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ON Fusion Art by Porto Bay

Posted by Roberto Macedo Alves on Sep 28, 2008 in Rants

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onbyportobay_2008_bannerNow that the ON Fusion Art by Porto Bay event has finished, I decided to write a little bit about this. I had some time to rest, and think about the importance of what we’ve lived during those days.

For those who don’t know what I am talking about, the ON Fusion Art was an initiative that the Porto Bay group brings to the Zona Velha do Funchal (Old Part of Funchal) during September 12, 13, 14. During those days painting, sculpture, graphic arts, street animation, theatre, music, intervention in old houses and other artistic manifestations get together LIVE in the historical center of the city, near the Porto Santa Maria Hotel.

National and Regional Artists bring their volunteer work to the stage of the ON event, that ends with an auction-dinner-party. The profit from the auction go to two Social Solidarity Institutions: the Association of Cerebral Palsy of Madeira and the Center of São Tiago.

I was fortunate enough to be invited to participate with my humble comic work. And it was an amazing experience, that I just wanted to share with the half-dozen readers this blog has.

In a previous post from this blog (from july 13) I was talking about culture, and about how it was our moral obligation, not only from the Government but also from the Private Corporations to provide opportunities for cultural events:2864121378_f122058046_o

“And how do we grow and take care of our spirit? Not just by learning how to read or write, but learning arts, music, dance, gymnastics, poetry, history. And that education is essential, it provides a framework for beahviour (thinking about a broad definition) in a civilized society – but it is much more than that.

When we grow, we suffer a transformation, in the case of culture, we get more knowledge, learn to appreciate things differently, it increases our choices – and, consequently, our freedom -.

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(…)

But again, back to the growth given by culture (that is hard to explain and quantify) – those first experiments, those first liberating contacts with a new art form, or a new artwork, should be something that must be available to everyone. Access to culture is not just trying to make more people to go to Museums or going to good movies or plays. It shouldn’t be just that. I can’t just take an “uncultured” person to a museum and hope he enjoys what he is seeing. We must be able to give them the means to have an intense experience of increasing their horizons and perspectives, by knowing how to enjoy a piece of art.

We cannot have a cultural policy only destined to “cultured” people, forgetting everyone else. We should think about the masses, those who would have much to learn and grow from these cultural activities”. Not just give books to many people, or make them cheaper or whatever (we have things like Project Gutenberg, with e-books for FREE) – we should strive to make possible that many people can understand WHY they could enjoy a book or a play or a movie or an opera. Like Don Giovanni.

(…)

It should be our moral obligation – not only from the government, but from the private corporations and individual citizens too, to give those learning opportunities. This gives added value to our society, give us more freedom. Culture may open the door to imaginary worlds that enrich our lives. We should not consider ourselves “cultured” because we know lots of facts or plays or musics or operas or books or paintings, but because we should have the power to transform.

We should have the power to bring art pieces and plays and music to more people, to help them how to understand and grow with them. Making sure that new talents are encouraged (in any art form, including the comics medium) to express themselves with passion.

Passion. Passion about something we do to express ourselves.

In a world that is plagued by consumerism, easy fame, banality, futility, to create something out of love of what we do is priceless. And we should help everyone to do that.

To create. To enjoy.

And to grow.”

It was precisely that what the Porto Bay people did with this event. By bringing artists to paint “live” in the streets during those days, they were able to bring culture to the masses, those who are not really used to go to museums and such. There were concerts, painting, sculpture. People got to see the creation of several works of art done “in real time” – an unique experience for most of them. To the artists (and I talk about me, at least), it certainly brought an additional stressful component (because we are painting without a “safety net” and in front of a set of people. And that made this experiencie a little bit scary, but certainly very fun and rewarding!). It was something unforgettable that I would repeat again, whenever necessary.2864117028_dabf473b57_o

It was the ideal setting to demystify the arts and show “regular people” that artistic creation my be exciting, may be effective, may be impressive. It was exactly what I was talking about bringing the arts to the people. The community ended up getting richer from this event.

