colliding in Rio

Barracão Maravilha International Residency Proposal Synopsis

Responding to the residency open-call, I’d like to use the time and situation in Barracão Maravilha to question urban artistic imaginations of our times through cooperative collisions of languages, cultures, expectations, perceptions and preconceptions.

To create such cooperative collisions I will:

1. Offer urban cultural network workers, such as couriers, postmen/women, taxi drivers, bus drivers, skateboarders, and others that move within the urban fabric, to visit Barracão Maravilha space, collide with me via cultural & linguistic differences – to create “cultural particles”.

2. Link with local artists and curators in the city’s various transport means, to talk about elements that might – or might not – emerge through collisions with urban cultural network workers.

3. Work with an artist/curator to produce an exhibition – show of some kind – that is using the collisions in points 1. and 2. as well as our personal one as an inspiration.

These collisions will create cultural particles/elements/materials – e.g. ideas, practices, questions, etc. – which will form the bases of a talk towards the end of the residency.

Residency Proposal Details


Barracão Maravilha’s international residency open call is very exciting in my mind because it suggests you are open to take chances, try new contexts, new ways of thinking, imagining and doing art – all this in the vibrancy of an urban fabric.

Urban life is a relatively new experience on a planetary historical perspective, and its vibrancy is not merely the rhythm of life, movements, in the city – but also the rhythms of our evolving lives of urbanity. Cities at the beginning of 21st century are very different from 100, or even 30 years ago. Cities evolve and move in their own pace. Through technologies, size, shifting perceptions, economic, work & leisure activities, city dwelers’ legitimisations (eg where gay people go out to and their visibility, infrastructure for wheelchairs/blind people, movements in, out, between and new ghettos for poor & rich, etc.), and in my view, these – and other evolving elements – come via collisions that are facilitated by links that streets provide. If cities were a living organism, roads would be the veins of that animal. Veins with a special cultural practice, an activity that feeds cities via collisions.

The streets of a city are like a large Hedron collider for cultures. Cultural objects, values, questions, smells, sounds, codes, languages, stories, narratives, etc. are being carried by all urban inhabitants through the city collider chambers – streets. When the elements collide in these streets/collision-chambers, much like the particles within Cern’s large Hedron collider, sparks made of unknowns may be created.

As an artist, I think of these as new ways to imagine that spark through collisions. Sometimes for a fraction of a millisecond, sometimes for a bit longer – maybe even for life.

I imagine, perhaps wrongly, that in a sense – Barracão Maravilha’s international residency, through bringing together people from far and relatively unknown – is in itself a sort of an urban art road, a vein in the colliding chamber of art. This might be said regarding many international art residencies, however not many offer the very challenge of urban collisions in such a visible way, and that, for me, is exciting – hence want to expand the notion.

In a sense, the fact that I do not know the culture & language – nor the city of Rio itself – is, in my view, part of the residency process in general and collisions-waiting-to-happen in particular. There are many possible collisions and resulting ways to imagine stuff that currently I can not fathom, yet will be open for.

However, I would like to outline the kind of collisions I can imagine now, based on interest. The starting points will be materially linguistic and cultural. From how do we imagine a linguistic conversation where the protagonists do not speak the same language very well? How new elements come through – or imagined through – perhaps fall through, that kind of friction? How cultural collisions create ways to imagine, or re-imagine, cultural practices? How perceptions and preconceptions imagine themselves after colliding? Indeed, how definitions, at times epi-cultural – such as what is art, how is art, artist role – collide?

For this am very excited about the idea of working closely with local artist/s and curator/s. The starting point, for me, will be to strive towards an exhibition with a local artist/curator. An exhibition to do with the cultural material produced via the various collisions. However, this will invert slightly the “normal” process of an artist making stuff for a curator to curate.

Since the cultural material in itself will be like particles, be questions, ideas, perhaps musings, maybe some notions of space and time, or an attitude towards meanings, etc. – the curator/artist and I will be in a new kind of link that will inevitably create its own collision and material.

In this way, the idea of an exhibition, of sorts, at the end of the residency, will remain open. However, through collisions throughout the month’s residency, cultural elements will be made and shared in various ways – as may be appropriate. The stories of how these cultural elements got to Be and how they have evolved, will form the material for a talk – perhaps discussions? – at the end of the month. (..after which I hope to skateboard all the way to Brasilia, doing artistic stops along the way..)


The following collision types are to illustrate a starting point rather that an idea-fix. these will involve the following groups of people, as all of which have something to do with movement and culture in various ways and on different sets of rhythms:

Movements of cultures within cities are facilitated by people and tools that literaly move people in urban environments. Such as drivers – taxis, buses, etc., couriers of all sorts, cyclists and skateboarders that surf the urban concrete.

These are the urban cultural workers of Rio I will meet and collide with.

Another general group is that of artist and curators. To mix the groups and create new collisions potentials, I will endeavour to bring the urban cultural workers to environments such as galleries, where artists and curators occupy. And through meeting artists and curators in taxis, or while skateboarding – these meetings/collisions will collide with urban cultural workers spacetime, if not in person.

Here’s a list of the initial collision activities I have in mind:

* Linguistic collisions.

Through talking with people that might not know much english, and I do not know Portugese.. These will help form new “linguistic particles” – or lack of such particles – such as ways to imagine words, perhaps words themselves, maybe verbal codes, and other such linguistic elements.

* Cultural collisions.

Through various ways of interacting with people. For example, perhaps space between bodies, maybe ways of looking & talking e.g. time to look at a person and tonalities, etc. – will collide. A bit like the “linguistic particles” these will produce “cultural particles” – or not – and will form bases for developing the talk at the end of the residency.

* Artistic collisions.

Through interacting with people, artists, curators, drivers, etc. and challenging to imagine art in a way that might question preconceptions. eg questioning – colliding with – the traditional model of artist producing stuff for another to curate. I will try to interest a curator in the collision practices, and in the stuff that comes out of these collisions as posible inspirations for them. Perhaps to curate other object-making artist, or maybe imagine curation differently. (eg curator as an object maker..?)

* Colliding collisions themselves.

As part of attempting to immerse within Rio, it might be challenging to find out how the various groups and individuals I collide with, might interact – or not – with one another. Therefore I will bring people from each of the groups into territories of one another. Perhaps skateboarding in the gallery? Maybe taxi-talks in a gallery cafe? Maybe a bus driver attempting to imagine the road as a cyclist would through meeting on a cycle lane? Or a curator thinking like an urban courier via meeting up in a like couriers meet customers?

* Preconceptions collisions.

I want to question my own preconceptions – as they are outlined here – as a way of immersion within unfamiliar cultural rhythms, and challenge myself as to how stuff might come out through the collisions.

This will be done throughout discussions and events during the residency, in general, and through the talk at the end of it. I will want the talk to have a self reflecting, questioning element, however will actively ask people to critique the preconceptions and, in a sense, be actively seeking collisions during the talk.

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