I was born in São Paulo, Brazil, a city full of contrasts, contradictions and inequality. My first contact with the art field was during my teenage years when I started to study classical ballet dance at Royal Academy of Dance training programs in different schools in my hometown, São Paulo. From 11 to 17 years-old I dedicated part of my time to this training. When I reached 13, I also developed an interest in visual arts. I spent 2 years at ESCOLA PANAMERICANA DE ARTE, also based in São Paulo, studying drawing and painting. During high school, I became a member of a Drama group and, after some years of self-study, I was able to pass Brazilian qualification exams and receive my professional certificate as performer and actress. During this time, I was floating in many directions, curious about how I could express myself in different ways. I remember a poem by the Brazilian author Viviane Mosé that I came across in the middle of this process. The poem is called LIFE/TIME and, in my interpretation, it works the relation between time and movement. It describes the transformation a person goes through while getting older. This person starts as a victim of time and, then, she becomes someone in control of this movement. Somehow, I think I kept this idea with me through my creative work.
“I think there is life, passing and touching me in an awkward way.
There is life, passing and touching me in an awkward way.
I think there is life, passing.
There is life, passing.
I think there is life.
There is life in me.
I think there is life in me.”
– my personal translation of the poem LIFE/TIME by Viviane Mosé.
When I was 17, in 1998, I moved to the United States. My brother, who is an airplane pilot, was working for a Brazilian airline company and he had the opportunity to be based in Los Angeles for 2 years. He invited me to come along, finish High School there and apply for an American Film School. By that time, all my experiences with art had already led me to one decision: I wanted to be a filmmaker. After 2 months I was living with him, the airline company he was working for went bankrupt and I had another decision to make: should I stay or should I go back? I stayed there for 1 year and a half before going back to Brazil. In the United States, It was the first time I experienced solitude and also independence. I remember that during the time I was living by myself, the Columbine High School shooting happened and a lot of fear came with this solitude. Many years later, I saw a documentary film by the Brazilian filmmaker Petra Costa that was an important reference to me. It was called ELENA and it was about Petra’s sister who committed suicide while living in the U.S. She had moved there to study acting and something changed inside of her during this experience. It was a film about feminine solitude. This work was important to me because of many elements she put together. She worked with fragments of memory organizing meaning thought some associations. Petra’s voice connects all the pieces in a confessional and poetic narrative. The film wasn’t exactly a documentary, neither a fiction, nor a visual poem. Watching it made me feel like floating in a river, in a state of an immersive process that worked for me as an exercise of misshaping the sensation of time. One poetic element the director uses is the reference of Ophelia, the character from William Shakespeare’s drama HAMLET. In the play, Ophelia dies in the waters of a river. Petra Costa uses pieces of her personal imaginary puzzle to access her subconscious and to find a way to express herself. Her film made me access my solitude in an identification process, like a mirror. Her work had a great influence on my first feature documentary film IDENTITIES, released in 2015. In this film, I talk about my relationship with my hometown, São Paulo. I start the documentary describing the sensation of feeling like a foreigner in the place I was born, after spending some time abroad and coming back.
“São Paulo is the sixth most populous city in the world. It has nearly 12 million inhabitants. It is also the city of my childhood, where I was born and raised. When I was 17, I left my city for the first time to live abroad. After that, I’ve never stopped moving. One day I was homesick and decided to come back. But this time to stay. But when I arrived, I had a strange feeling. I noticed that I had become an alien in my own city. Even though I searched, I couldn’t find anything that connected me to life here. In many places in São Paulo when looking through the window, we can’t see the horizon. I have a feeling that the eyes need this space to be able to think. After a while, I learned to observe people. They’ve become my horizon in the metropolis day-to-day.” – from IDENTITIES, by Anna Lucchese.
