1.10.10

Far From Here, Right Here - a library under construction

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The investigations of Fabio Morais cover the intimate territories of notions of time, as forms of perception and memory, found mainly in the relationships between image and word. The book is omnipresent, as the power behind the work, procedure and method that compose the artistic discourse of Marilá Dardot. The partnership between Fabio and Marilá began when the artists revealed that they collected objects forgotten in books purchased in secondhand bookshops. From this emerged Sebo [Secondhand Bookshop] (2007). Each page of this edition is a front and back Xerox copy of the objects found. The book is in fact impregnated with the subjectivity of the two artists, so much so that they created the Reading Fellowship—a collection of novels published starting in the 1970s, which after being read, received the “fellowship” stamp. Far From Here, Right Here is just another collaborative effort by Fabio Morais and Marilá Dardot. In this interview, the artists reveal some aspects of the creative process of the terreiro and the proposals of building a library for the 29th Bienal de São Paulo.

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The terreiro Far From Here, Right Here was designed as a place for research and reading, housing collections of books and publications on art. How did you transform this idea into the project presented? What criteria drove your project to become a terreiro?

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We envisioned this terreiro as a stopping point in an itinerary. The departure is marked by the arrival of books from various parts of the world, driven by a desire to contribute. The arrival will occur every time someone, in the terreiro, takes a book and opens it. What drives us in this project is providing the means for this to happen: by paving a road so that the cacophony of books materializes, far from here, right here.

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Faced with the proposal of the terreiro—which was designed to take shape as a space in the exhibition associated with “utopian and dystopian” feelings and that is situated in the same conceptual neighborhood as works that make reference to the creation of what is not, but one day could be, or, the opposite, to frustration and abandonment—what resources were envisioned for the interaction of the visitor with the constructed space? What resources were used and what were the aims for this conceptual and formal construction?

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The terreiro that we proposed is a progression of constructions, all of them still to come. It is a space made of bricks, emotions and tributes, that is presented in a moment of suspension.

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The visitor is welcomed by walls with bare bricks and passageways without doors. A view of a house (or village or city) under construction is the first contact. When the visitor enters, he sees some finished walls, doors hung and rooms with carpeting. All of this shows that this space, even under construction, is already habitable. Something doesn't have to be fully built before it can serve as shelter. The idea of the book (and also of literature, ideas, words) is being presented as the visitor perceives that the wallpaper, wall tiles, carpets and doors are pictures of book covers.

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When the visitor arrives at the library, he is welcomed by a finished building, housing something that is not ready or finished: the collection of the library still being formed. Or even the substance that makes up each book: art. From there, the interaction of the visitor is through reading, leafing, something natural for a book. And the path traveled by the visitor inside the terreiro will be repeated each time he opens a book, but this time on another scale with other artists.

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The book is in fact impregnated with the subjectivity of you both. And it is not only a strong reference, but the raw material, method and creative resource for your work. What are relationships that developed between these two languages: architectural space, in the form of the house, and the book? What references are displayed in the creation of the terreiro?

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At no time did we think that we were creating architecture. We were creating relationships. It is clear that architecture and construction are Siamese words, but in this case we prefer the word construction alongside the word metaphor. Our metaphor is the construction site, incomplete, something that is underway, something that is open. More of a project, another desire to express an idea, than a building.

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Our choice for the square was that of a configuration that responds much more to the organic and immediate needs of habitation, associated with the basic housing used by the majority of the Brazilian population, and not to historical concepts of architecture.

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We believe that if our square has an architecture, it is much more complex and expansive than that of the weave of the walls raised in the Bienal building: there is the fact that our terreiro having borrowed the space of the post office, of the planes, of the mailman, of the mailbags dispatched at airports, of the backpacks carried in the airplane cabins, of the express mail packages, of the trunks of cars and buses, of the baskets on bicycles, so that each book can arrive at Far From Here, Right Here. This mobile architecture, displaced and borrowed, is expressed in one of the logotypes of our collection, where a book is sent in a balloon. This trip is as important as the walls raised with bricks, in the Bienal building. And the junction of all of this is what forms the architecture of our square.

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We are not architects. We envisioned our square as a metaphor for a space under construction, and not as architecture. More than the house-book relationship, we prefer to think in terms of brick-book, tile-book, wall paper-book, or rather, elements of construction.

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Within the square, there is a library. One of the collections of books that form the basis of this collection is the Reading Fellowship, our partner for exchange of contemporary literature. But it is only a foundation. The rest of the construction of this collection is built on each contribution, coming from the four corners of the earth. Book by book. Brick by brick. We like the image of a truck unloading bricks, which are passed from hand to hand until they arrive at the place where the wall will be raised.

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Most Brazilian houses are not static. They are a chain of constructions where the following owner will add a room, the owner after him will expand the backyard and the one after him will add a second story and change the wall tiles. In this project, we are the first owners, we built the first rooms and formed the first collection of books. From there, books will arrive at random and one book will lead to another. Fortuitous encounters, subjective relationships and systematic collections will live together, sharing shelves and rooms.

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