São Paulo, BrazilAugust 24, 2015
In your city, how can we tell that we are in the year 2015?
I believe that the problem of the crisis of lack of water is one of the biggest issues that contextualize the year of 2015 in São Paulo. This happened, partly, as a result of the low flux of summer rain that would normally fuel the headwaters of rivers that supply the Cantareira system. The goverment implemented a number of measures, among them, a 20% reduction in water consumption.
What in your city reminds you of the past?
Abandoned manufacturing companies in Jaguaré, one of the first industrial districts of the city on São Paulo’s west side. Slow economic growth in the 1980s profoundly affected the district, which consequently lost many industries.
Which building or intersection in the city would make us think that we are in the future?
The impressive empty buildings in downtown of São Paulo that were occupied by different families and several representatives of MMRC (Movimento de Moradia da Região Centro). The issue of the struggle for habitation, historic in Brazil, that emerges again in the urban setting: the idea of the future as something unpredictable.
Where in your city would be the best place to lose track of time, freeze time, or gain time?
At the fenced-in dog run in Buenos Aires square in Higienopolis, where it is possible to see all breeds and mixtures of dogs together; or Parque da Água Branca, in Perdizes, with its ducks and chickens scattered through the gardens: it is possible in both places to gain a sense of time from the animals’ perspective.
What song or local band would you recommend for an everyday playlist?
Any songs by Adoniran Barbosa, the father of São Paulo samba. From a more “foreign” point of view: São, São Paulo by Tom Zé and Sampa by Caetano Veloso. And it’s impossible not to include something from the “vanguarda paulista” such as the Grupo Rumo.
Which museum or cultural space is generally omitted from a typical cultural excursion, but is definitely worth visiting?
I am not sure if I have found this place yet in São Paulo. Maybe Estação Pinacoteca, a lesser known annex of Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo, located in the neighborhood of Luz. The last exhibition that I saw there, a retrospective of Brazilian artist José Leonilson, really impressed me both because of his work, which I admire a lot, and because of the scale of the space and the way that the pieces were organized therein.
In which bookstore can you find new or second-hand publications on art history, exhibition catalogs, or artist monographs?
Tijuana, a place located in the courtyard of Galeria Vermelho that specializes in artist's books, and Bacanas Books, a virtual project developed by the artist Fabio Morais to share his acquisitions of artists’ books that includes a blog with Morais’ unique insights about his collection.
What dish most embodies your city, and where would you find it?
Like any cosmopolitan city, a bit of all worlds can be found in São Paulo you can get Italian food in the Bixiga neighborhood or Japanese food in the Liberdade neighborhood. But there is nothing better than the pork sandwich in Estadão, a twenty-four-hour snack bar, next to the viaduct Nove de Julho, that always saves me when I have late-night hunger.
Outdoor or public artwork worth visiting:
Any of the buildings of Lina Bo Bardi: MASP (Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo), in the Paulista Avenue and SESC Pompeia, in the Vila Pampeia.
Where would be the best place to view the sunset in your city?
Thinking about the crazy rhythm that moves this city, I believe that the best place to see the sunset in São Paulo is at any corner where you decide to stop and look up. Even though the city is populated by so many buildings, it is still possible, when you want, to find some radiance.
Next Sunday, let’s meet at:
Minhocão, a large viaduct in the Santa Cecília neighborhood, that is closed off on Sundays to allow hiking, biking, roller skating and skateboarding. It is powerful to walk there, imagining the flow of cars moving through there on the weekdays.
Which book transports me to your city?
A book I'm reading now: K. – Relato de uma busca, by Bernardo Kucinski. It tells the story of a father’s search for his daughter who, like many others, disappeared in São Paulo during the dictatorship in Brazil.
What aspect of your city most inspires you?
The confusion of people, things and times.
Where would one probably get lost: geographically, emotionally or historically speaking?
In the chaos of the city’s traffic.
If you were to be commissioned today to create an artwork “about” this city, briefly describe your proposal.
Thinking of São Paulo, a city that lives under the crazy pace of work, in a ceaseless flow of production, perhaps the best project to be done here would be something around an art strike.