The video “Paisagem” (Landscape) comes from my desire to give visual form to a fragment of “The Book of Disquiet” by Fernando Pessoa. Written by Pessoa but published under the pseudonym of Bernardo Soares, one of the writer-journalist’s many creative identities, the text fragment strikes a delicate balance between poetry and prose and is considered as a small masterpiece by Portugal’s most famous author.
Pessoa’s writings establish an intense, introspective dialogue with the reader through the use of oxymorons. This baroque figure of style consists in combining contrary, often mutually exclusive terms in the same expression, in order to create tensions and symbolic resonances. “This obscure clarity”, “the invisible that one sees” (as found in “The Book of Disquiet”) are some examples.
The installation attempted to create a space where all the sounds have the same value. I.e., the noises produced by the visitor (steps, breathings, whispers, etc.) were captured by multiple microphones installed in the room and simultaneously retransmitted, however all with the same volume. As a result, the perception of distances was significantly erased, and the empty spaces turned to a sensitive membrane that promptly reacts to all subtle event.
The images were shot in Brazil during the harvest of the sugar-cane fields. To increase the plant’s profitability, the fields are burnt down before the actual harvest, and huge areas of the countryside are set on fire. The noise, the heat and the smoke are unbearable, and what we see are spectacular and apocalyptical views.
For me, these views formed a landscape, a silent landscape, to which the subtitles provide an intimate voice-over.
at Maison du Brésil, Cité Internationale, Paris, France