29 Dec 2010

After a long time in The Netherlands, artist Ivan Henriques is visiting Rio!
Future projects, future people.

21 Jun 2010

Standstill at Distance Festival in London

The festival DISTANCE took place between Sat 19th and Sun Jun 20th of June at Stoke Newington International Airport. I sent 16 invitations by airmail from Rio de Janeiro to Stoke Newington International Airport in London ...

"Somebody has told me it's summer solstice"
"Yes, I'm investigating whether the sun is really standing still"
"I need you to stand still for just one minute. Film the landscape to frame the sun's position in the sky against the horizon. The card you pick will reveal the hour you are entrusted to observe."
"With a digital camera. Prompt action is called for, you have until midnight to upload your film. I will have 4 hours from UK midnight/ 9 pm BR to edit the films into a sequence to be projected on Monday 21st at 17:17 here in Rio"

The result was 14 x 1" minute films sent on Sunday 20th June by midnight in London and the films are edited together by midnight in Rio on the same night. On Monday 21st June at 17:17 pm (BR) an event takes place in Alto São Conrado, in the community where this trans-atlantic experiement took place. A looking glass was built especially for this performance where the 14 minutes on sun-light of Britain's longest day were transported to Rio and projected into it, in a sequence as twilight commenced in Rio on our shortest day of the year in the southern hemisphere.

A very special thanks goes to Lottie Leedham and Neil Callaghan for their support from London.
Maiza Almeida, Moana Mayall, Sirkuu Maenpaa and Tee Cardarci for their assistance in editing, sourcing and building the looking glass to support the performance in Rio and a huge thank you the distance festival public whose films from the UK made this work possible; Laura Bradshaw, Rachel Jacobs, Willian Villalobos Fernandez, Catherine McKenna, Lucy Moore, George Morris, Elisabeth Morris, Ink & Ale, Wason Murray, Greg McLaren and Simone Kenyon.

1 Jun 2010

Living Machines

From a macro to a micro landscape. The plants have a different time comparing to ours and our relation with the nature goes in many different ways.

Ivan Henriques is doing a research in ‘green spaces’ in Holland with a specific interest in artificial landscapes as Botanical Gardens, green houses and plants, within the nature in cultural aspects, their own behavior and how the nature is interfered by man. The botanic systematization, the dissemination of different species all over the world and dialogs between natural and artificial processes are also subjects in my field of research.

This research of the landscape is a continuation with GEMA project that I have been developing in Rio, since 2007. This research involves natural and urban environment, the change of the landscape through the time due to the cities expansions. How we can have a better living with our environment instead of killing it using the technology we have nowadays? The next step for nature is engineering, creating a self controlled environment and recycle the resources. I am researching also about plants and politics into a bio-scientific sphere. The Mata Atlantica forest was destroyed by the uncontrolled growth of the cities and now Amazonia is also in danger. There are several multi-national companies in Amazonia: a cycle of destruction that starts killing the trees of the forest for agronomy, cattle raising, scientific researches, trafficking of plants, and so on. It is estimated that 15% of the Amazon has been deforested.

There is also a discussion about the internationalization of Amazonia forest which is a political aspect. A dispute of territory is going on and how an artistic practice can make a thought about this relevant issue.

This was happening in Brazil since the colonization time, and now? Do Brazil still in a technological colonization concerning the bio-scientific power?

“…better means of preserving, transporting, displaying, and documenting specimens; …” PRATT, Mary Louise, Imperial Eyes – Travel Writing and Transculturalization, p.28/29

The research about resources of the nature started with professor Bert van Duijn, from the Biology University in Leiden for a couple of months in how we can measure the action potential of the plants.

Every plant has its own action potential. The goal of this project is to have different plants and show how we can use their signal to make them move by themselves; a network to create an engineering project. Plants are connected with wires and analog systems; their potential triggers an engine. Is it possible to empower the plants? Is possible to make plants turn on a machine? If the plants and trees from the forest have power to move, would they save themselves from deforestation?

I was invited to realized this project at V2 - Institute for the Unstable Media, in the summer residency 2010, to develop this work with Bert van Duijn, Hortus Botanicus from Leiden and V2 team.

2 Mar 2010

Dark Forest collaboration with Active Ingredient

I began collaborating with the group Active Ingredient, based in Nottingham UK with the education outreach program of their beautiful project Dark Forest. A schools exchange concept, to connect a group of young people between the two forests of Sherwood in Nottingham and Tijuca in Rio. The initiative aims to bridge through technology and art activites a space between England and Brazil, and hopes to realize some examples through practical art workshops. It is an ambitious ground for interplay, which links two distinct and far places with a common interest. Our forests and our shared world environment. NEA (Núcleo de Educação Ambiental) of the Botanical Gardens in Rio accepted my invitation to support the project and proposed a local state school to work with me and Active Ingredient in Nottingham on a series of workshops, with the support also of artist and botanist Bruno Rezende (Department of Environment and Tecnology) also of the Botanical Gardens who I also had recently met in Rio. Active Ingredient began to simultaneously work with the Djangoly City Academy in Nottingham and the the state school in Rio; Camilo Castelo Branco, nominated by NEA to develop this work with. I chose the Botanical Gardens in Rio is the ideal starting point for these first experiments to take place. Its rich history and resources would support the workshops, paving the way to future collaborations, between trees, people and indeed continents.

