2014, Rio de Janeiro, Berlin. Video Installation of three channels, vertical projection, color, sound, 30 min, Full HD.

Seven meters above the Camerino Street, four white Carrara marble statues representing gods of Greco-Roman mythology, observe the locals passersby every day in the Saúde (Health) neighborhood, Rio de Janeiro. A few feet above them, residents of Morro da Conceição are organizing themselves to the right to remain in their houses even with the growing gentrification in the city port area. Between the Camerino Street and Morro da Conceição, a vertical garden of romantic style, built in the early twentieth century during the so-called Brazilian “Belle époque”, also houses the first public urinal in town and one of the first guardhouse of Rio. After being abandoned for decades, the garden has just been restored in 2012 and since then is part of the "Cultural and Historical Tour of African Heritage in Brazil", been visited by tourists from around the world. On the street in front of the garden, ancient buildings that by the end of the eighteenth century still harbored slave markets, are felled now to give way to a set of business skyscrapers and museums, according to the urban project “Marvelous Port” of the future Olympic city.

The story of the Garden of Valongo is crossed by many stories of the city of Rio de Janeiro. To reflect the shape of the garden in the form of production of images on it, the video installation investigates the possible similarities and differences between the social and historical context of the creation of the garden in 1906, and its restoration in 2012. Based on it´s current materiality and on the different objects found from it, the video propose in four chapters, a confrontation of different historical times that coexist in the relationship between the garden and its surroundings.

© 2021 Barbara Marcel