But there was more.

All the artwork created (tiles, sculptures, paintings, watercolors) were auctioned to the benefit of some charitable organizations, so, there was a material profit, to add to the cultural enrichment experience. It almost seems like a win-win situation.

Some of the most cynical readers can say “yeah, right – it was done taking advantage of the artists!” but this is not true. We were treated like part of a family, like royalty! The organizers of the event were so nice, polite, helpful that I felt all the time I should be thanking them for being a part of this (which I did, repeatedly!).

Being a part of this really made me proud – and I wish the success of the event (I consider it was pretty successful, both in execution and critically) signals future similar events by the Porto Bay group.

This event can show everyone how a Private Corporation can take care of its moral obligation to the cultural development, and organize an event that is cool (so, it was a guarantee of LOTS of young people around), that was socially responsible (helping organizations dedicated to noble causes), and was for the people (and not just the cultural elite). They thanked my for the participation, but definitely, I am the one who should be thanking them. For organizing a cultural event as amazing as I always imagined in theory, good cultural events were supposed to be.

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onbyportobay_2008_bannerAgora que o ON Fusion Art by Porto Bay acabou, decidi escrever um pouco sobre este acontecimento. Já tive algum tempo para descansar, e para pensar na importância daquilo que tivemos a oportunidade de viver durante esses dias de Setembro.

Para aqueles que não sabem de que estou a falar, o ON Fusion Art é a iniciativa que o grupo Porto Bay levou à Zona Velha da cidade do Funchal nos dias 12, 13 e 14 de Setembro. Pintura, escultura, artes gráficas, animação de rua, teatro, música, intervenção em casas antigas, e outras manifestações artísticas juntaram-se ao vivo e a cores durante estes dias no centro histórico da cidade e junto ao Hotel Porto Santa Maria.

Artistas nacionais e regionais levam o seu trabalho voluntário ao palco do ON, que acabará com um jantar-leilão, cujas receitas revertem a favor de duas instituições de solidariedade social da Região: Associação de Paralisia Cerebral da Madeira e Centro de Acolhimento de São Tiago.

Eu fui afortunado o suficiente para ser convidado para participar com o meu humilde trabalho em ilustração de BD com Aguarela. E foi uma experiência incrível, que gostava de partilhar em mais detalhe com a meia-dúzia de leitores que este blogue tem.

Num texto anterior (de 13 de Julho) eu falava sobre cultura, e o facto de divulgá-la ser a nossa obrigação moral, não só por parte das Entidades Governamentais, mas também obrigação dos Grupos Privados fornecer oportunidades para eventos culturais:2864121378_f122058046_o

“E como crescemos e tomamos conta do nosso espírito? Não apenas aprendendo como ler ou escrever, mas descobrindo mais sobre arte, música, dança, ginástica, poesia, história. E esta educação é essencial, fornece um enquadramento para o nosso comportamento (se considerarmos uma definição mais abrangente) numa sociedade civilizada – mas é muito mais do que isso.

Quando crescemos, sofremos uma transformação. No caso da cultura, obtemos mais conhecimento. Aprender a apreciar as coisas de forma diferente, aumenta as nossas escolhas – e, por conseguinte, a nossa liberdade -.

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(…)

No entanto, voltemos ao crescimento que a cultura nos traz (que é difícil de explicar e quantificar) – estes primeiros experimentos, estes primeiros contactos libertadores com uma nova forma de arte, ou uma nova peça de arte, deve ser algo que deveria estar disponível para toda a gente. O acesso à cultura não consiste apenas em fazer que mais pessoas vão aos Museus ou a bons filmes ou a peças de teatro. Não deve ser apenas isso. Eu não posso levar uma pessoa “inculta” a um museu e esperar que consiga desfrutar aquilo que está a ver. Devemos ser capazes de dar-lhes os meios para ter uma experiência intensa de expandir os seus horizontes e perspectivas, aprendendo a apreciar uma obra de arte.

