Saturday, May 25, 2013


I was up early on Sunday as I am oft to do. Marcos and Luiz had been out late the night before at a birthday party, so their father drove me to the bus station to catch the bus to Inhotim (In-ho-chim). I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect from Inhotim. I had heard it was a huge manmade garden and modern art space created by a wealthy miner mineira. After an hour and change, in which I watched Game of Thrones to catch up, we arrived. While I was standing in line to buy the ticket, a tiny monkey appeared from the forest. I knew I was in for a treat.  I had no idea that my mind was gonna be blown.

I walked through a gradient grey gallery and into a chorus room that nearly brought a tear to my eye.  Forty individual speakers grouped in a large room in eight clusters of five speakers each in an oval around the white room.  Each speaker had an individual voice singing.  Together, they made a glorious chorus.  Each voice pouring out of each box, bouncing of the white walls.  White walls with raised white sound reflectors.  One wall had rectangular holes punched in with glass to look out into the jungle world.  After a silence, it turned into a cacophony of coughing.

Forty part motet by Janet Cardiff.  Dear Janet took the work of Thomas Tallis, an English composer of the 16th century. Thomas wrote spem in alium nunquam habus- the choral work of 8 choirs for five voices to celebrate the birthday of Queen Elizabeth in 1575.  The work was said to speak of transcendence and humility.

Once I found the strength to leave such beauty, I followed a path down to Galleria Lygia Pape, whose work Tteia 1c was magnificent.  In the cavernous darkness, golden copper strands strung down like the sun’s rays.  Rayando el sol.

Under the shade of palm, sitting on carved smooth wood benches, I ate a persimmon.  Its red-orange flesh tasted like candy- dulicinea persimonia.  The squat banana’s firm flesh and compacted sweetness reminded me of Madras, and made me scoff at the bland dole variety that are only known back home. 

I wandered my way up to a church on a hill with old congregants singing old hymns in an old tongue.

And I found botany without compare.  Gardens of palmeira.  Observatory decks shaded in bamboo and orchids. 
O mundo lindo- with the sublime smell of orange on my fingers.

I found a white fiberglass geodesic dome.  Inside, the door shut into the darkness- save for a bubbling fountain caught by a strobe light.  The alternating light made the head o the stream like a hissing water cobra. The loose drops of water like water diamonds. By means of sudden intuitive realizations by Olafur Eliasson.

And then I found the baby monkeys. I watched the baby monkeys wrestle. Then I broke out a sweet puffed corn snack and tempted the monkeys over.  Monkey see... 

I wandered on to the stellar sonic pavilion, which was a giant pavilion that conducted the sounds of the earth via a mine shaft drilled down.  I lay on the cool wood bench and listened to the rumblings of the earth reflected through the sphere, it was incredible.

I continued on through the wonderful world.  I was so impressed by the vegetation of the place.  Everything from endangered palmeira from Mozambique to fig and avocado trees.  It was equally a place of quiet reflection and tranquil meditation mixed with roaring thought borne out of engaging modern and contemporary art.

I wandered the whole place, beaming at the day.

One of my favorite exhibits was a giant kaleidoscope that looked out towards the mountains.

But the best, best part was an exhibit called Galleria Cosmococa.  It was a tripped out world of foam roams, and strange music and other decorations.  There was also a pool with green neon light in it.  There was a changing room with towels. I COULD GO IN!  I was running out of time because I had to be back to catch the 5pm bus back to Belo, and it was 4:30pm.  If I missed the bus, I would have had to hitchhike back or something.  So I had to be quick.  I disrobed, wrapped myself in a towel and jumped in the cold pool.  I did a quick lap and jumped back out to dry off and change.  Yes, I went swimming in an art museum!  Then I ran to catch the bus, which I just made.

A tremendous obregado Marco for knowing me too well.  One day of swimming through Brazilian history; the other swimming (literally) through contemporary art in paradise.

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