Silvia meets with Matt Watkins, Rachel Jacobs and Dominic Pote at Nottingham University after visiting Active Ingredient HQ and Mixed Reality Lab, Nottingham July 2009.

Bruno Rezende at the foot of the 'Master of the Forest'. Our expert guide to this magestic pre-colonial 700 year old tree (indicative that it pertains to primary forest) in the Horto, Tijuca Forest, November 2009.

NEA - Núcleo de Educação Ambiental at the Botanical Gardens in Rio de Janeiro. January 2010.

6 Feb 2010

EME @ A Gentil Carioca Gallery

EME was invited to be exhibited at the A Gentil Carioca Gallery throughout February until Saturday March 6th 2010. This gallery is one of the most exciting contemporary art spaces in Rio de Janeiro and acts as an epicentre for artists, curators, designers, movers and shakers from these shores and far beyond. The invitation by the curators of this Abre Alas; Beatriz Lemos, Felipe Scovino and Guga Ferraz, to participate in this pre-carnival annual collective, was a unique opportunity to promote awareness of this ongoing project and allows for a space of reflection and discussions around the ambition of the project to a specialized and significant audience.

The public is invited to participate. Future editions of EME will undoubtedly involve the collaboration of a number of local and international arts professionals who have responded with interest to the installation, and wish to collaborate in the development of this mobile studio, the vehicle as a concept, its social and environmental impact, currently is focused in the state of Rio de Janeiro. The exhibition shows the fertile results from site-specific public/ live arts and interventions aimed at developing awareness and involvement between communities and institutions in the preservation of our shared environment, both urban and natural.

The project EME was presented in the gallery as an installation entitled: Experimento No. 7.

" A geographic space returns to the drawing board. A Map is drawn from a circumference where the city of Rio de Janeiro is the central axle. Significant points are marked and interconnected. Reflections between time, space, experience and situation. A composition is created over the results obtained from within a mobile unit of research and site-specific action. This work takes a virtual object into the gallery and negotiates an immateriality in material. The public is invited to mobilize within a landscape, and throw a dice. There are six directions which are starting points, by throwing the cube, destiny is revealed. Your position and function questioned."

" Experiência no. 7

Um espaço geográfico retorna a um espaço plano sobre um cavalete. Um mapa é apresentado. Partindo de uma circunferência formado por um eixo central, a cidade do Rio de Janeiro. Pontos marcados, são interligados. Reflexões entre linhas de tempo, espaço, experiência e situação. Uma composição é criada sob resultados obtidos dentro de uma unidade móvel de pesquisa e ação site-specific. Este trabalho leva um objeto virtual para dentro da galeria,negociando uma imaterialidade em material. O público é convidado para mobilizar-se dentro de uma paisagem, e jogar um dado. Existem seis direções como ponto de partida, e ao lançar o cubo, um destino é revelado. Sua posição e função questionados."

EME arrives into the gallery space and intervenes directly with the architecture it is presented with. An air conditioner cools this part of the gallery which we choose to display. Representative of many, if not most indoor spaces in Rio, this space relies on this somewhat archaic cooling machine to make for a 'livable' environment, especially in the summer months where temperatures outside reach 40 degrees Celsius, and keep on rising. The proposal to bring into the gallery the four-leaf clover is two-fold. In its conception, EME used the four-leaf clover within its logo, for luck, as many would immediately relate, and this luck is aimed at the cause of our project, our endangered environment in Rio de Janeiro, the Guanabara Bay and the surrounding Mata Atlântica biosphere. The interference with the air-conditioner also proposes to re-think its use. To re-think the technologies around us. Highlighting a paradox, that without it, these specimens would die in the gallery. The air conditioner's energy is shared with a HQI lamp, of blue light installed immediately above it. The light has the property pertinent for the plants' production of photosynthesis. This machine's engineering efficacy is directed at sustaining the life of these plants for the duration of the exhibition and questions our dependence on such instruments. It is undoubtedly ironic that just outside these gallery walls we would find the most perfect conditions for life and growth. How would the environment react if everyone switched off? Unlikely this will ever happen, so in the very least we should all be looking for the numerous alternative cooling solutions that exist ( and which we can create) that do not equally heat the air outside. The EME project instigates this kind of thinking from the artist, institutions and investors and propose to investigate sustainable solutions in a practical way, through experimentation and play. The contructive impact within the communities EME proposes to reach with each residency is achieved by the artist´s own sense of function and position. Autonomous and uninhibitted, armed with their aesthetic and poetic skill.

Experimento No. 7 is a translation of my experience of the first edition of the project with the task of constructing an approachable installation which would invite the public to think about the spaces and themes around Rio de Janeiro the project sets out to approach.