# paisagemfabricada

Ok, sonhei que eu trabalhava para um vampiro e havia uma distinção entre seus empregados: os do mal-mal e os do bem. Eu era do bem. Daí eu tinha que ir a uma montanha onde deusas de pedra matavam todos que tentavam trafegar por sua encosta. Várias pedras se juntavam e formavam um ser meio antropomórfico que deslizava pela montanha e ia matando as pessoas. Ao chegar lá, descobri que elas eram imortais, já que a deusa era a própria montanha. Explorando o local, descobri uma passagem secreta, onde havia várias fantasias bizarras que nada tinham a ver com a história. Lá dentro, uma empregada do mal guardava e administrava o local. Ao vasculhar a passagem secreta, encontrei uma porta emperrada. Desemperrei e entrei em uma espécie de resort *dentro da montanha* com piscinas, sol e toda a mordomia do mundo. Saí correndo para a piscina junto com mais outros empregados do bem e me transformei em um macaco (mais para chimpanzé). Ficamos brincando e tudo o mais, até que eu vi duas irmãs gêmeas do outro lado da piscina, loiras e de biquini. Perguntei quem eram. Responderam que elas não eram mulheres per se, mas possuíam os dois sexos, alternando quando quisessem. Voltamos para a farra na piscina e, aí, tentei me transformar em um cisne. Durante a transformação, ficou a dúvida se usava o Pato Donald como referência ou o próprio animal. Optei pelo animal. Fui nadar, só que o meu cisne estava meio torto e a minha cabeça ficava mais dentro do que fora da água. Voltei ao estado normal e avisei a empregada do mal: “eu vou é morar aqui a partir de agora, e não naquele castelo sombrio”.

Acordei. E parabéns!

Leia mais

Sorry, this entry is only available in Português.

Leia mais

Sorry, this entry is only available in Português.

Leia mais

{first step of developing a real banana aesthetics}


I’d love to play a scene with Clark Gable
With candle lights and wine upon the table
But my producer tells me I’m not able
‘Cause I make my money with bananas1

When the Brazilian artist Carmen Miranda became the most successful woman in North-American show business in the late 19402, the culture of a country was compressed on the stigma of a single fruit: a banana. Miranda’s turbans caring tropical fruits and ornaments caused furore in the entertainment industry. Her exotic costume and her irreverent dance made Carmen known as “The Brazilian Bombshell.” Miranda’s talent as a singer and performer, however, was often overshadowed by the exotic aspect of the presentations and the archetypical imaginary by a foreign culture used to a more temperate weather.

Toward the end of her life, the small grenade tried in vain to rebuild her identity and get rid of the frame her producers and the industry tried to impose to her. The fight inspired Miranda to compose the song “I Make My Money With Bananas”, which is an effort to demonstrate in an ironic perspective the problems of being stereotyped by the industry and, as a result, earn more money than Mickey Rooney. Her purposely strong English accent was considered as a demonstration of her ignorance, which was immortalized by the expression “Bananas is my business.” Rather than understand the criticism towards the producer who would not let her perform with stars like Clark Gable, the audience received the work as a statement of cultural inferiority and exotic aspect of her performances.

The stigma of the banana is not restricted to the Brazilian culture, although the first plantations of the fruit on the continent have begun during the Portuguese colonization between the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries; it spread over the entire Latin American region. The popularization of the fruit in the Caribbean and some South America countries happened because of the growing market of the product in the United States after the Civil War. In 1870, Captain Lorenzo Dow Baker imported the fruit from Jamaica to sell in Boston with a margin profit of about 1.000%, thanks to its low cost and nutritional aspects. Seeing the commercial potential of the fruit, Keith Henry, a railroad tycoon, decided to create plantations of banana surrounding his train lines as a way to feed the workers of his company. The project’s success was such that, in the middle of the 1870s, Keith founded the Tropical Trading and Transport Company, which later became the United Fruit Company and owner of Chiquita Brands International. With the growing consumer market for bananas, plantations increased in the Caribbean and Southerners countries, as well as the influence of North-American companies in the region, which later spawned the term “Banana Republics” and inspired Pablo Neruda to compose a poem (see appendix). Today, Ecuador alone represents 29% of the fruit export market, ahead of Colombia and Costa Rica, each responsible for 10%.

