Individual Work

This entry was written in collaboration with the PO.EX. Digital Archive of Portuguese Experimental Literature.

Actor, theater and stage director, Américo Rodrigues is also the voice of Escatologia (2003), a collection of sound poetry created with the collaboration of Luís Andrade (recording and editing); Maria Lino (original drawing), João Louro (graphic design) and E. M. de Melo e Castro (text). In this work, the poet’s vocal tract is used as a laboratory of sound and a shuffler of meaning. Os Lusíadas (1572), one of the most emblematic works of Portuguese literature, written by Luís Vaz de Camões, is recited while eating a handful of chips. The muffled sound coming out of Américo Rodrigues’s mouth corresponds to disconnected consonants and vowels, or words which are being dismantled and triturated by Rodrigues’ experiment with sound. Reduced to their minimal units, words are lacking sense and coherence, until they finally cease to exist. Faced with the imminent loss of meaning, the listener attends a performance where sounds return to a primal state, freed from the impositions of writing or verbal speech. Rodrigues demonstrates that vocal sounds can go beyond words or letters, and treats them as physical manifestations of emotions (Portela, 2003) or as the remains of feelings, sensations, and sentences. Once these are vocalized, they immediately disappear. “Escatology” is the study of the end of the world or humankind. The ephemerality of oral speech is thus equated with the inevitability of death.


PORTELA, Manuel (2003). “o som do corpo com o som do corpo. Recensão de 'escatologia', de Américo Rodrigues”, in Inimigo Rumor, Nr.15. Lisbon/ Rio de Janeiro, pp. 246-251. Also available at: