ATLANTIC ARCHIVE INSTALLATION
AQUIPELAGO CENTER OF CONTEMPORARY ARTS, 2022. @HUGO MOREIRA
The Arquivo Atlântico installation was developed in collaboration with Arquipélago – Centro de Artes Contemporâneas, as a result of our residency in the Azores. During our stay, we set out to observe not only the political and economic formation of the Azores but also its relationship with other territories that integrated the Portuguese colonial project. We were especially interested in the processes of transformation of the archipelago's landscape, which reflect an understanding of the islands as laboratory and production spaces at the service of economic, geopolitical and social purposes of colonial matrix.
The installation has a sound and a visual dimensions that operate from a composition of diverse materials ranging from historical archives to original materials produced in the context of the project. Through a set of compositions and small audio pieces, the sound is distributed in the space through a fm radio system. The process of distributing and activating these fragments follows a random model producing a cadence of odd combinations, punctually interrupted by an external sound mass that invades the space of intimacy populated created by the radios.
The sound material that is part of the installation is based on a series of interviews that we have been carrying out over the last year of research and that propose a critical look at the memory of the colonial period. In this set, there are conversations focused on the Brazilian, Cape Verdean, and Azorean contexts, articulated with a set of archival materials and sound collections from the three countries, as well as references the Angola and S. Tomé.
The visual dimension resulted from the articulation of three groups of images. The first one brings together a set of photographs by Colonel Afonso Chaves, an important figure in the history of Azorean photography, which registers both the rural landscape of the islands as well as the botanical gardens formed at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century. In the contrast between both groups of images, the logic behind such processes becomes evident: on the one hand, a natural landscape that needs to be intervened, modified and completely transformed to become a space for agricultural production and extraction of resources, and on the other, the exotic ideal that marks the end of the 19th century. 'Nature' is thus first destroyed and then reinvented in a private space, transformed into an aesthetic and contemplative object in the form of a walled garden, completely dissociated from life in its broadest sense. In the second video, we have a film made by the German aviator and explorer Gunther Pluschow, in Santa Catarina, southern Brazil, in which he records the formation of a German colony in the north of the state. The film portrays, in an almost didactic way, the practice of the colonial project. It is possible to see the arrival of families, the cutting of trees, the construction of houses and the formation of new villages. The third group of images refers to the colony of Cela, in the south of Angola, where the coincidences with other territories dominated by Portugal become more than evident. In addition to the strong focus on livestock farming, we see pineapple and banana plantations, in a landscape that easily evokes the cultures also implemented in Cape Verde, Brazil, and the Azores.
Among the sound and visual materials, what we propose in this installation exercise is the observation of how the colonial project consists of the imposition of a system in different territories guided by the same parameters, a system dependent on the exploitation of the soil and the work force of the local communities, projected from a center of power (the metropolis) that reaps all its benefits.
The installation was open to the public between February 17 and March 1, 2022.
Concept and realization Beatriz Cantinho, Nuno Torres and Túlio Rosa
Production Archipelago Center for Contemporary Arts
interviews Adriano Mota, Glicéria Tupinambá, João Paulo Constância, Woie Kriri Sobrinho Patte, Ana Luiza Fortes.
Work corners: Sugar cane. Leon Hirszman (1975)
Working corners: Cocoa. Leon Hirszman (1970)
Granzin di Terra: Cola Boi. Jose dos Santos Delgado (1998))
Songs of Work, Oswaldo Osório (1980)
Brazil: The Rude Awakening. CRM Films (1960)
Cattle farming – Brazil on its way to being the world's largest cattle rancher. Brazilian National Agency (1969)
The shadow of a green delirium. An Baccaert, Cristiano Navarro and Nicola Mu (2011)
The city of Campos and the sugar mills. Brazilian National Agency (1951)
Cattle were a short biological invasion. Interview José Augusto Pádua (2017)
New Year's speech, Amílcar Cabral for Rádio Libertação (1973)
Photographs of Colonel Afonso Chaves (1901 – 1910)
Carlos Machado Museum Collection
Santa Catarina in 1928 – German Colonies – Xokleng Indians (Botocutos)
Gunther Pluschow film (1927/1928)
Records of livestock and agriculture in the colony of Cela, Angola (1961)
Not assigned. The Internet Archive