What I do is the bunch chic chic
I’m getting sick of the bunch chic chic
My throat is troubled ay ay ay
She can see ky-ky-kow —— boy!

This imaginary provoked by the banana and its stigmatization caused to Latino cultures instigated the creative process of many contemporary artists. The use of banana is believed to criticize the foreign view of cultures isolated from the Western and Northern axis and to question the identity and artistic production of a nation.

The Mexican artist based in São Paulo, Brazil, Hector Zamora, for example, used the plantains in his intervention “Delirio Atopico (Atopic Delirium)” (2009) in downtown area of Bogotá, Colombia, as a way to raise economic and political questions about the region. To develop the installations, the artist used two different buildings with large transparent windows, one next to another, and flooded the apartments with the fruit giving the impression of an overproduction. The passersby had the idea that was happening an overflow of plantains. Zamora used green bananas, in their early beginning of ripeness, so they could have their color changed over time; thus going from green to yellow, from yellow to brown and finally from brown to black. The Colombian culture is one of the few which cooks the fruit at different stages of ripeness, which made a clear relation between the work and the national culture. In addition, the bananas overflow provoked the impression that the fruit was replacing the people who could live in these apartments, as an overlapping of an imaginary with the veracity of Colombian reality. The fruit overshadows the human condition.

Zamora’s works have a strong relationship with the context in which they are installed. In 2010, by the request of Instituto Itaú Cultural, also headquartered in São Paulo, Zamora hung six trees seedlings over the river Tamanduateí to start a debate about the channeling of waterways and the increasing of traffic in the city. The work “Errante” (2010) was the artist’s way of demanding for solutions not only for symptoms, but for the real problems of an hyper chaotic city which lacks serious structural and long term urban policies. The suspended forest tried to demonstrated a city that cannot exist. A ghostly idealization of an urban project more focused on quality of life than in paving spaces for car traffic.

The bananas used in “Delirio Atopico (Atopic Delirium)” represent this connection between the local culture and socio-economic reality of a region. The symbolic weigh that the fruit carries in Latino cultures easily connects with the everyday life, instigating an identification that often are not necessarily positive. The perception of what is produced mainly in the countries of the South American region is restricted only to bananas, ignoring that there is life beyond the symbolism of the fruit.

This symbolic value can also be found in the works of the Brazilian artist Paulo Nazareth. In “Banana Market / Art Market” (2011), for example, Nazareth parked a green Volkswagen wagon inside the Art Basel Miami art fair and loaded it with dozens of bunches of bananas. The work-performance consisted of signing and selling each unit for $ 10, easily relating 1) to contemporary artistic production of Latin American countries, 2) to the symbolic value of the fruit in current “art world,” and 3) to the art market itself. In addition, Nazareth carried a sign with the phrase “My image of exotic man for sale” and charged only $ 1 for a picture of him.

In reaffirming its exotic character and exploring the symbolism of the fruit, Nazareth can be easily compared to the imaginary created and reinforced by Carmen Miranda. Both built their careers (Miranda in the entertainment industry and Nazareth in the “contemporary art paradigm”) based on stereotypes and archetypes of a Latin American culture. Both leveraged and exploited what is considered exotic in their artistic practice, demonstrating that the reception of their works was summarized and condensed into just one fruit: a banana.

In the end, there is a vicious cycle between the reception of Latino culture (which explores the exotic) and the artist’s production forced to be exotic. This is explicit in the case of Nazareth, who understands very well the constructions and perceptions of Latino culture abroad. To be accepted into the “contemporary art paradigm,” Nazareth reinforces stereotypes in his production, which matches perfectly with the eagerness of the art market to exploit this imagery. The market demands the exotic, the artist produces it to be “accepted” and, ultimately, the market strengthens it. Even trying to create a criticism of this kind of reception, the artist production is stigmatized by the desire to see the other as something so unreal that automatically achieves the status of art, of performance, of a commodity to be exploited and enhanced.

