Site updated

New updates on this website:

– About, Contact, Bio, etc. revised and updated, a bit wordy but I don’t care.

– Inclusion of Washed Out Exhibition in Stockhom, Sweden, last chance to see it on Wednesday March 2nd from 12 – 8 pm.  With special new artworks by Laercio Redondo and Konsthall 323

– New projects for 2011 pending to be posted here – this is what I am working on at this moment.

– SP Arte

– Stockholm is great, Berlin even moreso. Singapore is a nice memory and hope to return soon.

(I have a studio to rent in Rio de Janeiro by the way)

YouTube gets a curator

How is it possible to “curate” Youtube? Among millions of choices, of an endless stream of hours of new footage everyday, how can we develop curatorial slants and selection filters in this flow? Youtube has decided to ask personalities to give their 5 best youtube clips, and Pedro Almodóvar gives his selection below. But does his selection say something about Youtube culture?

He chooses a Godard clip and a couple of songs that are meaningful to his oeuvre and meaningful as general cinema and music culture of a particular generation, but how are they meaningful to Youtube culture? There is a difference between selecting clips of bits of films and songs from the past and choosing clips that actually position Youtube and networking culture uniquely in the history of media, and why not, of cinema. I get the feeling that this selection could have been done in any other context, in the context of a television show or a video store, for the Godard and Brel clips can actually be found in other sources of media. The Internet here is functioning merely as an archive.

As far as network cultures go, Almodóvar’s selection is curious, but hardly revealing of the Internet itself, and of interest to those who know his own films and aesthetics. Of course, the way Almodóvar articulates his choices is interesting to see and watch. Apart from reblogs, retweets and facebook postings, one may get lost in the quagmire of youtubings, where users spend, as Lev Manovich once wrote, more time getting lost and trying to make decisions on what to click on the Internet than actually enjoying content.

But his last choice is interesting and relevant in a more reflexive way of understanding Youtube and its structure. The short film “Vecinas Valencianas” has been reenacted countless times on Youtube and thus stands out as a feature of web 2.0. You know when an idea is powerful when you have hundreds of people dedicating energy to filming reenactments of it and posting them online. It means that this film stuck to networking culture.

In celebration of Youtube’s 5 year old existence.

Houellebecq on contemporary art

From the novel Platform, Michel Houellebecq writes on contemporary art

Most of the artists I know behaved exactly like entrepreneurs: they carefully reconnoitered emerging markets, then tried to get in fast. Just like entrepreneurs, they had been at the same few colleges, they were cast from the same mold. There were differences, however; in the art market, innovation was at a greater premium than in most other professional sectors. Moreover, artists often worked in packs or networks, in contrast to entrepreneurs, who were solitary beings surrounded by enemies – shareholders ready to drop them at a moment’s notice, executives always ready to betray them.

The marriage of high fashion and contemporary art

In March 2008, I travelled to Hong Kong and was hoping to be able to visit the Chanel Mobile Art exhibition, held inside a temporary coil-like white pavillion designed by Zaha Hadid. This year, at least two more venues in Asian cities appear as contemporary art spaces, the Prada Transformer in Seoul and Louis Vuitton has branded Richard Prince’s wrapping of Hong Kong’s. The Hadid space had the temporary fleetingness of a travelling exhibition, placed on the empty rooftop of a carpark building facing the harbor. Spectacular view, discrete structure. The queue was unmanageable, the waiting time too long, and the ticket price too expensive, I was plenty satisfied with walking around and photographing the structure which was coldly beautiful.  Chanel Mobile Art, Hong Kong

Fashion and art share much in common. Fashion designers have long been inspired by art and with brands embracing other art forms and display modes, never has the marriage of fashion and art been so apparent from a branding point of view. We all know that Coco Chanel was a great artist, and Zaha Hadid beats many contemporary artists at the top of their game with her unpredictable forms, let alone the fact that she is a great painter. This being said, the contemporary art shown inside, even if it featured Yoko Ono and Sylvie Fleury interpreting the classic Chanel quilted bag, feels redundant, to say the least. To be honest, the proposition is not very interesting. Of course the exhibition must have had its highlights, but I really felt that the experience of the structure itself was fashionable enough. Despite its aesthetic qualities, the structure is completely opaque – there is no indication whatsoever about what happens inside and we remain circu-ambulating the platform and enjoying the photo-taking frenzy Asian audiences engage in in any cultural venue.

On the same vibe, Prada opens the transformer space in Seoul, but with even more boldness. With the same concept of incorporating the fleeting nature of a temporary structure, Rem Koolhaas, another heavyweight, creates a tetrahedral, portable, shape-shifting cultural pavilion that embodies the essence of its multi-functionality. It is placed near a classical Korean palace and garden which has survived for centuries, thus accentuating the juxtaposition of new/old, fixed/mutable, representational/abstract even more stark.

