Travessias – 13th International Architecture Biennale of São Paulo
Crossings are usually related to connections: a bridge allows transposition between riverbanks; a stair links two floors; a ramp beats a gap in an accessible way; paths connect territories.
They can also be understood as a journey: the forced migration of African people abducted from their native home, escapes to the quilombos, or displacements from the countryside to the city. Therefore, the crossing is a movement that involves bodies and territories and, if done collectively, it is a sharing of experiences, memories, and identity. Social inequalities, temporal and geographic, mark territories, and in the Brazilian case, they were shaped by disputes involving the desire to stay and move.
In this vast patchwork of collective experiences, some narratives are legitimized at the expense of erasing others. With the violation of the right to memory, identity, and image, one’s body becomes a document, as Beatriz Nascimento suggests. Bodies in the constant movement are looking for territoriality, dreams to come true, survival, and the possibility of becoming visible in their own way. Therefore, it is crucial to reflect on territories and borders through collectively erased memory surveys, such as buried water resources, demolished buildings, threatened cultural and spiritual practices, and violated multiple identities.
The exhibitions – spread between the SESC Avenida Paulista and the Centro Cultural São Paulo – were elaborated from an international open call and invited professionals and collectivities to express their concerns, proposals, and research. Reports, manifests, and provocations are displayed on different types of media. Also, the exhibitions offer suggestions for space narratives, territories, organizations, and practices, demonstrating know-how and constructions that allow other social groups to exist and resist in the context of daily conflicts. Thus, the aim is to dwell on erasures, resistances, and diverse experiences up to the present day from a thread of projects, works, and performances that encourage conversations between professionals from different regions of Brazil and other continents.
Travessias invites visitors to occupy and dialogue with the exhibitions spaces so they can move their bodies into the social practices of a city: sites where a street gains a more public dimension and is occupied by cultural collectivities and balls, rolezinhos, street corners talks, dive bars with tables on the sidewalk; where reality is shaped into different forms, improvising places of caring and solidarity among neighbors, and forming more cooperative ways of doing politics, from local leaderships articulations. It is an invitation to look around, move one’s body, and about existing paths. It is about imagining futures by emphasizing the recognition of practices and collective bits of knowledge: ancient, marginalized, insurgents, and their contributions to architecture, cities, and ways of living and residing.