This cycle becomes even clearer in the work of another Brazilian artist, Breno Pineschi. During the Olympic Games in London, the Secretary of Culture of Rio De Janeiro sent to the British city 29 cariocas artists to promote the “Rio Occupation London” project. Pineschi was in residence at The Victoria and Albert Museum during the month of July 2012 producing workshops and inviting the public of the institution to help him mount several colored paper bananas which the artist would spread through the city. The “Tropical Clusters” (2012) are interventions in urban poles and structures in which bunches of colored bananas were hanged. According to the artist himself, it is a way to attract the publics attention and invite them to “eat the carioca culture.” The banana’s symbolism, again, is the means of illustrating and promoting the culture of a Latin America region and, in this case, more specifically of Rio de Janeiro’s one, which is traditionally known as “Brazil for export.” It explores the imagery of the exotic as a way to promote local culture, but at the same increases the stereotype and this demand for the “tropical.”

Oh, but if I quit my job it’s not disturbing
I’d use very often a liter of bourbon
‘Cause I can sit and in one minute eat my turban
And still make my money with my bananas
It isn’t even funny that I make a little more money
than that little Mickey Rooney with bananas!

Since the days of Carmen Miranda there is a vain attempt to break these paradigms imposed on diverse cultures. The “Brazilian bombshell” thought that a song questioning her exploitation could, perhaps, generate more discussions and freed her from prejudices and stereotypes regarding her nationality and culture. It was in vain. And since that time– the first half of the last century– some of Latin American cultures find themselves enclosed in a single fruit. Because of this attachment almost inseparable, the banana has become a commodity of the “contemporary art paradigm” and represents a creative censorship. If an artist wants to be part of the art world, s/he needs to explore and admire the exotic tropical character. It is an endless struggle. It’s a battle between two sides by the same symbol as a means of ensuring that the cycle never breaks. The Brazilian writer Machado de Assis, in 1891, in his book “Quincas Borba”, described the rivalry between two tribes to ensure their food: a potatoes plantation. At the end of the battle, in which could only be left one, the narrator concludes: “To the conquered, hate or compassion; to the victor, the potatoes.”

No worries, I make my money with bananas.


“La United Fruit Co.”
When the trumpet sounded
everything was prepared on earth,
and Jehovah gave the world
to Coca-Cola Inc., Anaconda,
Ford Motors, and other corporations.
The United Fruit Company
reserved for itself the most juicy
piece, the central coast of my world,
the delicate waist of America.

It rebaptized these countries
Banana Republics,
and over the sleeping dead,
over the unquiet heroes
who won greatness,
liberty, and banners,
it established an opera buffa:
it abolished free will,
gave out imperial crowns,
encouraged envy, attracted
the dictatorship of flies:
Trujillo flies, Tachos flies
Carias flies, Martinez flies,
Ubico flies, flies sticky with
submissive blood and marmalade,
drunken flies that buzz over
the tombs of the people,
circus flies, wise flies
expert at tyranny.

With the bloodthirsty flies
came the Fruit Company,
amassed coffee and fruit
in ships which put to sea like
overloaded trays with the treasures
from our sunken lands.

Meanwhile the Indians fall
into the sugared depths of the
harbors and are buried in the
morning mists;
a corpse rolls, a thing without
name, a discarded number,
a bunch of rotten fruit
thrown on the garbage heap.
[Pablo Neruda, from Canto General (1950)]

1Lyrics from the song “I Make My Money With Banana”, by Carmen Miranda.

2In 1945, she was the highest paid woman in the United States, according to the Wikipedia article about the artist: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carmen_Miranda (accessed May 19th, 2013)

Leia mais

Sorry, this entry is only available in Português.

Leia mais

Sorry, this entry is only available in Português.

