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Maneiras de trabalho, CAPACETE, 2018

Maneiras de trabalho era uma série de diálogos entre artistas de gerações diferentes, que tratava da questão de como artistas moldam suas metodologias artísticas em relação ao seu ambiente e ao momento histórico em que vivem. Em cada sessão dois artistas foram convidados para falar sobre suas práticas. Eles conversaram sobre suas relações com tempo, com espaço de trabalho, com ajustes financeiros e com colaboradores e instituições de arte da cidade. Curadoria de Tanja Baudoin.

Aconteceram três conversas públicas, com:
- Lucas Sargentelli e Ricardo Basbaum
- Thelma Vilas Boas e Cosme Felippsen
- Sofia Caesar e Tempo Livre


Maneiras de trabalho was a series of dialogues between artists from different generations, that dealt with the question of how artists shape their artistic methodologies in relation to their surroundings and the historical moment they are living. In each session two artists were paired to talk about their practice on the practical level of organizing time, the space they work in, the money they need for their art production, and their relation to collaborators and art institutions in the city. Curated by Tanja Baudoin.

Three public conversations took place, with:
- Lucas Sargentelli and Ricardo Basbaum
- Thelma Vilas Boas and Cosme Felippsen
- Sofia Caesar and Tempo Livre

Texto publicado em: CAPACETE 20 anos comendo, bebendo, pensando, 2018. Acesse aqui a publicação completa.


Maneiras de trabalho at CAPACETE

Tanja Baudoin

Published in "CAPACETE 20 anos comendo, bebendo, pensando", 2018.


Maneiras de trabalho ('Ways of working') is a project I started in June 2018 at CAPACETE. It is a series of public conversations that take place once a month, each time with two artists from different generations. I ask them questions about their ways of working on the practical level of how they organize their time, the space they work in, the money they need for their art production, and their relation to collaborators and art institutions in the city. The aim is to talk about how each one shapes their methodology in relation to their surroundings and the historical moment we are living—in other words, to find out how artists respond and give shape to the material and social circumstances surrounding art production. By pairing artists with similar interests or practices from different generations, I try to understand how these circumstances change and need reconsideration over time. 

So far two sessions have taken place and a third one is scheduled to happen soon. The first meeting was with Ricardo Basbaum and Lucas Sargentelli. Ricardo and Lucas have known each other for a long time and have been in different teacher-student and work situations together. Both of them regularly work with groups of people, often developing performative protocols that generate new actions. During the conversation they spoke about the potential of setting up projects with a long duration; about collaborations with other people and specific communities and the responsibility and ethics involved in these relations; about how to take position in relation to the commercial market of which Ricardo witnessed the advance at the end of the 1980s; and how each sustains themselves through other jobs (in the case of Ricardo, by university teaching; in the case of Lucas, working as a graphic designer) that sometimes interfere with, sometimes conduce the artistic work. 

In the second interview with Thelma Villas-Boas and Cosme Felippsen ‘O Favelado’, a focal point was the port zone of Rio de Janeiro where they work and got to know each other. Thelma is running the art project Lanchonete<>Lanchonete in a bar that is located in an occupied building in the Gamboa neighbourhood. Cosme is active as musician and poet and is the developer of Rolé dos Favelados, a walking tour in Brazil’s first favela, Morro da Providência. The conversation with Thelma and Cosme focused on their individual trajectories—Thelma comes from a working class background and worked as a fashion photographer before entering the field of visual arts, Cosme is from Morro da Providência and began giving his first walking tours when he was only 8. They talked about the arrival of initiatives in the port area that are in discrepancy with the cultural activities already taking place there and about the importance of fostering relationships that cultivate their practice, in Thelma’s case with the female bar owner and between the bar visitors and the art audience, for Cosme between the neighbourhood and people from other parts of the city and the world, as well as through his insistence to make partnerships with local female residents for his tours. 

The third, upcoming meeting will be with artist Sofia Caesar and the study group Tempo Livre. In the last years Sofia has been developing participatory projects, videos and performances that examine work conditions and bodily movements associated with work, among other things. Tempo Livre are Bettina Mattar, Ciro Oiticica, Lori Regattieri, Maikel da Silveira, Pedro Mendes, Rafael Rosa, Ricardo Gomes, Tatiana Oliveira, Tatiana Roque, and Vítor Mussa. Each person in the group has their individual research, but they come together to discuss such subjects as work and free time, new and hidden forms of labour and subjectivity under contemporary capitalism. At the moment the group is also supporting the candidacy of Tatiana Roque who is running for federal deputy with the PSOL party, and one of the main points of her campaign is proposing measures that protect new forms of work and consider the position of women in this context. 