Não podemos ter uma política cultural apenas destinada a “pessoas cultas“, esquecendo-nos de todos os outros. Devemos pensar nas massas, naqueles que teriam muito que aprender e crescer através destas “actividades culturais. Não apenas dar livros a muita gente, ou torná-los apenas mais baratos ou assim (já existem coisas como o Project Gutenberg, com e-books GRÁTIS) – deviamos lutar para que fosse possível que muitas pessoas pudessem perceber PORQUÊ poderiam desfrutar de um livro ou uma peça ou um filme ou uma opera. Como o Don Giovanni.

(…)

Deve ser a nossa obrigação moral – não apenas do Governo, mas das entidades e grupos privados e cidadãos individuais também, de PROVIDENCIAR essas oportunidades de aprendizagem. Isto dá valor acrescentado a nossa sociedade, dá-nos mais liberdade. A Cultura pode abrir a porta a mundos imaginários que enriquece as nossas vidas. Não podemos considerar-nos “cultos” só porque conhecemos montes de factos ou peças ou músicas ou óperas ou livros ou pinturas, devia ser porque temos o poder de transformar.

Nós deviamos ter o poder de trazer as obras de arte as as peças de teatro e as músicas a mais pessoas, para ajudá-las a perceber e crescer com estas. Ter a certeza que novos talentos são encorajados (em qualquer forma de arte, incluindo Banda Desenhada) para que se possam expressar com paixão.

Paixão. Paixão acerca de algo que fazemos para expressar-nos.

Num mundo que está acossado pelo consumismo, a fama fácil, a banalidade, a futilidade, o facto de poder criar algo apenas por amor àquilo que fazemos não tem preço. E deviamos ser capazes de ajudar toda a gente a fazer isso.

Criar. Desfrutar.

E CRESCER.”

E foi precisamente isto que o pessoal do Grupo Porto Bay fez com este evento. Ao trazer artistas para pintar/representar/desenvolver/criar “ao vivo” nas ruas durante estes dias, conseguiram trazer a cultura para as massas, para aqueles que não visitam normalmente museus e actividades semelhantes. Tivemos concertos, pintura, escultura. As pessoas puderam ver a criação de várias obras de arte feitas “em tempo real” – uma experiência única para a maior parte dos visitantes do evento. Para os artistas (e falo por mim, pelo menos), trouxe certamente um componente adicional de “stress” (pois estamos a pintar “sem rede” e frente a um conjunto de pessoas, o que tornou a experiência talvez um pouco mais assustadora, mas certamente, muito divertida e enriquecedora!). Foi algo inesquecível que eu repetiria novamente, sempre que fosse necessário.2864117028_dabf473b57_o

Foi o ambiente ideal para desmistificar as artes e mostrar ao “povo normal” que o acto da criação artística pode ser algo excitante, pode ser algo efectivo, pode ser algo impressionante. Era exactamente isso ao que me referia quando falava em aproximar as artes ao povo. A comunidade acabou por ficar enriquecida devido aos frutos deste evento.

Mas tivemos muitos mais frutos.

Todas as obras de arte criadas (azulejos, esculturas, pinturas, aguarelas) foram leiloadas para o benefício de algumas instituições, por isso, houve também um lucro material, a adicionar ao enriquecimento cultural. Quase parece uma situação onde todos ganham.

Alguns dos leitores mais cínicos poderão dizer “sim, caro – mas foi feito aproveitando-se dos artistas!” mas não seria verdade. Nós fomos tratados como parte de uma família, quase como parte da Família Real! Os organizadores do evento, os voluntários, todos os envolvidos foram tão agradáveis, educados, prestáveis, a um nível tal que eu sentia a vontade de agradecer-lhes constantemente o facto de fazer parte de tal evento (coisa que eu fiz de facto, repetidamente!).