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Four shapes melded into one structure can be turned and cranked according to whatever is being shown inside. This way, the structure presents a more flexible environment to suit the display needs of whatever is being shown, whether it is a fashion show, an art exhibition, a film screening or a social function. The element of playfulness and participation is interesting here.

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While museums generally struggle with endless ways in which to attract visitors and dealing with costly facilities, Prada provides an alternative that could arguably only have come from a fashion brand acting in an industry where time is counted in seasons and creativity must outpace itself and the competition four times every year. In addition, the Koolhaas structure poses a challenge to a particular “exhibitionary order” by structurally denying many aspects of the fixity of art institutions. Rather, it follows the genealogy of an architectural folly set in a garden, following the classical art pavillion building type from the world fairs of the 19th century. To exhibit in such a space must be challenging and must involve a dialogue with this giant rolling structure that seems to have been thrown in the garden like a random throw of dice.

The relationship between art and fashion is not accidental nor merely inspirational – this is a calculated business move that benefits both sides, the fashion and the art within while strengthening brands beyond the point-of-sale. Fashion houses today are earning enough money to be able to become contemporary art and design’s newest patrons. Whereas these moves are critical remains to be discussed, and it is worth examining if art is seen as a commodity on display like a piece of garment on a hanger, or if clothes take on a more critical dimension and learn from contemporary art and architecture’s constant challenge of their own ‘exhibitionary orders’.

We all agree that most design seems to be shifting from the realm of ‘use’ to that of ‘experience’,  but the realm of experience has been art’s century-long domain, and architecture has always incorporated both. The question is not so much how these fields are taking from each other, but rather what happens when architectural innovation, artistic boldness and a sophisticated fashion brand come together. In fact, the three seem to obey the same logic of display but seem to also articulate the idea of experience as a site-specific installation that conjoins disparate elements into a new form of understanding the new patronage that lies behind the arts and the new arbiters of ‘taste’.

About walking

I have been long fascinated by the action of walking. As a traveller, walking and moving across landscapes is something that is in my blood. Three years ago, I bought an excellent book “Walkscapes: Walking as Aesthetic Practice” by Francesco Careri, which talks about the artistic and symbolic act of walking and maps out artistic strategies this mundane yet fundamental human activity, responsible for every single movement and displacement we do.

Walking is not just a transportation device but is fundamentally a way of thinking. The Greeks walked and talked philosophy. Much of modernist thought emerged from the act of walking in the city, more precisely in the city of Paris, where the flâneur, as immortalized by Baudelaire, is a defining subject that signals a defiition of the modern self, modern culture and the modern city. It is the negation of walking that also leads to increasingly dehumanized cities where rationalist plans centered on the use of the car make the primordial act of walking a nuisance and an aberration.

In December I am exhibiting together with Patricia Gouvêa in Rio de Janeiro in two-fold dual exhibition combining our photography of movements and patterns in urban spaces around the world and also an installation where we will comment on walking in a site-specific installation in a park. A strong constructivist and geometric impulse drives us to create these compositions. Yet, the underlying theme is the human drive to err, to discover to be constantly moving, but also to record the traces of one’s passage through space.

Isabel Löfgren, Walkscape #5, 2009

Patricia Gouvêa – Exercícios de Arte Lúdica #1 – 2005

Some words from Richard Long which help along the way.

I like the simplicity of walking,

the simplicity of stones.

I like common means given

the simple twist of art.

I choose lines and circles because they do the job.

My art is about working in the wide world,

wherever, on the surface of the earth.

My work is not urban, nor is it romantic.

It is the laying down of modern ideas

in the only practical places to take them.

+++++++

Keep walking.

Obsessed by networks…

…and images of networks.

Mira Schendel (Brazilian, born Switzerland. 1919-1988)

A Trama

(c. 1960s).

Oil transfer drawing on thin Japanese paper, 17 3/4 x 24 1/2″ (45.1 x 62.2 cm)

Mira Schendel. A trama (A fabric net). (c. 1960s)

‘Trama” in Portuguese means fabric weave, but also means ‘plot’, as in narrative plot.

Banana Museum

love this – turning history and culture upside down, Brazilian style. The uselessness of being serious, when you can be sarcastic and achieve much more effect, knowledge and wisdom.

Yes, I am proud to come from a banana republic.

Leandro Cardoso, a Brazilian artist who proclaims himself to be a revolutionary-in-training currently spending some time in Europe, created the Département des Bananes at the Musée d’Art Moderne. And puts philosophy in the middle. I am sold.