Rugas da História Fendas na Paisagem
Memories and narratives are built by the winners of history. How do these narratives shape our identities? How do historical legacies shape who we are? How do our context and heritage leave a mark in our communities?
Rugas da História Fendas na Paisagem is an interactive visual installation that creates a skin image, with its wrinkles and some rifts. It explores the colours and textures we are made of. It merges our past and our present; our heritage, surroundings, nature, culture and the visitors' contribution. A skin image that is always changing, always new, that reflects our complexities and diversity.
Context in Lagos, Algarve, Portugal
Attending an artistic residency in Laboratorio d'Actividades Criativas in Lagos, Portugal, within the Contested Desires European project, offered the possibility to live in a city in the south west of Portugal's Algarve region, which is sharply influenced by its participation in Portuguese colonialism discoveries and the trade of enslaved people.
Living for a month in the Algarve region offered the opportunity to make several exploratory visits to small villages as Sagres, Loulé, Silves or Monchique. The visits, from the mountains countryside to sea coast, offered the opportunity to observe different natural spots, traditions and ways of life.
Algarve is in the south west region of Portugal, in Europe. The end of the known world of it's times. The light, the colours, the sea, the rocks, the cost and landscape is hit by wind and sun. Staring at the sea, especially at Cape St Vincent, makes you believe that earth ends at the horizon.
Rugas da História Fendas na Paisagem
Rugas da História Fendas na Paisagem creates an animated skin image in continuous change. A visual system generates wrinkles and rifts that grow and add to previous ones. They are always different, always unique, creating a cumulative visual image.
The piece is formed of 3 parts: an interactive panel, the visual output and a small thermal printer.
Colors from the context: the "fendas na paisagem" (cracks in the landscape)
To colourize the generated wrinkles and rifts the project borrows colours from photographs taken in Algarve. They are close up images that capture details and textures of the culture, traditions, food, way of living, nature and history. Thus the skin image resulting in Rugas da História Fendas na Paisagem mixes colours from the context and heritage. Visitors can choose (by pressing the panel buttons) the tone that will tint the skin, mix them and explore the contextual contribution.
Complex forms in nature, cities and skin: the "rugas da história" (history wrinkles)
There are some visual similarities in the way that cities grow, when seen from above ; how plant leaves create their venation ; how time creates craquelure in objects ; or how wrinkles appear in skin . Several new media artists have explored this visual complex systems.
Elements with slight similar growing behaviours create these intricate structures. A specific growing algorithm has been developed to generate these kinds of patterns.
From physical to digital. And then to physical again
Rugas da História Fendas na Paisagem starts borrowing the colours from the photographs taken in Algarve, Portugal. Using those colours it generates a digital skin pattern in constant change. When the skin image finishes to grow and gets to the right side of the screen the small thermal printer starts printing. It prints the last row of pixels of the generated wrinkles. Little by little a roll of dots come out. All the generated skins end up drawing another common skin. The paper roll falls down and physically mixes it again in another common shared and blended skin.
First I would like to thank La Bonne and all the Contested Desires project partners to give me the opportunity to participate in this incredible project. I would like to thank all the participants I met in Lagos for the interesting discussions and the time we spent together. And finally thanks to Stelios, Akeelah, Jorge, Daniel, Sonia and Nuno for their help and an incredible month in Lagos.