Fazer parte disto, realmente deixou-me orgulhoso – e eu desejo que o sucesso deste evento (que eu penso que foi bastante bem sucedido, em termos de execução e crítica) assinale futuros eventos semelhantes deste grupo de amigos.

Este evento serviu para demonstrar a toda a gente como uma Empresa Privada pode concretizar a sua obrigação moral com o desenvolvimento cultural, e organizar um evento que foi “cool” (por isso, garantiu que MONTES de jovens estivessem presentes), que foi socialmente responsável (ajudando organizações dedicadas a causas nobres), e foi para o povo (e não apenas para as elites culturais). Eles agradeceram-me pela minha participação, mas definitivamente, sou eu quem devia agradecer-lhes. Por organizar um evento cultural tão maravilhoso como eu imaginei na teoria que eventos culturais independentes deveriam ser.

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Sardines

Posted by Roberto Macedo Alves on Sep 5, 2008 in Polysyllabic Spree, Rants

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I’ve not been showing new drawings recently because there is a problem with my scanner. Or an incompatibility between my scanner and my new Mac. You choose.While I don’t get a new scanner, you will have to enjoy (or endure) my witty remarks about stuff I’ve read.
Today we were eating sardines, and I remembered something I read (I don’t really remember where, it was just drifting in my brain) about a medicine manual from the 1700s written by Fonseca Henriques, personal physician of King João V of Portugal.url
Why the sardines reminded me of the medicine manual? Because the book had an eerie reference to the fish. Or the head of the fish, actually.So, while the Mafra Convent was being built, and King João V suffered of constipation (apparently) – this illustrious physician was writing on this medical manual relevant information about the importance, advantages and disadvantages of sardines. Right after the nutritional part, he says that the head of the sardine, used as a suppositorius (suppository) was very effective in getting rid of excrements in cases of constipation.
I don’t even want to think how Fonseca Henriques tested that treatment. Or how often King João suffered of constipation.
I prefer to think about the 1700s as a time of powdered wigs and baroque music. And then, in the 1800s came the leeches and the mercury as medical treatments.
No wonder Herbert George Wells said:
The world is undergoing immense changes. Never before have the conditions of life changed so swiftly and enormously as they have changed for mankind in the last fifty years. We have been carried along – with no means of measuring the increasing swiftness in the succession of events. We are only now beginning to realize the force and strength of the storm of change that has come upon us.
And now that we look back, he was ABSOLUTELY right.

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Recentemente, não ando a apresentar novos desenhos porque há um problema com o meu scanner. Ou uma incompatibilidade entre o meu scanner e o meu novo Mac. O leitor que escolha. Enquanto eu não arranjo um novo scanner, vão ter que saborear (ou suportar) os meus comentários espirituosos acerca das coisas que ocasionalmente leio.
Hoje estávamos a comer sardinhas, e me lembrei de algo que tinha lido. Não me lembro exactamente onde, devia ser algo que tinha a flutuar na minha mente) acerca de um manual de medicina de 1700s escrito por Fonseca Henriques, médico pessoal do Rei João V de Portugal.url

Mas porque as sardinhas fizeram que eu me lembrasse de um manual de medicina? Porque o referido livro tinha uma estranha referência a este peixe. Ou melhor, à cabeça do peixe. Assim, enquanto o Convento de Mafra estava a ser construído, e o Rei D. João V sofria de prisão de ventre (aparentemente) – este ilustre médico escrevia no seu manual de medicina informações relevantes sobre a importância, vantagens e desvantagens das sardinhas. Logo depois de falar da parte nutritiva do peixinho, ele diz que a cabeça da sardinha, usada como suppositorius (supositório) era muito eficiente para ajudar o processo de defecação em casos de prisão de ventre.
Eu não quero nem pensar como é que o Fonseca Henriques testou este tratamento. Ou com quanta frequência o Rei D. João sofreu de prisão de ventre.
Prefiro pensar nos 1700s como uma época de perucas empoadas e música barroca. Claro que depois, nos 1800s vieram as sanguessugas e o mercúrio como tratamentos médicos.

