Heterogeneity: from a revolver to a coconut tree

Date and time
Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Heterogeneity: from a revolver to a coconut tree

DHC/ART Education has created a pedagogical tool, IMAGINE BRAZIL: Movements, with the goal of encouraging visitors to develop and elaborate on key concepts examined in the IMAGINE BRAZIL exhibition. The concepts include anthropophagy, the everyday, heterogeneity and space. This week, we are presenting the third essay in the series, which explores the idea of heterogeneity.

Composition: Heterogeneity

Where you want a revolver, I’m a coconut tree
And where you want money, I’m passion
Where you want rest, I’m desire

And where I’m desire, you don’t want it [1]

- Caetano Veloso, O Quereres, 1993 (“To desire”)

The desire that Veloso refers to in O Quereres is contradictory. It is there, but not when or where it should be – not where the other wants it to be. This incompatibility of expectations leads to a relationship that is ultimately discordant; a relationship based on the principles of heterogeneity.

Heterogeneity is defined as “diverse in character and content [2]”, and “consisting of dissimilar or diverse constituents [3]”. Heterogeneity is about variability – much like the exhibition IMAGINE BRAZIL. Twenty-seven Brazilian artists working in different styles and with different approaches are brought together to form the heterogeneous relationship that is IMAGINE BRAZIL. At the same time, many of the works in the exhibition – like Veloso’s O Quereres – reveal their own heterogeneity.

In Automóvel, 2012, Cinthia Marcelle explores relationships between people and their infrastructures; between futility and necessity; between order and dis-order, or rather a re-ordering of order. For 7 minutes and 11 seconds, the viewer is immersed in the heart of a highway with multiple lanes. While this experience may seem mundane and ordinary at first, the film crescendos into a choreographed ballet of cars moving to and fro, stopped in traffic, breaking down, and finally, flashing their hazards in the darkness.

Through various actions that can be seen as playful and serious at the same time, Marcelle dissects concepts like rhythm, symmetry, and movement as allegories for life, work and play. In so doing, she reveals how seemingly opposing, heterogeneous forces are actually parts of an interconnected whole.

An aspect of Montez Magno’s artistic exploration is rooted in the structure and perception of languages – but not in their vocalization. Magno’s Madrigais series from 2009 are based on polyphonic vocal music compositions from 14th century Italy, but his interpretation of these comes forth strictly in formal terms: his madrigals were never meant to be sung. He refers to them instead as “prospective art [4]”, giving them the possibility of life, but with no assurance of completion. This disparity exemplifies the heterogeneous quality of this work, again demonstrating how the most incongruent ideas can be linked to create a relationship of heterogeneity. Much like Veloso’s revolver and coconut tree, Marcelle’s order and chaos or Magno’s unsung musical scores, the ensemble of works in IMAGINE BRAZIL, while grounded in heterogeneity, also reveal an innate interconnectedness.

What are other works in this exhibition that demonstrate heterogeneous elements in their formal or conceptual framework?

The idea of "prospective art" is rich in interpretive possibilities. What does this concept mean to you? Does it have limitations, and if so, what are they? What, for example, could be included or excluded from this notion?

DHC/ART Education

[1] Victoria Broadus, “O Quereres,” Brazilian Lyrics in English, accessed October 15, 2015.
[2] Oxford Dictionaries, Oxford University Press, 2015, accessed October 15, 2015.
[3] Merriam-Webster Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc, 2015. Accessed October 15, 2015.
[4] Ana Maria Maia, “Montez Magno,” in Imagine Brazil, (Oslo: Astrup Fearnley Museet ; Lyon : Musée d’art contemporain de Lyon, 2013), 79.

Photo: Jonathas de Andrade, 40 nego bom é um real (40 black candies for R$ 1.00), detail, 2013. Silkscreen prints on wood, acrylic engraved boards, riso prints on paper, laser prints on paper, vinyl texts. Variable Dimensions. Courtesy of the artist and Galeria Vermelho, São Paulo.

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