Leia mais

“All the new media are art forms which have the power of imposing, like poetry, their own assumptions.”1
(Marshall McLuhan)

When the subject of “digital publishing” is debated, it is very common to see the arguments about it only considering e-books, PDF files, web-blogs, and other online publications: such as iPad versions of newspapers and magazines, e-readers, or distributed content using RSS technology. Even the Wikipedia article for the term goes straight to these technologies: “Electronic publishing (also referred to as ePublishing or digital publishing) includes the digital publication of e-books, EPUBs, and electronic articles, and the development of digital libraries and catalogues.”2 It appears to exist a common sense and definition about the term: digital publishing is the emulation of a physical book in a digital format. In other words, it is a way to emulate the physical media in a digital environment.

These definitions do not consider the real possibilities of the digital form and reduce them to an emulator of very well known media; they copy what happens with regular publications: linear narrative, page division, index, and, even, foot or endnotes. Besides that, the explanations try to recreate in a technological apparatus the same user experience that one has with a book. The first e-readers, for instance, imitated the same characteristics of the regular paper: “[e-paper is] a display consisting not of illuminated pixels, but of electronically charged micro-spheres (or pixels without light) that can be made to turn either black or white according to the polarity of the charge.”3 The goal was to reduce the distinctions between what is physical and what is virtual; however, the new creation suppressed the great amount of possibilities that the digital formats have.

The standard format for an e-book is a PDF file. It is used in e-readers, tablets, and online platforms which create virtual mechanisms to navigate through pages1. The main reason for the use of this standard lays in the simulation of a physical book, which makes easier to print. All the processes involved in a traditional procedure to create and publish a physical version of a content can be reproduced in a PDF file: diagramming, linear narrative, divisions by pages, standard sizes, blank pages, etc.. The same characteristics are there. There are, of course, some improvements, such as hyperlinks, search tools, and the possibility of accessing the file wherever you are, but in the end, PDF files are just a book/newspaper/magazine in an electronic form. It is an emulation5 of the experience of reading in a physical format.

One artist who works exactly with this emulation is Paul Chan. His practice involving ebooks and PDF files explores what the format can give, especially with the facility of self-publishing and his interest in creating new type fonts. His work “Goldman Sachs annual letter to shareholders typeset with the font Oh Marys”6 (2010) is a way of publishing his type font “Oh Mary” in a printable file, and at the same time, critique the CEO of a global investment bank. The content consists of repeated phrases such as “ah, don’t stop oh damn don’t wait don’t beg oh damn [sic]” or “buy me oh God oh son have me oh Jesus take me have it ?%! [sic].” No one in their right mind will print (or buy) this book for its content. They will buy it because of the exploration of a media by an artist, and it is this relation that Paul Chan’s works to address. It would be extremely hard to find a publisher seriously interested in spending huge amounts of money on publishing this kind of content; therefore, Chan uses an emulator of the real object to make the work. In an interview on the website “Rhizome,”7, Chan describes briefly his relation with e-books:

It’s not simply a matter of making books on each of the different platforms, it’s also dealing with how a physical book becomes an e-book in the first place. Most of our books are e-books, but some exists as physical books too. So in general there is a lot of work figuring out how the experience of reading translates from one form to another. The Godot book was very difficult to translate from the hard cover book to an e-book, primarily because that book is so physical. The Sade book too was made first as a limited soft-cover book with a specific dimension, weight, and kind of paper in mind. We read with more than our eyes. The question, then, becomes, how this reading experience translates into a file. Someday I wish that different e-books hold different ‘weights’, so that when you load an e-book into your e-reader, the device physically feels heavier. Until that happens, I have use other means. With the Sade book, the images were made to take advantage of the peculiar crispness of the Kindle screen. The problem is that since you can also read Kindle books on a color LCD e-reader like an iPad via the Kindle app, the Sade book loses its particular feel because it simply doesn’t look as good on a backlit non e-ink screen. Different platforms have different technical standards, which means you either conform to those standards or can’t distribute through them. This is fine: whatever they reject we distribute through our own site.

