Friday, 30 November 2007

Salvation Army

Now what is semiotics needed for when symbols don't even bother to embelish the beast?

Dialéctica pós-moderna

De um lado estão os primeiros, os exploradores, os donos do território, os toureiros, os dealers, os accionistas, os presidentes de conselhos fiscais, os performers, os artistas, os sonhadores nocturnos, os brancos, os homens, os ocidentais, os médicos, padres e druidas, os fingidores, os multiplicadores de lados.
Do outro os que não sabem que há só dois lados, os touros, os enfermos, os crentes, os apreciadores de vinhos, os consumidores de tudo, os átomos de rebanhos, os recicladores de cozinha, os cosmólogos de salas de visitas, os arquéologos de gavetas, os parlamentares de esplanadas, os críticos de anúncios televisivos, os domadores de mosquitos, os dançarinos de iPod.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Waiting Room

...and did you cook dinner?

"Primitive Within: Anthropology and the Encounter with the Internal Other"

The anthropologist Theo Rak is famed amongst a certain London milieu as an inspirational figure. To borrow his own style of presenting guest speakers, words will always fail to encapsulate the conceptual clarity and groundbreaking vision offered by the brilliance with which Professor Rak architectures cultural events in this cosmopolitan cultural underground. In the capital of the empire where once the sun would never set, night time comes at 4 o'clock in the afternoon. Most people retire earlier to their familial shelters, find comfort in blankets stolen from British Airways airplanes and parallelize their gazes to the infinite meeting point of television screens. Prof Rak invests his energy in intersecting eyes and voices to share thoughts and weave new ideas to the new century. Past events included two fantastic symposia on different perspectives on Love. On Saturday, taking advantage of a rare presence in London of Greek anthropologist and filmmaker Konstantinos Kostakis, and of the magnificent hospitality provided by French ethnologist of body motion Nana Bouts, Theo, as he humbly prefers to be called, brought together an array of disciplinary approaches to a hitherto neglected problem in social sciences. The title of the session suffices in eloquence and anything that could be said about the content of the presentations, as brilliant as they indeed were, will be either redundant or take many pages of texts and images. While we await the publication of these, let us read the title of the session over and over again for it does help us to overcome bedazzlement and bewilderment before the age we inhabit.
The Primitive Within: Anthropology and the Encounter with the Internal Other The Primitive Within: Anthro...

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Love Thy Neighbour

Sigmund Freud's clothes hanging from Jacques Lacan's
St Paul's rope hooked to Zigmunt Bauman's wall;
Richard Sennett walking alongside Shylock, the Jew in the streets of Venice

Heart of Stone

As the day gets up I follow the wavy lines of darkness that disappear into the stone. I try to imagine its heart and the colours yet to be revealed. Are there any colours inside the stone? How can there be colours if there is no light? The only way to look into the heart of a stone is to wait for its slow erosion. But as soon as it happens, as soon as its surface is scratched by water and hard rubbing, a new surface emerges and pushes the limits inside. Is there anything behind the mask? As soon as you peel it off the skin, the emerging layer becomes a new mask. Faces are masks. What's inside can only be imagined, dreamed of, fantasised.

Sunday, 28 October 2007

War, journalism, art and digital reproduction

A photograph taken at the 53rd Venice Biennalle of a photograph taken in the West Bank by Pavel Wolberg (Evacuation of Mitzpe Yizhar) in 2004.


Os olhos cavam fundo a paisagem que se traveste por entre as frinchas do biombo cor de rosa onde o sol foi tecendo o seu casulo. O horizonte despede-se das lonjuras e envolve-nos aproximando tudo à minha volta. Assim embrenho-me nos fios da minha propria teia esperando que o vento faça tremer as suas cordas.

Melías Karpós

Does love make you a better person?

For you
I’d capture all beasts
And run over fields of flowers
I’d cover you with gold and diamonds
And bring all slaves both male and female
From the most noble casts
To dress and undress you
With different scents
For you
I’d stop on the handicapped parking space
And unroll the red carpet
Over the wheelchair sign on the pavement
For now
I will only paint your name on the shop shutter
So every night the high street bears witness
Of how my love for you is my ethics

Wednesday, 24 October 2007


I'm sorry.
No more time shall be wasted in these encounters. Energy is too scarce for human contact. It produces friction. Friction must be avoided, sweaty hands kept in the pockets.
We communicate through other media. Visit my website or drop me a line on facebook. The skin dust, we leave for other strangers to collect. Like dogs socializing through lamposts and car wheels.
I'm sorry.
The lubricant of urban life. The one and only phrase you need to know to get by on these streets. Sorry if I break you heart but since I'm sorry, I carry on. You stay there and try at least to mutter 'no worries'.
Thy neighbour.

Saturday, 20 October 2007

O primeiro dia

Sérgio Godinho, George Orwell e a Roda dos Milhões

Um dos acontecimentos mais relevantes na cultura portuguesa do final do século XX foi a alteração da letra de uma canção fantástica, muito popular durante várias gerações, chamada Com um Brilhozinho nos Olhos.

