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  • Altered Fields @ MAC USP

    The rural culture is based in the culture of “do it yourself”, from the food intake, locally produced, instead of bought, until the search for creative solutions to fix a piece of furniture or a gate. In the words of Bruno Vianna*, “the art of making is in itself a form of expression”, or according to Tania Aedo*, “Art is not predetermined, but something directly related to the experience of life.” In this sense, rural.scapes works as an interface, enabling possibilities, stimulating, activating, dynamizing, mediating, and linking itself with the social surroundings through the exchange of creative knowledge” (Brian Mackern*).

    (*) Members of the selective jury #labRes2015.

    Notes – Displacements

    The creation of an artistic residency program within a rural context based in the idea of laboratorial experimentation comes from the moment in which we face the administration of a farm, productive methods that are distant from industrial, “modern” logics of confinement, responding to more traditional-classic methods, in open field, at deep “Vale do Paraíba”, in the extreme Southeast of São Paulo state, in the triple-border of the states of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Minas Gerais.

    As artists, with well-established careers and international trajectories, we realized that, in order to take this place, it would be necessary to re-learn, through conditions of total resilience, to deal with the cattle, bogged down cows, vaccines, hoes, tall grass, ticks, and horses, in a territory full of the denied history of the beginning of the Brazilian Southeastern formation, going through the main axis of the Gold trails, the temporality of the slaveocrat coffee plantations, the introduction of milk from Minas Gerais, and the reports from the so criticized author, Monteiro Lobato, and his work “As Cidades Mortas”, written in Areias, 12 km away from the current rural.scapes headquarters.

    We could write many books about this region, which carries a vast density in terms of meanings and symbolisms. We were in the farm, thinking about how to improve the production, when the idea of opening this space and sharing this territory with other artists came up. Thus, we launched the possibility of new shared learnings, interventions, ways of seeing and directly interacting, anchored in the commitment with the local territory and all its variables, visible or not.

    The exhibition Altered Fields approximates the emerging artistic processes and exchanges from these years, through the drifts and its resiliencies, taking into account that we are all learners in this trajectory.

    rural.scapes – laboratory in residency is a platform of rural residency focused on research, articulation, reflection, interdisciplinary artistic practices, and critic production in an active rural environment. The selection of artists was carried out by a public international opencall, with online submissions, followed by the evaluation of an international jury. The selected artists develop their proposals during a period of 15 ~20 days at Santa Teresa farm, in São José do Barreiro, SP, Brazil. Since its first edition at #labRes2014, the platform rural.scapes – lab in residency has offered as its main research and creation component the Local Rural Environment, opening up dialogues and stimulating the creation of readings, interventions, sharing spaces, and possible transit-connections-ruptures-integrations with such specific territory, recognizing that the lab in residency itself is an intervention with local implications. We take into consideration that the social dynamics, as well as the natural resources from the region, as a key-patrimony in the formation of the aforementioned Brazilian states (São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Minas Gerais), bring about a historically formative context of an permeable, border-oriented identity of the current Brazilian Southeastern way of life.

    RuralInterMedia – networked electro-mechanic and integrated circuits online [on~off]

    rural.scapes – lab in residency promotes the development of proposals related to the research and creation of works and interventions through RuralInterMedia, defined by the use and knowledge of pre-existing Technologies in the countryside. This rural culture, traditionally based on in the construction of tools and technologies in order to guarantee a self-sustainable survival, could now be recognized or misread as the culture of DIY (Do It Yourself). However, differently from the DIY, the transmission and exchange of this knowledge represent a negotiation value, which stipulates and designs the local socioenvironmental dynamics. In both editions, #labRes2014 and #labRes2015, 26 artists were selected, two critics, and two resident researchers, 30 art pieces, 5 performances, 8 Open Farm events, 7 exhibitions, 24 workshops, and 4 open panels. In this exhibition, we are launching the collection rural.scapes :: ARCHIVES, with more than 5 hours of edited video-documentation, gathered and shown for the first time at MAC USP and on the internet.

    Altered Fields exhibits a selection of works and process residues of both editions of the rural.scapes – lab in residency project, from urgent situations generated by the meeting of traditional rural technologies with electronic ones, of retro-technologies, transposition exercises, translations, trans-creations, and transplants of affective and geopolitical topographies, which disrupts the black box of industrialized technologies of “consuming and discarding” and of “plug and play”. Altered Fields brings these works to the formal white cube format of Contemporary Art Museum (MAC), activated by the practice of temporal labs installed provisionally in the galleries.


    The proposal includes the challenge of “transposing” the experienced of this “place”, the rural environment of the Green Cube (super-expanded), into the urban White Cube. Would the processes of production and dynamics proposed by rural.scapes that made sense there, make sense here? The display of the exhibition suggests the navigability between the works, residues and drifts, like notation elements, interfaces, devices that are related as we pass by them, elect a route in this expanded space through the digital contents of the collection rural.scapes/ARCHIVES. These contents are accessible through the QRcode technology system, in other words, hyperlinks for the digital contents to be seen and stored in the visitor’s smartphone. “These fragments worked as space-temporal portals or inter-connectors, and from then on, I had to listen to their voices.” Enrico Ascoli #labRes2014.

