april 21st, 2019
is this project really something? that's what I've been asking myself when it comes to deciding my next steps. and I know that to be sure if this project is the one, I must start it. so before going to the big adventure this could be, I went through your archives looking for something to be a pilot.
and then, I packed up:
• the pictures you took, and a few where you're in front of the camera;
• a handwritten guide, on the inside cover
of that old photo album I found;
• my analog cameras and some film;
• the desire to rediscover the
city, now by your eyes, and the
excitement about what could
all this become.
I'm in Recife.
Recife – PE,
Finding spots in a city I've never been to – The details & the locals
how do you find the exact spot of these pictures?
after taking a careful look at each one, groups of elements start to come up: same clothes, that may indicates a one-day-route; same place, even if I don't know where it is; or the same subject (churches, sea, houses) – although it's not the best way to find a place, it helps me to find pictures of details while I walk in the streets or surroundings of a monument.
then, I look for those who know the city: way beyond stories to share, people can maybe have different guesses, due to the 30 years that separate those pictures from today.
I was really lucky in Recife. people brought me architecture books, memorable stories, childhood memories and even amazing photographic memories of buildings and houses.
"Hey, would you know where the Gilberto Freyre room is?"
"Are you sure it's here? Have you tried the other wings of the building?" – was the answer I kept getting when asking on offices with someone inside on the top floors of the "Casa da Cultura". We spent over an hour waiting for a man to make 3 phone calls trying to help me find the answer.
Until one lady walked by and asked if we needed any help. That was Juliana, employee of the place. I told her I was looking for the Gilberto Freyre room. She right away told me that there was no room named Gilberto Freyre. "But it existed at some point in the 70's", I said, showing her the picture I had. She looked at the picture, at the hallway we were in, back at the picture. "Have you tried the other wings of the building?", she asked.
I told her yes. She walked inside her office and came back with Dora – "I work here since 1981 and I don't remember a Gilberto Freyre room", Dora said. We talked for a bit about the project and she told me it was great to find out some new informations about the institution, although I had already given up on my search and was considering taking a picture of any of the doors for the project.
"Guys, I found it! Look!", Juliana said. With the picture in her hand, she showed us one door. In it, a scratch that formed a semicircle above the stone door frame . Afterwards she showed us, none of the other door frames had the same mark – which made it, then, the Gilberto Freyre room from Cesar's picture.
Thanks to Dora and Juliana, I got the picture.
Jokes memory plays on us & unrecognizable landscapes 40 years later
in the time that it takes to end a film, in the period left to finish a trip, in the discovery of a forgotten film in a drawer, in the days you take to bring a film to the lab or in the time it takes until it's developed – that's where oblivion lives.
it was in one of these moments that Cesar confused the name of a church, the order of some pictures; it was in one of these moments that he didn't
remember that clear. it happens. in order to
put those pictures in the right order, I talked
to locals and rediscovered monuments.
thanks to them, I've found the original route
on the streets he once went.
but sometimes, having attention to the details
outside the pictures was what could make the difference – here's why I had to visit twice the
same place to find this house.
Boa Viagem Beach, 2019 it was only by meeting a passionate architect I could take this picture: he was able to recognize the small building on the right – and had the address by heart.
At the house I arrived in, the host was an artist. paintings from floor to ceiling: distinct brush strokes, techniques, traits and colors to try to follow the countless and unpredictable changes that happen inside of us through life.
At the beach, it didn't took long to see a group of people standing in the same configuration. At the museu, a popsicle kart. Among over 20 identical doors, a stain reveals which one of them is the same from the 70's.
At the seafront, what seemed unrecognizable due to real estate speculation, a passionate architect helps me find, in the details, the right angle. In the big and similar-looking colonial houses, a person's affective memory from a street helps me finding a specific address.
Landscapes change. 40 years later, Recife is no longer the same. Not only Cesar's memories created my route, other people's too.
"we could see the beach from here, but we don't anymore"
the sand stretch, getting smaller every year
the restored building
the remodeled square to follow the city's new pace
we realize the years by the height of the palm trees
40 years later everything is different
even the blurred statue changed place