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Art & Social Space
Suburban Thoughts : Part 2
by Maria Angélica Melendi

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III. Irmãs (Sisters)

From July to September, in the city of Belo Horizonte, in the Mediterranean state of Minas Gerais, in Brazil, the ipês are in bloom. The delicate white, yellow or purple flowers of these trees brighten the bland winter of the tropics. In August, 2003, Cinthia and Marilá - the visual artists Cinthia Marcelle and Marilá Dardot - went out in the streets placing crepé flowers on the ground, below the flowering ipês.

This act was recorded on a printed sheet, which also gave instructions on how to make the flowers and repeat the action.

Select your partner.
Make the flowers together.

Wander through the city,
Find the trees.

In the yellow trees leave
Purple flowers.
In the purple, yellow.(1)

The name of the work - Irmã (Sisters) - and the materials - ipês, crepe paper, knapsacks and T-shirts - represent the affective nature of the work. What we see on the few pages of the small book are the records of the action. Cinthia and Marilá, dressed in identical jeans, identical T-shirts and identical transparent knapsacks, walking through the city. Marilá's T-shirt is purple and her knapsack carries yellow flowers while, by contrast, Cinthia wears a yellow T-shirt and carries purple flowers.

The passerby is offered, unexpectedly, purple flowers under the yellow tree. In the afternoon's coming and going, the driver sees on the ground strewn with yellow flowers, a purple tree. After a few days, the wind will scatter the flowers and the last rains of winter will dissolve their colors. Only a fleeting memory of their appearance will remain in the minds of those who saw them. The work of Cinthia and Marilá managed to create, in the cracks of an increasingly violent and inhuman city, liberated spaces, places of estrangement where perception is questioned. The artificial flowers are placed where the natural flowers should be, but the inversion of colors suggests, on looking and on walking, another rhythm. A rhythm that disturbs the routine organization of day-to-day life. A rhythm that, perhaps, can invent relations of proximity other than those to which we appear to be condemned.

IV. Approximation Utopias

The last of the Utopias appears to have been decreed during the final years of the twentieth century; the idea was turned over and others such as heterotopia and dystopia were created. In 2001, when the discussion appeared to have been exhausted, Nicolás Bourriaud launched the idea of "approximation utopias", referring to the artistic practices occurring in the vast territory of social experiences. The "approximation utopias" in attempting to work in a world regulated by the division of work, ultra-specialization and individual isolation, would generate new perceptions and new affective relationships.(2)

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