Thursday, November 11, 2010

GUANABARA BAY INSTITUTE (IBG)

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Today has been incredibly inspiring as Silvia had organised a visit IGB and Dora Hees who manages the institute and botanical gardens in Niteroi, across the bridge from Rio. This is a residential area, with fishing boats along the coastline, where the white UFO curved modernist modern art museum sits facing back to the view of Rio. Supposedly Carioca’s say the best thing about Niteroi is the view back to Rio. From our 2 short visits (to see Bruno and IBG) I would strongly disagree - although the journey is breathtaking.

Today we had the EME van and so the journey along the bridge to the other side of the bay was by car this time and not ferry. We passed through the docklands, like our own docklands in London they are being transformed for the next Olympic Games after London 2012. Derelict warehouses and shipping yards. Here is an artist occupation that was also involved in one of the previous residencies Siliva has hosted, Flor do asfalto, Zona portu├íria, Rio. Along the bridge the views of Rio’s skyline, mountains, modernist and colonial buildings, and of course Christ looking down over the city, the bay, the water.

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We arrived at IBG and set up, plugging electricity into the institute’s mains, opening the van up as a small installation and learning space. We Both EME and Active Ingredient wait for the stage of the project where we can find alternative energy sources to fuel our interventions with technology and the environment. Until that time comes we follow a fragile line between using these tools that need so much energy and then disappearing into the forest to explore and experience nature unmediated. The energy and mobility issues of the project are uncomfortable (diesel consumption and air travel), but is a process which we hope to resolve and approach as much as possible in an international collaboration such as this with alternative options as appropriate.

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We had an hour with a visiting school group. 3 groups of 10 children between 12-14 years old being introduced to the project, the mobile sensor technology, and the visualisation. We then walked with them to a part of the gardens that was a terrace surrounded by forest and ran the human sensor activity. The groups asked really intuitive questions and took their time with the process. The teacher said she was really happy with the project and the educational team filmed the whole process.

As the workshop took place visitors to the gardens walking past the van also stopped to find out what was happening. The van works so well as a new space to present art, a mobile installation, for interventions in public space. It has the potential to be developed in a flexible context. Sylvia talks about the potential for EME (Estudio Movel Experimental) to occur anywhere and with any type of mobility, even inside the fridge where the magnetic EME signs live when they are not on the van!

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A teacher from another school who happened to be at IBG chatted to us and was keen to find out if we will return and if her school could take part in the project. The teacher in charge of the group that we worked with took the human sensor activity away with her and we explained the possibilities to develop it with a visualisation activity and she was keen to see how she could integrate it into her own teaching. This is perfect. If we can add a new perspective not just to the children but the teachers too, leave seeds of ideas of a different way of seeing the world and using technology to facilitate this alternative view, then I feel we have done our job as artists, researchers, interventionalists.

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