Posted by: standing_baba | August 22, 2010

Museum World São Paulo

Sao Paulo cityscape from atop Martinelli building

FOREWORD: São Paulo has it all: nightlife until day time, global gastronomy, music fusions you didn’t think possible, and so many cultural options that you’re left indecisive just imagining the fun. The city also has close to one hundred museums. Here are some exhibit highlights from a few I’ve visited so far.


The above video entitled “Shoebox” was part of a photography exhibition. I was affected deeply by how it shows life as a series of moments we collect and store like photographs. Only by looking back do we realize how magical it all is. Warning: contains sexually explicit images.



Below is an actual conversation between a French smuggler and an indigenous chief during Brazil’s colonization, circa 1500s. This dialogue was part of an exhibit that displayed Portuguese influence around the world.

Chief: Why do you, Europeans, come in search of wood from so far? Don’t you have wood in your lands?
Frenchman: We have lots of wood, but not this kind. From this wood we extract colors for dying.

Chief: By chance do you need a lot it?
Frenchman: Yes, because one businessman in my land can buy an entire pau-wood shipment.

European map of the Pau-Brasil wood forests

Chief: Ah, that’s wonderful!…but tell me, does that rich man not die?
Frenchman: Yes, he dies.

Chief: And when he dies, to whom do his riches go?
Frenchman: To his children or relatives.

Chief: Honestly, you Europeans are all crazy. You sacrifice everything to accumulate riches for your children! We, here, are certain that the Earth that sustained us will also sustain our children. That’s why we rest without the least bit of worry.



Below is the introduction to the “ECOlogic” exhibit:

The ecological problem is caused by consumerism. In the past seventy years industrialized goods have increasingly lasted shorter, rapidly turning into trash. The cycle of purchase and disposal compromises natural resources, generates pollution and feeds the constant dissatisfaction of consumers of goods designed to wear out, break, and fall out of fashion.

The environmental problem requires us to think about limits for the consumer society. Some works gathered here reflect upon the easy seduction of disposable goods, poetically playing with forms and colors. Others propose a durable relationship with things that feed our daily routines, without the need of endlessly injecting ephemeral novelties in everyday life. A third set invites us to consider community practices that challenge profitable individualism.

The ecological problem is the destruction of everyday life by the promise of an always unattainable novelty, continuously offered by seductive advertising, but which reveals itself frustratingly in the purchase of another disposable product. In this cycle of illusions we forget about human connections, consume the planet, and bury ourselves in trash.

-Felipe Chaimovich, MAM Curator


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