Sunday, November 16, 2008

Flashback: Farol da Barra

I arrived at the bar after Tracy did. He was fully engaged with my homeys when I arrived from the TVE –São Joaquim interview. My last night with Bia and Giovana seemed as fun and fresh as our first meeting months ago. We all met, Tracy too at the 24/7 seaside bar next to Barraca de Dinha in Rio Vermelho for cocktails and Acarajé. Boiled Peanut, roasted cashew and grilled cheese on a stick vendors happened by in addition to some panhandlers all looking for our Reals. Giovana bought a Pu-Pu platter of Abarrá and Acarajé to share.

Bia wanted to take us to an opening, of one of their dear friends. I cannot recall her name right now, but the show was engaging. Not what I expected and that’s a good thing. The gallery was inside the Colonial lighthouse of Porto da Barra. I had passed it many times, meandering through the neighborhood. Though I had never had had the desire to climb the stair and check into the nautical museum. After I had scoped out the show, which was a fascinating statement on waste, I went to find a toilet. The bathrooms shared the floor with the observation deck. The sentries needn’t have left their posts for long.

I was mesmerized nestled myself just inside one of the turrets. Time was elastic standing under a slit of a moon, with beachfront floods casting sterile, white shadows on surf & sand, as the flickering fistfuls of light beams splashed across the murky waves. I vacillated between centuries, free associating myself as a colonial sentry, a landscape oil-painter, a 21st century Coast Guardsman, tourist, dignitary or photographer. Pre-Edison I knew that the Portuguese or the Brazilians must have had mirrors and torches where we are so electric. I was all of them, all of those time periods for a flicker of time.

Returning to the gallery, I dug a bit deeper into the show. The artist had made a discipline of walking, swimming and diving along the coast, scavenging the detritus, forgotten and rejected by other people. She had packaged every piece of garbage in plastic with a label as if it a consumer good for sale in Wal-Mart or the local mall. Everything was plastic, brilliant primary colors, mangled or worn. She later said that everything here represented floaters. She dove for the things that sink, metal, glass, certain woods and furniture. The beach had always been an inspiration for her. Prior to this chapter she said that she had absorbed the landscape, the elements, birds, fish and sounds in a more traditional way. Now she reacted to it, in deference to responding to it.

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