Presentations and Caiprinhas

Paralelo has been very intensive and exciting.  Full of heated discussions, fascinating presentations and giving us a big leap forward with ideas for the Dark Forest.

On Sunday we were introduced to the open workshop process, it is quite basic and in some ways a bit too “free” as some things dont ever happen or get missed out, but in fact it has provided fantasic opportunities to hear about the other projects and artists work as well as discuss some key topics.  I kicked off by joining the “How to Love the Future” discussion about what positive approaches artists can have for the future and how maybe it doesn’t need to be all doom and gloom.  The is quite a challenging view amongst people here, of accepting were we are and how the environment will be destroyed and looking towards creating “new nature”, how we live in this changed place.  It is interesting and fits into the way people appropriate technology to work around changes but I am not ready to admit defeat for nature as it should be as opposed to how we have changed it and I also feel it is difficult in some ways to discuss without ecologists and  I am slightly surprised about how few artists are here from a more rural background, particularly amongst the brazilian artists and think these discussions are difficult without this representation.

I wont describe too much more of the discussions as they will be documented elsewhere.

In the evening at the last minute Paulo invited us to go to a launch of the Insitituto Claro.  A very strange experience.  Me and Dominic went and Matt stayed for the the talks at Paralelo.  I was totally under dressed and unprepared for this incredibly smart event in the new museum in the train station, a museum of the Portuguese Language.  We walked in and it felt like the scene from Batman when Bruce Wayne hosts a civic event for all the rich people of Gotham City.  I kept on expecting the joker to appear, although felt like maybe that was me, standing in the middle of this elegant place in jeans and flip flops.  The Minister for Art, Technology and Culture and the Mayor of Sao Paulo were there.  We were introduced to lots of important people (including the Minister) and by coincidence had our sensor kit with us so we tested it there and also showed people the funny prototype in a box file (as it is now). Everyone infact appeared very excited about the project and we have 2 meetings next week to present the project in more detail.

Yesterday was mainly spent preparing for our presentation in the evening in the public programme.  I took part in one workshop based on the Dutch artists Edo and Luna’s ideas they call conditional design.  Their work looks very beautiful and the practical activity was good fun.

The presentation went pretty well I think, although with a restriction of 8 minutes it was hard to talk about anything in any depth.  Dominic did a very concise presentation about MRL’s collaborations with artists and then we presented Heartlands in terms of how we work with the academic partners and then build towards engaging public audiences.

After the presentation our exhaustion was transformed by a VJ mix by a Brazilian performer/VJ that was great and firmly put me back into the real world with some banging techno and hilarious mixes about british people celebrating climate change because it will give us a warmer climate, soft porn, pac man, a mix for cockroaches and germany in 1945, random and funny.

Today despite a late night I have still managed to see Esther’s performance tracking cows and cowboys, which was really nice and also we hosted a session on sensors and interpreting data which sounds dry but wasnt at all mainly because Gisella, Fillipe and Wapke were good fun and had some great ideas. And I drunk Horse Milk!!! Wapke Feenstra’s work looks at farming and villages and her family have a farm producing horse milk that is meant to be good for health, so she gave me some to drink to help my hangover. Strange, a bit like chewing on a piece of grass.

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