When I came back to Brazil I started studying Language and Literature at the Public University UNIVERSIDADE DE SÃO PAULO | São Paulo | Brazil and Communication in a Private School called FACULDADE CÁSPER LÍBERO | São Paulo | Brazil. I graduated from FACULDADE CÁSPER LÍBERO in 2005 with a bachelor degree in Communication with an emphasis in Broadcasting. I thought I would become a screenwriter when I started University but I ended up moving towards directing. I also liked fiction at first, but I discovered a passion for the unknown mysteries real life could provide. During this time in University, I made two independent films, a short fiction called THE BOTTLED DOG and a medium-length documentary film called PASSERBY’S LOOK. Both works were selected and awarded in Brazilian film festivals. The first film was about an alcoholic who faces the guilt of running over a person while under the influence of alcohol. I spent a week going to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings to understand their universe, and it was also a very interesting experience to face a different form of solitude that comes with addiction. The second work was about a street drama group and their relation with their audience, passerbys, mainly homeless people. Their play was called THE STREET IS A RIVER. The experience with this drama group called TABLADO DE ARRUAR had a great impact on me, and the documentary I made with them is still one of my favorite works. At that point, I found a powerful tool that somehow helped me to organize my personal imaginary puzzle: documentary films. Although, I didn’t like the traditional documentary formats. My references at that time were Orson Welles and his film F FOR FAKE and Chris Marker and his films CHAT PERCHÉS and LA JETEE. They also had a very personal form of putting together unrelated pieces of expression. I wasn’t interested in reality per se nor the truth about things. What caught my attention was the way people looked at it, how we deal and interpret life around us and how we find meaning putting together a chaotic and unexpected puzzle.
“Once a homeless person asked me ‘Are you a street drama group?’ And I said ‘yes’. So, he replied ‘You know, when you’re living in the streets, if you’re not a good actor, you don’t survive.’ – passage from PASSERBY’S LOOK.
“Our works in stone, in paint, in print, are spared, some of them, for a few decades or a millennium or two, but everything must finally fall in war, or wear away into the ultimate and universal ash – the triumphs, the frauds, the treasures and the fakes. A fact of life: we’re going to die. Be of good heart, cry the dead artists out of the living past. Our songs will all be silenced, but what of it? Go on singing.” – from F FOR FAKE by Orson Welles.
SELF AND FREEDOM
After working for 2 years in small production companies in Brazil, I decided to study abroad again. I studied Film Directing in ESCAC | Escola Superior de Cinema i Audiovisuals de Catalunya | Barcelona | Spain in 2007 and made 3 short fictions called NURIA’S BOX, FEAR and SEARCHING. I also joined a project team organized by ROOTS AND ROUTES INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION during the time I lived in Spain. This association creates interdisciplinary projects with young artists, promoting social and cultural diversity in arts and media. My project was a short documentary about foreigners living in Barcelona. At this point, I developed a great interest in the subject of identity. This first experiment would lead me to a research that would become my documentary IDENTITIES years later. I was fascinated by the freedom I saw in the people and in the art in Barcelona. People in Barcelona and Catalunya knew who they were and they’ve been fighting for this identity for a long time. They’ve been through war, Franco’s dictatorship and so many other things that I would never fully understand. But this memory was everywhere in the city. I started to spend some time practicing something that I would discover later that had a specific name: flâner. So, I would stroll around for hours when I had some free time. The streets in Barcelona were very lively. And it made me realize we lived in prisons in São Paulo/Brazil. And that made me feel like talking about myself and the middle class living in my hometown. I remember when I came back to Brazil I came across a very interesting project called MUSEUM OF THE PERSON. It’s a virtual and collaborative museum with the stories of ordinary people talking about themselves and their lives. It was also a great reference for me while developing some of the concepts in IDENTITIES narrative.
“The oral life story is a flexible genre that allows one to connect the private with the public world. It is a window that allows the world to catch a glimpse of the personal experiences and values of the ordinary person. The representations of self and the past that are embodied in life stories can be used as tools by researchers and activists for larger agendas that create meanings in culture and society.” – From the research STORIES ABOUT STORIES: LIFE STORY COLLECTING AS COMMEMORATION AND SOCIAL ACTIVISM that uses the MUSEUM OF THE PERSON as a case study. The research was developed by ILZE AKERBERGS for the degree Doctor of Philosophy in the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology, Indiana University.
POETRY AND THE CHANCE
When I finished IDENTITIES in 2015, all my work and career was focused on non-fiction projects as documentaries, interview and educational shows, especially for television. While developing IDENTITIES project and research, I was hired to direct a talk show called THE MACHINE. This show was created by a young and experimental department. The idea was to have a host and a celebrity to be interviewed inside of this machine that looked like a spaceship. This fiction character represented by the machine wanted to become a human. The interview was a way to study human behavior. That concept gave some freedom for the host to ask strange questions and the result was very interesting. I had to use some fictional elements to create this character and I had to develop a language for a being that was learning things like emotions, abstraction and poetry. It was difficult for the audience to understand these dynamics, so I used Twitter as a medium for the machine to express itself. I started to study social media and I became more curious about how internet and communication technology were changing the society behavior. On the other hand, the host of the show was a poet and writer called Fabricio Carpinejar and I learned a lot from him on how to use poetry and language as a tool. I think this new experience inspired me to start writing poetry myself. It was a good exercise and it helped me a lot in my creative process. In 2016, I also enrolled in an experimental writing lab called COOPERATIVA DA INVENÇÃO created and hosted by the cultural center CASA DAS RODAS. At this point, I’d started to understand that my work was related to a hybrid artistic form of expression. During the lab, we were presented to Mallarmé’s poem UN COUP DE DÉS JAMAIS N’ABOLIRA LE HASARD. The poem had an element that caught my attention: the chance. Working with documentaries I’ve soon realized the importance to be open for the chance, to be able to work with it when it happened. As an assignment for this course, I made a video using poetry and documentary as tools to create a visual language. I also used water as an important poetic element. From this point, I decided I wanted to write poems not just with words but also with images and I decided to look for some inspiration in the visual arts.