    Non-traditional methods – altered fields -<

    From these non-traditional methods, new perspectives on how to deal with these ruralities are surfaced, emerging online, acting systematically through a group of related practices and a commitment with local spaces. The creation of connectivity interfaces replaces these environments in the map, not as residual territories belonging to the big urban centers, but as important agents within the ideas of resilience and resistance. Such territories, or agents, teach us that huge plantation zones are not necessary, and that small areas can be transformed into sustainable platforms. This is not to rescue a romanticized, bucolic notion of an idealized lost nature, but to reinsert these territories in the networks, taking into consideration their very forms of horizontality and organization.

    Quantic physics suggests that simple observation alters the studied environment, transforming the observer and their acts of seeing. The central subjects of rural.scapes are the networks, the environment as a whole, natural, ethnologic, and protic, as well as the re-structuration of the local relationships. That being said, the apparatus-works, apparatus-images, interfaces-works, pre-cinematic machines of seeing created in rural.scapes – Altered Fields start from the processuality as a procedure within a non-controlled immersive environment – super expanded Green Cube – and the experimentation as basis for these processes, in a constant play between action and elaboration, of listening and generating the sensible frequencies that change our perceptive environment.

    Considering nature as a group of biosystems and online intelligences networked, Altered Fields points to small emergencies within the infinite experiences of re-cartographing, in small and large scales, creating new representations of old constellations, in processes that demonstrate these places’ potential to resilience. These systems’ sustainability depends fundamentally on the ways of generating and consuming energy. The interfaces-works of Cantera, Garlet, Oliveira and Knelsen bring about the creation of works self-sustainable in terms of energy-aesthetics, by allowing us to see apparatus-images, as in the case of Ricardo; by transforming residues in energy, as it can be seen in Cantera’s work, investigating and working about the minimal energies in a local context; or by allowing us to hear the inaudible, as it is in the Radioplant by Oliveira and Knelsen.

    Re-cartographies and intervention are present procedures in the apparatus-works of Espinoza, Mestizo, Alves-Rodrigues, Crowe, Ascoli, Ganster, Heberte, Armani, duoB, and Arvers. Among the creation of machines of seeing and interfaces for hearing, the artists remapped the immersive territory within the condition of new ruralities, in other words, in online and off-line, local and translocal, networks.

    The mapping of “schizoterritories” is the subject of Espinoza. Through apparatuses of hearing and the geographic visualization tools, Espinoza demonstrates nets that engage and overlap physical territories, which the artist defines as prosthesis, generating interferences and background noises that, even while being many times inaudible, are sensitive. The hacking of the air space through the transmission of these frequencies allows us to see these new cartographies, other regions of hybrid boundaries, or what we could name as cyber-geographies.

    In this act of remapping, re-cartographing, micro-narratives come up as in Lindberg’s collective performance, in Suneson’s fanzines and cartoons, in Dalgo and Suneson’s (pre)live-cinema, and in Mbuyisa’s photos. Histories of the micro-world gain space online, the singularities find space and the collectivity is empowered through its own roots. rural.scapes bets on the dynamization, linking, mediation, and activation of the local social environment through art. In addition, it is through the practice of art as an act of necessity that Rabiei reconstructs micro-narratives through these prosthesis, creating interventions in the existing furniture in the surroundings of the house and in objects found and produced through a selection of stories and knowledges. These acts are related by the artist with the practice of ‘gambiarra1’. Baring this in mind, we have the ‘gambiarra’ as an “act of necessity”.

    Still within the context of prospect and micro-performativities, Rodado reunited stories and knowledges on the local plants, medicinal or not, from the community, using as a trigger apparatus of the exchange processes the production of essences, which activate affective memories and territories through smelling. It is in this affective territory that duVa makes the public immerse (and immerses himself as a performer). Betting on the activation of these memories and territories, interior landscapes through light, the apparatus-work Alter(ed) Space_v2, allocated in the entrance of the exhibition, displaces, activates and prepares the public to wander in these altered fields.

    Notes: The idea of “crowd”, in the political sense of the term, alters the use and occupation of territories, interfering in the social processes, taking new roles within the structures, recreating them. Under the light of Maturana, from the concept of collective intelligence, thinking, however, in the horizontality of the multitudes produced by the internet, it is inevitable that this autonomous temporary collective is spread in the streets, in large scale, as a crowd of likes-dislikes. In these new forms of occupying territories, we are talking about micro-politics that generate resistance, noises, and short circuits in the transnational nets and in the global economic interests, which bet on the appreciation of local knowledges and in the immaterial exchange of knowledge. In rural areas, there are no multitudes, we have individuals and maybe because of that, it would be interesting to review these territories, where singularities have place and still build a strong sense of belonging.

    Rachel Rosalen and Rafael Marchetti.
    Founders of  rural.scapes – lab in residency