Digital publishing should go beyond emulation; it needs to consider the structure and the syntax of the computer in its meaning. In the same way that books/newspapers/magazines are intertwined with texts and photos, the digital is intertwined with code. Code allows the digital possibilities.

The designer and engineer Ishac Bertran published a book called “code {poems}” (2012). It was a limited edition of a book of poems that used the syntax of the code and spoken languages together. As Bertran described,

Code can speak literature, logic, maths. It contains different layers of abstraction and it links them to the physical world of processors and memory chips. All these resources can contribute in expanding the boundaries of contemporary poetry by using code as a new language. Code to speak about life or death, love or hate. Code meant to be read, not run.8

The book was organized with 55 poems that literally used programming languages–such as C++, HTML, C#, SQL, and so on–to express something. Code here, even if published in a physical format, is used as the raw material of the publication. If code can be used for publishing, why can’t publishing go deeper and use code as well?

TThe poet and critic Alan Sondheim created the word “codework” to try to define his practice with digital media and explorations with language. The term, as explained by Sondheim, means: “the computer stirring into the text, and the text stirring the computer. This special topic presents several reviews of the current state of a literary avant-garde concerned with the intermingling of human and machine.”9 This definition can be applied to Bertran’s book and to Sondheim’s practice as well. Sondheim works, which involve poetry and virtual dimensions, go deep in using code as way of expression. His website,10, for instance, is an example of understanding publishing–even though just publicizing some kind of content–with the syntax or logic of code. The main page is only an alphabetic index with links without an interface that the reader can interact with. The reader has to guess where the content is and under which file format: jpg, txt, mp4, mov, htm, pdf, bvh, png, mp3, rtf, doc, and etc. For the reader to decode the files and have an idea of the content, s/he needs to have a basic knowledge of how an image, text, or video is disseminated in a digital media and which kind of format it uses. “I see codework as at least one future of writing–in part, it’s prosthetic, an uneasy combination of contents and structures,”11 as Sondheim stated.

Digital publishing needs to consider the relation with the media as a principle. The digital format can’t just emulate another media–like PDF files–, but must have an unbreakable relation with the content. Computers are not just screens. Computers are the screen, the keyboard, the speakers, the mouse, the hardware, and code. In the case of publishing, which deals with language in its core, code needs to be considered in this relation and contemplated in the real meaning of the digital format.

Another artist who works with the syntax of programming languages to create literary pieces is Mez Breeze. Her practice doesn’t necessarily use functional code syntax to give a new meaning, but she explores the aesthetics of code syntax and mixes it with English. In this way, she creates what she calls “mezangelle”. According to the Wikipedia definition of the term, “it dissects and recombines language and stacks multiple layers of meanings into single phrases. Beyond that, it is an Internet-cultural poetic language deriving much of its tension from incorporating formal code and informal speech at once.”12 Or, as Mez explains herself,

to mezangelle means to take poetic phrases and alter them in such a way as to extend and enhance meaning beyond the predicted or the expected. It is similar to making ‘plain’ text hypertextual via the arrangement and expansion of words via the insertion of symbolic/actual computer code. Mezangelle attempts to rewrite traditional poetry conventions through layered meanings that are both structurally and symbolically embedded in each work. [sic]13

The final result is something like this work called “att[n]:[sol]itude”14:


:l[gr]a[t]titude =

= l[wr]ongi[ng]t[n]ude:


Mez also collaborates with other artist to expand her practice. With the digital artist Andy Campbell she created the piece “Dead Tower”15, where a 3D environment is the support for her “mezangelles.” Without any kind of defined narrative, the reader–or, in this case, the participant–needs to walk through valleys, rocks, destroyed cars, bridges, and mountains to find the written work. It is not a game, although it uses the principles of a virtual world; instead, it is a digital support which doesn’t emulate another media, but is the media itself.

