[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

<eyebeam><blast> localization

Luiz Camillo Osorio wrote: "It is wonderful that Ricardo [Basbaum]
introduced the favelas in the forum."
Ricardo's last post  encourages me to write more on  favelas, also
localization, Brazil, other, webs, syncretism, "post" human
communication, and narratives.

When the official policies of urban planning in Brazil still considered
that eradication was the only solution to a problem - or "social
disease" - then currently diagnosed as "marginality", removing people
from and destroying their houses in the favelas of big urban centers
were a common practice. A standard four-story building, most often
located in the suburban peripheries of the city of Rio - its outskirts,
or "margins" - was designed by architects who made their best to equate
the rationalist maxims "form follows function" and "less is more" - to
which the nature of the program in question lent special colorations -
with minimally acceptable levels of comfort, being the basic facilities
duly provided. The apartments were linked by rather narrow corridors,
which should not constitute a problem since these were spaces supposed
to function only as incidental circulation, sacrificed for the good
cause of providing the apartments with more generous inner space. It did
not take long for the occupiers to transform the neutral and impersonal
spaces of those functional apartments and buildings into something that
could resemble the ambience of their previous "homes", of which they had
been not only the designers and builders, but mainly their "authors",
interpreters, and transformers. External walls were soon decorated with
tiles printed with images of Sao Jorge or the equally popular twin
saints  Cosme e Damiao; or painted in combinations of colors no
architect of "good taste" would have specified. To a certain extent,
these and other transformations of the space were predicted and
expected, and were not repressed or censored in any way. But no sensible
prediction or project could anticipate the unexpectable circulations
that were to take place along those narrow corridors.
Believers and practitioners of Umbanda and Candomble', two religious
rites of African origin quite popularly widespread in Brazil, pay their
respects to Exu', a spiritual entity whose most common representation is
that of a powerfully built man, red skin, a goatee beard, holding a
trident in his hand. Though more immediately assimilable with the image
of the Devil, Exu' is not necessarily an evil soul. Exus are protectors
of the house, and play a role equivalent to that of the Greek Hermes,
messenger and communicator between mortals and the gods. Like for Hermes
in the Greek house, a special place must be reserved for Exu', outside
the house but next to the entrance door, a place of transition from
where he is always ready swiftly to depart. Never should the Exu' be let
in, for this would be imprisoning - and thus dangerously upsetting - a
spirit by nature mobile and free. For those who occupied apartments on
the ground floor, locating their statues of Exu' was no major problem: a
garden, terrace or any area next to a window would do as the outside.
But for those on the upper floors, the only possible outside was ... the
corridor! Initially projected for the necessary but eventful function of
circulation, the corridors were now inhabited (animated) by these
permanent and honorable reddish occupants, sometimes the size of real
men, always potentially ready to depart, and sharing with real people
the prerrogative to circulate. What could be interpreted by the users as
an undesirable inversion and usurpation of the space, was received as a
natural and inevitable circumstance, and people in passing would greet
these gentlemen with all due respect. More than strictly necessary, the
circulations now taking place in those ritualized spaces of sociable
congregation were "vital". The outside called for the inside.
"Domesticity" was back, back to "working", back in circulation. 

I apologize for the length of the corridor.
Milton Machado

a critical forum for artistic practice in the network
texts are the property of individual authors
to unsubscribe, send email to eyebeam@list.thing.net
with the following single line in the message body:
unsubscribe eyebeam-list
information and archive at http://www.eyebeam.org
Eyebeam Atelier/X Art Foundation http://www.blast.org