Correspondence is an image-mediated dialogue between Solitude fellow Ricardo Portilho and his friend Santana Dardot. The conversation is a work-in-progress that addresses questions, discoveries, and everyday stories through resemblance, temporal/spatial/formal complementarity, reverberation, contrast, and opposition, as a question-and-answer game, through affirmation and replica. The interaction manifests itself in question-images, response-images, curve-images, puzzle-images, or challenge-images. The project is inspired by the authors’ current habitat displacement (from Brazil to Germany and France): Ricardo and Santana try to decipher affects and percepts of their experiences through »dérives,« contemplation, and deconditioning the senses.
Originally written in Portuguese, the full series is online at www.correspondencia.art
I am sending this picture I did at sunset,
when night was almost coming by, near the beach.
I leave you with the perspective of following either easy,
well known paths, or trying the taste of wandering
through misty, imprecise tracks.
Re: Correspondence #4
I knew where I should go, I knew when I should go,
but somehow, I lost the exact moment.
I decided to go on anyway. Out in the wind,
feeling the cold in my hands, I managed to arrive
almost close to what I wanted.
A new path that takes shape, maybe:
to leave my comfort zone,
and then set sail to new discoveries.
A few days have passed, and still it feels like months.
This week I have been working on an
experimental publication workshop with Clare,
a writer and also a fellow here in Solitude.
I have never found myself so uncomfortable
playing this role; I have never met such a diverse
and open group, willing to donate part of their precious time
for an experience that promises so little.
I, myself, had a very special day today.
We got visitors at Solitude, a group of refugee families
with their children. For them, a Sunday outside;
for me, an unique encounter.
I could see them: fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters.
They strolled around the castle and played with the snow.
The children got their faces painted by us.
They were transformed into puppies, kittens, superheroes.
Inside one of the rooms we had American pop music playing,
and I was asking myself how peculiar that combination was:
Syrian families trying to escape from the war,
visiting a castle in Germany where American pop music
was playing. We had lunch together.
I managed to speak to a couple
about how strong Syrian culture is in Brazil,
how popular Syrian food is
– a sketch of mutual recognition between such different realities.
A lot of images and perceptions are coming through,
day after day. In our little game,
I try to imagine what will be the next step,
what image will continue the thread toward the next move.
I think about question-images, answer-images,
habit-images, curve-images, challenge-images.
During this week I collected document-images,
pieces of daily life, but I decided to send an image
that could just go together with my message,
not showing anything related to this text,
but rather leaving a sensation,
something that has changed along the days, white as a blank paper
awaiting the pencil.
Re: Correspondence #5
As I was reading your message, I kept thinking how your workshop,
although it looks like a short-term experience,
must have been a lively, intense experience for you.
Maybe because of its simplicity, or because
it looks like an open path to experimentation,
something that sets itself free
from isolating and protective layers.
Hopefully it opened a path to sensible dialogues,
acting like a password to let people fence off,
letting go of the shields that establish distance and protect people
from the external forces that can hurt.
Around here, a few months ago,
I also had some contact with a group of refugees,
during the time that I was attending a French language course.
There are sad stories, stories of loss,
of roots that were cut in a brutal, violent way.
But there are also stories of new beginnings.
Marseille is a harbor city
where the Arabic and African culture is very present,
so it harbors people for a new life.
Nevertheless, this is not a particularly inclusive welcome:
this receptivity clashes with discordfrom part
of the French society toward foreigners
in a more general sense.
Sometimes it is a subtle opposition
that reveals itself in little gestures, embedded in body language.
Sometimes it is a very explicit one,
visible when the most mundane tasks
are made difficult for foreigners,
or even in the sheer neglect of basic rights.
For me, to be here, it has been something like fumbling in the dark,
or trying to see something through the twilight.
To intuit, to decipher slowly all codes,
combinations and meanings,
even though not understanding in the first look.
To explore a fertile, playful and potent new field,
trying to find orientation between the familiar and the unknown,
without seeing what comes next.
Just as the tracks in the creeks that surround Marseille,
a territory that unfolds itself little by little,
full of small accidents, slopes, challenges, achievements, and possibilities.
Let ourselves venture.
here I am still touching the surface,
savoring the breeze, softly,
but there is a sea to dive into
– the knowledge of the deepness,
the immersed world
to touch the bottom
Or maybe would it be the visible-inverse
the air the sea?
Re: Correspondence #6
Your picture reminded me something that I have been seeing
already several times in my walks in Stuttgart-Mitte.
I share with the musings from my dérives.
People in precarious and uncertain movements – enjoy themselves
Slip and fall – and they delight
The music plays – a constant party, moved by Frank Sinatra’s hits
There are colored lights – beautiful LED-generated Aurora Borealis.
The surface is created by a circuit of liquid nitrogen tubes.
The air, the liquids, the solids. The audible, the visible, the sensible.
Here, we have days of a blue sky,
with a temperature around -1 Celsius.
»It’s crystal clear cold,«like a German friend once told me.
I’ve found a public pool not far from Solitude.
There is hot water, sauna, hot shower, and everything else.
João loves it.
To get there, we take a bus, get off at the right stop,
and cross this tunnel. I like this picture, cut out by the arc,
by the difference of colors.
A metaphor of passage, of promise, of change, perhaps.
Re: Correspondence #7
Here, the weather has been much more mild and pleasant,
between 10 and 15 degrees Celsius. It seems that the body
begins to get used to the new air.
Yesterday I pedaled around the city without a coat.
Regarding the news, I feel that after so many waves
and time turns, perhaps now the sea is becoming favorable
to the shipment of what was once was covered and well kept.