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’s many creative identities, the text fragment strikes a delicate balance between poetry and prose. It is considered a masterpiece by Portugal’s most famous author.
Pessoa’s writings establish an intense, reflective dialogue with the reader through the use of oxymorons. This baroque figure of style combines contrary, often mutually exclusive terms in the same expression 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 attempts to create a space where all the sounds have the same value. Multiple microphones in the room capture the tiniest noises of the visitor (steps, breathings, whispers, etc.), and the speakers immediately retransmit these sounds, however, all with the same intensity. As a result, the perception of distances is significantly erased, and the empty spaces turn into a sensitive membrane that promptly reacts to all subtle events.
The images were shot in Brazil during the harvest of the sugarcane. The fields are burnt down before the crop, aiming to increase profitability. As a result, vast 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