It is a bit premature to draw lines between these first sessions of Maneiras de trabalho, but what is beginning to emerge is a map of ways of working in the artistic field and the context of Rio de Janeiro, incorporating different contemporary and historical perspectives, backgrounds, interests and approaches. When I first came to Brazil for the CAPACETE programme of 2015, I started a project with the artist Jonas Delaborde to interview the twelve participants of the programme about their work methodologies and techniques. These interviews remain unpublished, but were an obvious basis for Maneiras de trabalho. What has changed is the focus on artists from or living in Rio, and the effort to pair up people who have an existing dialogue between them or for whom it makes sense to develop one. I feel this reflects my attempt to understand where I am, how things work (or don’t), and to make visible that relations that exist between people are perhaps the strongest source of support we have, to do the things we care about. 

In each session of Maneiras de trabalho, there is at least one conversation partner that is linked to CAPACETE, be it as a former resident, contributor or as a frequent visitor of the programmes and events. I like to think of Maneiras de trabalho in relation to CAPACETE’s 20 year anniversary, not just because of the people involved, but because I’m also trying to think how CAPACETE itself has lived through the upheavals of these years. Even if it has always been CAPACETE’s strategy to establish strong relations with institutions and residents from abroad, it’s also had to be flexible and ready to adapt itself to the local situation by moving to different spaces in the city or operating without a fixed space, and creating new programmes in response to the possibilities or the limitations of the moment. When Helmut founded CAPACETE in 1998 it was perhaps a more hopeful time for the country, the early days of a period with more investment in art and education and more inclusive policies for minorities and the poor. Twenty years have passed and now these hard-won conquests are disappearing or under great threat, and Helmut Batista and Camilla Rocha Campos are figuring out new ways of making things work. 

Brazil has been going through difficult times ever since I arrived here, but this year has been especially tough with the assassination of local politician Marielle Franco, the killing of the young artist Matheusa, and the jailing of former president Lula da Silva. Now the elections are coming up and everyone is holding their breath. This tense political climate and the ongoing economic malaise have had many repercussions for the art field, manifested by the deterioration of student scholarships and research grants, the general lack of funding which debilitates both public institutions and individual artists, and the growing number of censorship cases across the country. How do artists work under these conditions? How does the figure of the cultural worker fit in a society where division of labour is so clearly marked by class, race and gender differences? How have artists and institutions been adapting their work methods in a country which has seen so many transitions and fluctuations in the past years? In fact, all these questions have in one way or another been part of ongoing discussions at CAPACETE and underline the significance of its continuation, especially now. 

Throughout all the programmes and formats that CAPACETE incorporated in the last twenty years, it has famously problematized the demands of artistic ‘production’ and ‘output’ to favour a more open-ended, processual and reflective experience for its residents. In spite, or quite possibly because of this approach, many projects, artworks and events have been realized by residents, with local artists collaborating with foreigners, and individual practices intersecting with group processes, transforming each in turn. To talk about ways of working in this specific context makes sense to me because it resonates with many of my questions about art production alongside other obligations, jobs and activities; the time it takes to make things; and the importance of building relationships with other people and places that feed into our work. As CAPACETE offers rare time for undefined ideas to gestate, this also allows me to approach the conversations as a research-in-process; as a way to explore the subject through other people’s experiences, and inevitably also to connect this to my own choice of investing in a new experience of living and working in Brazil. 

I have lived in Rio for three and a half years now, of which the first year was spent as CAPACETE resident. After that year I met new people and connected with other places while continuing the dialogues with CAPACETE and its residents and visitors, many of whom are now dear friends. Last month I ‘returned’ as a next-door neighbour when I moved to a house in Rua Benjamin Constant. Being close to CAPACETE, enjoying the support of Camilla to develop Maneiras de trabalho and working with Helmut on publications make it possible to pursue my own ways of working here. 

Since I made the decision to stay in Rio indefinitely, every time I meet someone new, I am asked when I’m going back to the Netherlands and why I am staying in a place that is in such a precarious state. I always find it difficult to give a coherent answer as it is less a logical explanation and more of a feeling that connects with many things. It has to do with putting myself in a situation where I am confronted with other cultures and ways of living, with other habits and less determined structures, so that I am all the time questioning and reframing my ideas of how things are, should be or could be. This process started with CAPACETE and by continuing to move in its orbit I can keep trying to find my way and, as Oliver Bulas, fellow resident from 2015, told me, “hopefully you will never arrive.”   

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