No tema do Sérgio Godinho canta-se a emoção dos silêncios que falam, das conversas que se enchem de velocidade, das palvras que se soltam da pele.

Na versão original o Sérgio gravou: ‘dissemos o que nos passou pela tola, do estilo és o number one dou-te 20 valores és um 13 no totobola’.

Desde há uns anos para, canta: ‘...o que nos caiu no goto, ... és uma 6 no totoloto’.

Se uma canção fala a língua das pessoas que a ouvem, é porque reproduz um mundo verdadeiro e não uma ficção. Mas fá-lo também porque a vida se deixa inundar pelas palavras das grandes canções. Com toda esta permeabilidade, é normal que as letras das músicas se deixem marcar pelo tempo em que foram escritas. A reescrita do Brilhozinho é um caso pós-moderno de suicídio do autor através de censura póstuma.

Corrigir as noticias e os livros de historia para os adaptar à política actual do regime, era a profissão do protagonista de 1984. E, apesar de já estarmos em 2007, o livro de George Orwell continua a ser lido sem precisar de mudança no título. Talvez a comparação seja um pouco exagerada, até porque o Ministério da Verdade do Império de Oceania não se deveria importar muito com os jogos da Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Lisboa. Mas a questão mantém-se:

Agora com o euro-milhões como é que vai ser?


Seja como for, o Sérgio Godinho continua a ser, para mim, um 13 no tobola. Apesar de não ter sido capaz de evitar a digestão do totobola pelas empresas de apostas online.

There's this girl at the corner wearing a hat

Saturday, 24 March 2007

Lying on nests in the middle of busy roads
licking sandy pebbles
caressing the gravel spread across the concrete floor
the world involved by an acid atmosphere...

There's no rest
even on the corners of your lips
where there use to be shelter
from the wet earthquakes
of trains and trucks and buses
in the rain
all reproducing the same humid roar.

And underneath the tar
the ancient repercussion of horse shoes
and echoes of drunken voices
expelled by relieved bodies
for they found steady ground
after days with shaking trees, trail dust
and phantoms of road thieves

I find refuge in forward looking
in the projections of warm and sunny memories,
places where salt caresses the tongue
and sand pierces the skin.
Where pain triggers laughter
and all the space around us
stretches corridors to inviting doors.

Social ladder

Wednesday, 21 February 2007


Photographs are, in many ways, anchors launched from the unstoppable stream of time, an attempt to redeem images from their inevitable disappearance. Why do we focus on image? Why has not become common the use of sound recorders leading people to walk around, recording the sounds of events for eternity?

First of all, because we would have to listen to them in real time. Images allow us to imagine movement from still, and we can look at several at the same time. We have learned to put sounds and smells on each of them and the photographers learn how to suggest the ways. This is an important part of our apprenticeship as visual interpreters.

The same way as we learn to decode, organize and select the multiplicity of senseless light reflections received by our two dimensional eye, so the photograph can present its own magic gimmick to make us see through it and beyond our time grids.

Monday, 19 February 2007


“Time is an enormous problem to us, a tremendous and demanding question, perhaps the most vital one of metaphysics” Jorge Luis Borges, História da Eternidade, 1936

The velocity of the tree deceives our fast eye. We look, it is still. Turn around and look again? Still still.

And yet it moves, as Galileo would say.

It twists, turns and interacts with other trees, with us.

It may even walk.

And, every time we look, it's still.

Likewise, we may be blind to the effects of our deeds on history, to the effects of our actions (and omissions) on the TV news. And one may be blind to the growth of an addiction, whilst enjoying a fag, a pint, a shot of heroin, or the adrenaline of a high bet.

Time is as hard to understand as it is our hugest collective construction. It was circular when, in the traditional rural society, it was commanded by the sun and the seasons. It became linear when industrialization brought the belief in progress, science showed us a history beyond creation and urbanization tuned our lives with the clock. Now it coexists with the multiple shapes introduced by relativity physics.

And yet we feel its force throwing us to the emptiness, a feeling best expressed by Walter Benjamin’s reflections before Paul Klee’s Angelus Novus:

“…The Angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing from the Paradise; it has got hold of the wings with such violence that the angel can no longer close them. This storm irresistibly propels him to the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward…” (1969: 257)

Sunday, 18 February 2007

Blog Bodies

Where is home? What is home? Why doesn't this word exist in my home language? The one which involved my coming to existence. My physical architectural structures growing from the ground. Discovering visitors. Understanding what were those other people doing there, inhabiting me since before the very first cell of the building. My home is my body, at the moment sitting in front of a computer terminal and feeding the future archeologists of Silicon Valley.
Bog Bodies have preserved skin and organs; we will preserve the bidimensional world of words and images we've exchanged with other people. And the ones we've stored in our blogs. Plus the history of our internet searches. How different will it be from dissecting anonimous bodies?

The History of Words

Before words, each person's thoughts could develop freely without the intervention of strangers’. If someone liked an other, a warm gest...