“A human being is the sum of many roles in constant conflict with each other.” – one of the knowledges learned by THE MACHINE, written by Anna Lucchese.
VISUAL ARTS AND IMMERSIVENESS
In 2017, I returned to study visual arts. I enrolled in a Postgraduate Program class about contemporary art as a special student. I also felt the urge to return my focus to social issues that I had developed in the past in some of my documentaries. Besides that documentary I made about the relationship between the street drama group and homeless people, I also made a documentary about the life of teenagers in a Brazilian prison. I had some appreciation for the study of the self but I also found it very interesting to study the relation of the self with the others in the mirror process every person develops while living in society. This urge led me to study political activism and to attend another Postgraduate Program class focused on contemporary political movements also as a special student.
I wanted to study visual artists who also work with documentaries. I chose the Brazilian visual artist Cao Guimarães as my main subject. He made a trilogy entitled TRILOGY ON SOLITUDE consisted of the films: THE SOUL OF THE BONE, DRIFTERS and THE MAN OF THE CROWD. I made a research and wrote a paper about “Drifters”, a documentary film about the universe of people whose essential characteristic, unlike hermits, is constant displacement. These characters were men who decided to live in the margin of society, walking without an objective and planned destiny, completely opened to the change. Cao Guimarães describes this work as “a film about the connections between walking and thinking, in which the ever-changing nature of things turns life into a place of mere passing.”
From this research, two tools were important for me as references to my creative process: how to produce an immersive work for the audience to jump in and how to leave space for the audience to create an interpretative relation with the narrative object and fill in the blanks with their own personal experience, emotional memories and imaginary world.
“Living together with someone else is much more sustained by the complicity in fear than by the honest curiosity for the other, by the dialectical space that comes when we confront ourselves with the other.” – Cao Guimarães about his film DRIFTERS.
In August of the same year, I decided to spend a month in Japan. A friend of mine who is an architect told me to visit TESHIMA ART MUSEUM. It’s located in the island of Teshima, a rural island in the Seto Inland Sea that joined the nearby islands of Naoshima and Inujima to become an important destination for contemporary art in recent years.
“The museum, which resembles a water droplet at the moment of landing, is located in the corner of a rice terrace that was restored in collaboration with local residents. Structurally, the building consists of a concrete shell, devoid of pillars, coving a space 40 by 60 meters and with a maximum height of 4.5 meters. Two oval openings in the shell allow wind, sounds, and light of the world outside into this organic space where nature and architecture intimately interconnect. In the interior space, water continuously springs from the ground in a day long motion. This setting, in which nature, art and architecture come together with such limitless harmony, conjures an infinite array of impressions with the passage of seasons and the flow of time.” – description from TESHIMA ART MUSEUM website.
TESHIMA ART MUSEUM was a place that gave me the real understanding of the immersive concept and how this process can help a person to connect to the subconscious and discover unique emotions. I spent a long time inside that shell, feeling that empty space. I was feeling time in a very different way from the experience I am used to living in a metropole surrounded by technology and information and, especially, a lot of rush. I kept this sensation with me.
SELF-FICTION AND TRAVELING
During the time I was studying contemporary art and political activism, I read about the killing of two female tourists murdered in Ecuador. Maria Coni and Marina Menegazzo were sexually assaulted and killed in February 2016 by two men who had offered them a place to stay. After this tragedy, a virtual campaign using the hashtag #travelsolo became viral and women from around the world used this social media tool to fight violence, taking their own experiences as solo travelers as a political action against fear.
This campaign started with a spontaneous text wrote by Guadalupe Acosta and posted in her personal Facebook profile. She wrote a description of what happened with Maria and Marina, but she used first-person in her speech like she was the one murdered.
The development of these actions made me realize the power of “I” as a contemporary expression tool. Guadalupe brought a distant news story into her life as a personal experience that could happen to any women. When other women read the text, they read “I was murdered” and they could also feel like the protagonists of this horrible story.
