What does the word Brazil mean?
24 Jun 2020, 11:27 am
tudo era ser-se
sem ainda estar-se
e poesía nasceu-se
depois de em si nascer-se
I was born and lived in a city in the countryside of the province of Córdoba, Argentina. I grew up between the country, the village and my family. We used to spend a lot of time at my maternal grandmother’s house. She was a voracious reader, and walked through her old age by doing crosswords. Among her notebooks and papers kept as packaging, it was possible to find fragments of texts that she transcribed, significant notes taken from newspapers that arrived between postcards, correspondence and other clippings (stamps and loose words). I can say that she had a policy of storing, folding and unfolding the papers. You would find wrapping papers, plain papers of different textures and sizes and even packages of chimarrão tea and stretched tobacco labels that gave the impression of advertising posters. Being with Grandma Aida meant being in touch with those habits. Flip through magazines and newspapers. Surround yourself with books. I always had the feeling that from my grandmother’s house it was possible to see life in a more beautiful and different way.
On Saturdays she received a newspaper and on Sundays another one. These two copies, with their supplements, were read every week and she was also a subscriber to El Correo magazine, a UNESCO publication. That was when I came across an edition alluding to Brazil, which featured on the cover a reproduction of the work Operários (1933), by Tarsila do Amaral and inside the magazine an article by Severo Sarduy entitled “When poetry becomes concrete”, with poems by Pedro Xisto and Décio Pignatari, accompanied by the texts “Manifesto Antropófago” and “Semana de Arte Moderna” of 1922.
Above: "Como" [detail]
from the series "Dés-Pliegues", 2020
Acrylic on diary paper
82 x 60 cm
[everything was to be itself
without yet staying itself
and poetry was born itself
after being born in itself]
Free translation of Lenora de Barros’ poem, from “12 poemas para dançarmos”, November 2000.
In the same village there was a record store frequented by teenagers. New albums arrived, some imported, and some rarities used to appear. At that time, two cassette tapes by Caetano Veloso: with Uns (1983), we danced in the house of friends, and with Cores, Nomes (1982), poetry really caused madness in my life (especially the song “Sonhos”).
At another point in my upbringing in the 1980s, I woke my father up from a nap in the summer to ask for permission to go to the Rock in Rio festival, and I didn’t get the answer I expected, but after a few days, I see through the television screen a naked and feathered man on the Rio stage called Ney Matogrosso (the same one I had heard and hummed along to for his interpretation of the song Poema).
In this way, I incorporated a way of seeing and listening to a language. My father asked me if I understood everything I heard, I answered “partly”, but I didn’t mind not understanding everything. From then on I imagined, copied sounds, invented.
These findings and episodes were added to other readings and events that occupy the category of wonder and openness. Successes from Brazil that I can see as epiphanic moments in my life.
A Fábrica do Poema (1994), by Adriana Calcanhotto and Waly Salomão, was the end of this story that had been unfolding with the neighboring country. This album and this poet marked a new era, and marked something fundamental, I dare say it was the entrance to a broader art, to a general art, perhaps to what is meant by contemporary art.
What place, or rather, what to do with these influences that are part of a lifetime? That was the question which accompanied and counseled me.
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