrorist Cunt was angry because of those cuts and the resulting meagre cultural offering, and because no opposition was organised. Older artists kept quit and sought refuge in conservatism, and were, above all, afraid to be ridiculed. In response Terrorist Cunt decided to be the most absurd, ridiculous, and shameless as possible in order to be able to breathe and be creative.
The working method of Terrorist Cunt was to get together, drink lots of cheap red wine and to choose a book that occupied their minds at that time. From the book they would select pieces of text to be performed, oftentimes accompanied by Western pop music from the 80s. Hair, clothes, makeup, staging and performance would be taken to the absurd, leaving room for spontaneous action. The performances were filmed by whoever was closest to the camera and not be edited afterwards; the on and off button thus being the only editing tool. The stills on the next page are taken from the film that marked a turning point for the collective. The central question in the book used for this performance was how to live a modern life in Portugal after the 1974 revolution. From that experience, Terrorist Cunt understood that they needed to take their work outside, into the public domain. From thereon, their performances would take place at important monuments and places of significance in the city, involving the surroundings and audience. The films are currently in possession of all former members and frequently being shown and reused by individual members.
Video stills To Be Modern in Portugal ST - Hi8 - 4:3 45’30” PT