SESC Sao Paulo wrap up

In October, I had the honor of presenting Locations and Dislocation at SESC Mostra de Artes 2008, an art festival in Sao Paulo, Brasil. It was my first time in Brasil and it was amazing!  I only wish I had more time to explore.  I was at the festival for four days.  The curator Cassio Quiterio of SESC invited me after finding the project on the CONFLUX website and Eva Bonfim, my translator, coordinated the project while I was there.

Sarah, Eva & Aquino
(Me, Eva & Aquino, our favorite driver)

SESC is a country-wide institution in Brasil.  It is a network of centers that function very much like the 92nd Street Y here in NYC, with public programming, arts spaces, cafes, courses, gyms and recreation.  The organization is geared towards service workers, with the idea of providing health and cultural programming in the after work hours, though events are open to the general public.

At night we went to see other artists’ work.  There were 80 artists from many different countries, including Noemi LeFranc, the choreographer who did AGORA in the McCarren Park Pool here in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

(LeFranc’s piece MELT at Mostra de Artes in Sao Paulo)

I did the project at two different locations. In both places, Eva would interview people in Portuguese and then they would work with me to map their moving history onto a projected map with vinyl tape.

Dilson & Eva interviewing
(Eva interviewing)

SESC 24 de Maio was a new center in downtown Sao Paulo near my hotel.  We projected on a vertical white wall.

Sarah Eva 7 Dilson taping on the map
(Putting up the tape)
Participants at SESC 24 de Maio
(The results)

In this space, I showed across from Heather Arckroyd and Dan Harvey’s large scale photographs of Brazilian immigrants living in London.  The negatives were projected on grass seeds, and the grass grew in different colors due the the different light, creating the image. Amazing!

(About 10 feet tall)

At SESC-Itaquera — the second location, in a national park on the outskirts of Sao Paulo — I did the project in a community computer technology room, projected on the floor.

Sarah with participants at SESC Itaquera Sarah & Aquino making Aquino's map
(Working on floor projections at SESC-Itaquera)
floor projection at SESC Itaquera
(The results)

The two settings were different but both unique — at 24 de Maio, the crowd had come to see art and the scale of the wall was great.

Dilson, Sarah, Eva, Carolina & Roberto
(With volunteers Dilson & Caroline, Eva, and the tech specialist Roberto)

At Itaquera, people were passing through to use the room for computer access and happened upon the project.  The scale was smaller but the interactions were more intimate.

Sarah with participants at SESC Itaquera
(The whole family got involved)

Over 60 participants created their maps with me.  I am now up to my ears with making postcards in Portuguese for them (sorry to people from [ ESC ] & CONFLUX  who didn’t get theirs yet!).  Many of the new postcards are quite beautiful and I will post some them as soon as I figure out a good way to photograph them.  I have not been satisfied with my previous experiments with documentation; if anyone has any suggestions, send them my way.

Here are some jpgs of the raw files — in Portuguese! — as a preview:




You can see more pictures of my trip on flickr.

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  1. Hello professor Wright,
    Your trip must have been incredible. My family and I love traveling, and Brazil is definitely one of the places I wish to visit someday. Your project looks very interesting, how did you come up with that? The one on the wall must have taken a long time to put up. At least you had some help. From the other projects, I especially liked the one with the grass in different shades. That IS amazing.

    Question! When you do a project, do you focus on a particular group of people or mix them all together? I hope to hear from you, and good luck with your projects. I hope you had a nice Thanksgiving holiday.

    Dulce E.

  2. Hi, Dulce! Thanks for you comment. I would say I usually start with a specific group in mind. For example, with this project I was thinking about people moving around cities (particularly New Yorkers who don’t own property). Then I let it grow from there. Hope you are well.

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