In Chora-Chuva [Cry-Rain], Gisela Motta & Leandro Lima continue their investigation into man’s relation with his surroundings. Based on the awareness of a global environmental crisis, the duo touches on points pertinent to the current discussion concerning the problems of resource management. The show features works that talk about how mediums and media are very rapidly falling into disuse as they are replaced by more advanced techniques, and about the result of these operations.
In the installation after which the exhibition is entitled, Chora-Chuva, 2014, a total of 16 plastic pails containing water are arranged on tables as though to catch falling waterdrops invading the exhibition space. Under these pails, loudspeakers were installed in such a way as to create vibrations that simulate the effects of water dripping into them. This work, originally conceived for the last Vancouver Biennial, gains new meanings when inserted within the context of the water-supply crisis currently besetting Brazil’s largest metropolis, calling attention to the need for all of society to reflect on this problem. Motta and Lima thus spotlight a conflict in urgent need of a solution.
Water is also present in the paintings of the series Terrenos [Terrains], 2015. In these works, drawings made with enamel paint (the same type used to paint miniature models of military vehicles) resemble camouflage patterns. In the marbling technique called ebru, the paint is placed on the surface of water, and the water’s movement is transferred to the absorbent surface of the artwork. The paintings refer to views of regions of Latin America seen by satellites (represented in their color schemes). The pieces of the series Terrenos were constructed on the basis of the different parts of a tangram puzzle. This point reinforces the idea of camouflage as a development of the logical reasoning in the analysis and distinctiveness of their shapes. By referring to this sort of pattern, the artist also points to the regions represented as zones of conflict, or as zones from which, for some reason, the other is seen (or should be seen) as an enemy. Atacama, Tapajós and São Paulo are some of the places represented in the series.
Another piece linked to urban and natural landscapes is Relâmpago [Lightning Bolt], 2015. The artists created a lightning bolt made out of fluorescent tubes of the activiva type. According to the manufacturer, this type of light bulb promotes the well-being and productivity of humans, while also stimulating photosynthesis. The artists are evidently referring to man’s dependence on electrical energy, at least in the urban context.
It is important, however, to investigate other aspects of the symbolism linked to lightning bolts: scientific theories indicate that electrical discharges may have played an essential role in the origin of life. In human history, lightning was possibly the first source of fire, a milestone in the process of our evolution. Generally, lightning represents a power that is simultaneously creative and destructive, when seen from either a scientific or mythological point of view. It is simultaneously life and death; a synthesis of celestial activity and its transformative actions.
These dichotomous relations appear in other works of the show, including Beija-Flor [Hummingbird], 2013. In this piece, two tripods support an apparatus that rotates irregularly shaped fan blades, onto which the image of a hummingbird is projected. The image of this bird – who lives only in the Americas – is formed on a transparent surface, like a holography. The propellers fragment the originally white projection, and its color shifts to all the colors of the spectrum due to a nonsynchronicity between the projector and the fan blades. It is as though this nonsynchronicity gave rise to this image from the animal kingdom. It is something natural that emerges based on the insufficiency of the electronic apparatus.
Insufficiency of media is also present in the video Horizonte [Horizon], 2015. In this work, guitar strings form waves of different size and length based on the incapacity – or incompatibility – of the video camera to capture the vibrations generated by the string instrument.
In Bugado [Bugged], 2014, the back of an LCD monitor was removed, making it semi-transparent. Behind the screen, the artist installed an energy-saving compact fluorescent light bulb. The monitor continues to work, though we also see the light bulb behind the image it is displaying. The image is that of flies that seem to be circling around the light bulb. The observers get the impression that they were looking at the vestiges of a material culture. Thus, what is left functioning in this ruin is what allows us to see the nature around it, in this case, the image of the flies that circle the object.
Finally, in Deposição [Deposition], 2013, disuse appears in the form of an accumulation of printed encyclopedias cut like topographic drawings to resemble stalagmites. They therefore refer to a sedimentation of materials that are detached from their original context and begin to structure a shape made up of residues.