An Animal with a backpack, by Musa paradisiaca

In Galeria Quadrado Azul we find an installation from the project An Animal with a backpack by Musa paradisiaca.

A longline table, inside a cubic construction, is used to place a row of vinyl that, due to their features, present different images in RGB tones, in an alternating manner.

In the centre of the stand, at the entrance to the cube, is a record player that slowly spins, emitting sounds of female voices. Enthusiastically, they read passages about smells and odours. This sound piece, featuring Nada T. Roberts, is called Para uma História de Cheiros. On vinyl’s side B, we find the sound piece Descrições de Elato. A male voice makes comments about objects he discovers and questions throughout the recording. Based on the sound of footsteps, the man sometimes seems close to us, at other times he seems further away. We imagine a movement, an experience of space. On the other hand, this process of listening in which we identify the movement of a person points us towards a mental exercise, where we become agents of that search for meaning, attempting at relationships and connections between objects.

The male character goes on to reveal the objects, describing them one by one. For example, a cactus, a chest. He dissects their functions, shapes, quantity, what they represent, what they are, or what they are used for. In the visitor, this exercise awakens a state of listening, major questions, like “what is a thing”. A theme that the curator João Silvério has mentioned in his conversation with Eduardo Guerra and Miguel Ferrão, O transcendental do Olfato, was published in the text that accompanies the vinyl. According to Silvério: “We are close to the ‘thing in itself’, but I think it is like the reverse of this idea of ‘thing in itself’. This constant amplification, in all its dimensions, whatever they may be”.

The male character, in Descrições de Elato, looks confusedly at objects that sometimes do not seem to pinpoint his identity. It is inevitable that we look at the question about what a thing is and we are reminded of the way we usually look at things, without being able to avoid saying “that they are a support of properties. Support that is not the result of what we see, but what the ancient historical tradition” indicated we should see, as Heidegger would say.

On the other hand, we may return to sounds and smells. About the use of the various senses in art: hearing, sight, smell – the latter appears in the play through a reflection. Art exists, no matter the medium. Art allows us to rediscover the world in which we live, as said by Merleau-Ponty. The world in which “we live but tend to forget”. What the world of smells and sounds allows us is perhaps to look at the surrounding objects with a little more purity, without that historical condition.

Until July 31, at Galeria Quadrado Azul.

Carla Carbone was born in Lisbon, 1971. She studied Drawing in and Design of Equipment at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Lisbon. Completed his Masters in Visual Arts Teaching. She writes about Design since 1999, first in the newspaper O Independente, then in editions like Anuário de Design, arq.a magazine, DIF, Parq. She also participates in editions such as FRAME, Diário Digital, Wrongwrong, and in the collection of Portuguese designers, edited by the newspaper Público. She collaborated with illustrations for Fanzine Flanzine and Gerador magazine. (photo: Eurico Lino Vale)

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