I was already working on a TV documentary series project about women who travel alone, when I came across all these information. So I decided to develop a visual art project idea putting together activism, art, social and political behavior and female protagonism. I sent the project WHY DO I TRAVEL ALONE? to the art department held by the public Brazilian University UNESP and I was accepted in the Postgraduate Program to start my research as part of a master degree course focused in visual arts, starting in March 2018.
This project consists in an experiment using crowdsourcing as a tool to make an open call for women around the world to send me footage of their solo trips, recording themselves as protagonists of their stories, using first-person in their speech. My goal is to transform this material into a visual art installation. The idea is to use some concepts to extract meaning from these fragments, concepts like self-fiction, social behavior and identity, political activism, communication in the digital era, female protagonist, transcultural art and global movements and the relationship between the self and the other as a model of behavior. This research is also focused on different ways an artistic process can be made, using technology and hybrid elements to move in different directions and to take unpredictable forms.
When I was searching for this base of concepts, once again literature and documentary helped me to organize and connect the elements. It happened when I was attending a course about authorship in documentary and I was introduced to a text that analyzed the use of self-fiction in Agnès Varda documentaries. This term SELF-FICTION comes from another term used in literature: AUTOFICTION. Autofiction combines two narrative forms: autobiography and fiction. And I thought it was an interesting approach to understand what #travelsolo was trying to do as a form of protest. These women were showing a life of freedom and achievements that isn’t yet completely true in contemporary society but this model of behavior could help to change reality. The text I read in the course analyses how Varda used this technique in her film LES PLAGES D’AGNÈS to overcome mourning and I understand #travelsolo women used this technique to overcome fear.
“Varda’s use of the cinematic techniques of fiction as a way to deal with mourning, and so open up a space within the self that would not be consumed by mourning, clears the way for this self to re-orient itself, and engage with other concerns – including a concern for the self – in a way that is impossible when seized by grief.” – from SELF-FICTIONS AND FILM: VARDA’S TRANSFORMATIVE TECHNOLOGY OF THE SELF IN LES PLAGES D’AGNÈS by C. Boyle.
This trajectory helps to illustrate what I look for in my art and how my creative process works. These different tools and concepts have been part of my life and production in different ways since the beginning. I’ve been using them to organize and find meaning in all the fragments I have with me as an individual living in contemporary society.
03/2018 – Started master’s program at Art institute – Unesp (State University in São Paulo/Brazil) | Início do mestrado no Instituto de Artes da Unesp
03/2018 – Job position as Supervisor at Experimental Audiovisual Production Lab – Cásper Líbero Communication College (São Paulo/Brazil) | Início do trabalho como supervisora da Produtora Experimental Audiovisual – Faculdade Cásper Líbero
07/2017 – Traveled to Japan | Viajou para o Japão
05/2016 – Traveled to China | Viajou para a China
2012-2016 – TV director responsible for the interview show THE MACHINE and the documentary series INSPIRING, STREET ART and PROJECT 1 DAY (São Paulo/Brazil) | Diretora do programa de entrevistas A MÁQUINA e das séries de documentário INSPIRADORES, ARTE NA RUA e PROJETO 1 DIA, produzidos e veiculados pela TV GAZETA
05/2011 – Traveled to India and made the documentary DELIVERY TRIP | Viajou para a India e realizou o documentário DELIVERY TRIP
02-11/2010 – Diretor in an educational series produced by TV CULTURA (São Paulo/Brazil) | Diretora de cena da série educacional COLEÇÃO TÉCNICA INTERATIVA produzido pela TV CULTURA
11/209-02/2010 – Editor in a comedy show produced by ACADEMIA DE FILMES and aired on TV BAND (São Paulo/Brazil) | Editora do programa de humor É TUDO IMPROVISO, produzido pela ACADEMIA DE FILMES e veiculado na BAND
2007-2008 – Moved to Spain and did the specialization course MÀSTER EN DIRECCIÓ CINEMATOGRÀFICA at ESCAC – Escola Superior de Cinema i Audiovisuals de Catalunya (Barcelona/Spain) | Mudou-se para a Espanha e realizou a especialização MÀSTER EN DIRECCIÓ CINEMATOGRÀFICA na ESCAC – Escola Superior de Cinema i Audiovisuals de Catalunya (Barcelona/Espanha)
2002-2005 – Bachelor degree in Communication with an emphasis in Broadcasting (São Paulo/Brazil) | Cursou e concluiu a graduação em Comunicação Social – Rádio e Televisão na Faculdade Cásper Líbero