Her concerns about the aesthetic of the language can be related to Jaromil’s practice. The Italian digital artist is the creator of what is considered “the most elegant forkbomb ever written.”16. His work “ASCII Shell Forkbomb” (2002) is a very condensed code which commands the computer to execute a task and then replicate it, creating infinite tasks and, lastly, crashing the computer. As he explains it:

In considering a source code as literature, I am depicting viruses as poésie maudite, giambi against those selling the Net as a safe area for a bourgeois society. The relations, forces and laws governing the digital domain differ from those in the natural. The digital domain produces a form of chaos—sometimes uncomfortable because unusual, although fertile—to surf thru: in that chaos viruses are spontaneous compositions, lyrical in causing imperfections in machines made to serve and in representing the rebellion of our digital serfs.17

In this case, it is very easy to understand how a literary poem can be intrinsically connected with the media itself. Code, although used with a more pleasant aesthetic, doesn’t make any sense in a different platform other than a computer. The content–the written aspect, the language–is related to the medium and is only intelligible in that environment. This is also digital publishing.

After all, the expression to designate the emulation of a media–book/newspaper/magazine–using a different format–PDF files–in a digital platform–a computer–needs to receive an update and consider other aspects of how publicize a content. Now, the digital world, with all its singularities and possibilities, is restricted to what is very well known–experience with the physical object, standard size, default materials, and similar languages–and could exclude new experimentations and forms of evolution of basic concepts and practices. Digital publishing is a broader field and needs to consider the code as one possible language to use.


1E. S. Carpenter. “Marshall McLuhan, Explorations in Communication: an Anthology,” Beacon Press (1960): 182

2Quote from the URL: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Publishing (accessed on March 12th, 2013)

3Alessandro Ludovico. “Post-Digital Print: The Mutation of Publishing Since 1894,” Onomatopee 77 (2012): 84

4Some quick examples are Issuu (http://issuu.com/) or Scribd (http://www.scribd.com/).

5The Wikipedia defines the word as “an ambition and effort to equal, excel or surpass another; to compete or rival with some degree of success, especially through imitation.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emulation – accessed on March 10th, 2013)

6Accessible in the URL: http://www.nationalphilistine.com/Sachs2010Chan.pdf (accessed on March 10th, 2013)

7Interview for Sarah Hromack for Rhizome, accessible at http://rhizome.org/editorial/2011/aug/25/a-thing-remade-conversation-paul-chan/ (accessed on March 12th, 2013)

8From the website: http://code-poems.com/index.html

9Alan Sondheim. “Codework,” ABR, Volume 22, Issue 6 (September/October 2001). Accessible in the URL: http://www.litline.org/ABR/issues/Volume22/Issue6/sondheim.pdf (Accessed on March 10th, 2013)

10http://www.alansondheim.org/ (accessed on Marh 10th, 2013)

11Alan Sondheim. “Codework,” ABR, Volume 22, Issue 6 (September/October 2001). Accessible in the URL: http://www.litline.org/ABR/issues/Volume22/Issue6/sondheim.pdf (accessed on March 10th, 2013)

12Published in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mezangelle (accessed on March 10th, 2013)

13Extracted from an interview with the artist made by Illya Szilak and published in http://www.huffingtonpost.com/illya-szilak/digital-literature_b_2605389.html (accessed on March 10th, 2013)

14Published at http://netwurker.livejournal.com/143111.html?mode=reply#add_comment (accessed on March 10th, 2013)

15Accessible at http://labs.dreamingmethods.com/tower/ (accessed on March 12th, 2013)

16Florian Cramer on forkbomb for the exhibition “p0es1s. Digitale Poesie,” Kunstbibliothek Kulturforum (Berlin, 2004)

17Extracted from http://www.p0es1s.net/en/projects/jaromil.html (accessed on March 10th, 2013)

Leia mais

Alexander Galloway, professor at NYU e author of books such as Protocol e The Interface Effect, will host a class at The Public School about non-philosophy and the concepts of French philosopher Laruelle.

Galloway’s next book will address some theories of Laruelle connecting them to the digital.

The class is apen, free, and can be attended from any part of the world. It doesn’t account as formal credits or they give a certificate afterwards.

Leia mais

Sorry, this entry is only available in Português.

Leia mais

Sorry, this entry is only available in Português.

Leia mais