Realmente, não me estranha que Herbert George Wells tivesse dito que:
“O mundo está a atravessar mudanças imensas. Nunca antes as condições de vida mudaram tão rapidamente como mudaram para a humanidade nos últimos cinquenta anos. Nós fomos carregados – sem forma de medir a rapidez da sucesão de eventos. Só agora começamos a tomar consciência da força da tempestade de mudança que se abateu sobre nós.
E agora que olhamos para trás, ele estava ABSOLUTAMENTE certo.

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Brave new World vs 1984 according to Neil Postman

Posted by Roberto Macedo Alves on Sep 4, 2008 in Polysyllabic Spree, Rants

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Today I am feeling too tired to blog about anything… so, I am going to quote.

And the quote comes from the foreword of Neil Postman‘s book “Amusing Ourselves to Death“:

“Neil Postman contrasts the world of George Orwell’s 1984 and [Aldous Huxley's] Brave New World: “What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we

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would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny “failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.” In 1984, Orwell added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us” (Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death, 1986, foreword).”

Quoted from the Perichoresis Blog

And now I wonder if we are not just getting dangerously close to Huxley’s fears… Or maybe I am just feeling pessimistic today.

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Back to Generation X: Tales for an accelerated culture

Posted by Roberto Macedo Alves on Aug 30, 2008 in Polysyllabic Spree, Rants

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Sometimes I enter a meditative state, and go to reread books I’ve already read, and are underlined, scribbled and dog-eared.

This time, the book revisited was (again) Douglas Coupland’s “Generation X: Tales for an accelerated culture”

GenerationXAnd even if the book is pretty plotless, the characters are interesting and sort of likeable, despite the apparent vacuity of them.

Suddenly, in this book, Elvissa (one of the characters) asks to Tobias (the yuppie) something that left me thinking:

“When you die and get buried and get to be floating wherever you go, what is going to be your best memory from Earth?”

Tobias, doesn’t understand, and Elvissa elaborates:

“What is the moment that for you defines what is to be alive in this planet? what do you want to take with you from here?”

Yet, the yuppie doesn’t understand. Elvissa continues:

“I want to hear about a tiny moment of your life that proves that you are really alive”

And that is really an AMAZING question.

I thought about that, and curiously, I couldn’t find a definite answer. There are several wonderful moments that I can consider my best memory from Earth. All of them too private to be shared here. But it was an amazing question, nonetheless.

And you, what is the moment that for you defines what is to be alive on this planet?

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Out of Sync with the Universe

Posted by Roberto Macedo Alves on Jul 16, 2008 in Polysyllabic Spree, Rants

Today, I am feeling out of sync with the Universe.

I wonder if it is my fault. Or the Universe’s. I asked, but the Universe didn’t answer back.

When that happens, I think of Borges.

Jorge Luis Borges, that is.

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Each man is Every Men, each time is The Time. Infinite series of Divergent times, Convergent times, Parallel times. Crossing, ignoring and embracing all possibilities. Are we pieces of a Superior play, ignoring how the game will end, ignoring motivations, ignoring possibilities?

God moves the Player, that moves the Pawn in the present. But what is the present? A little bit of past and a little bit of future.

What if he is right? What if everything is written in some secret place of our existence – someplace undecipherable. Someplace unreachable. What if every coincidence was scheduled?

Maybe you are typing on IRC and when starting a pointless conversation with someone with a cute nickname, you discover your soulmate. Reality and fiction mix, bringing color to those moments in our lives. And something that just seemed innocuous, end up as the most important moment in your life. We look back and we don’t know if we are asleep or awake. Nice, fleeting moments. Was the past really the past? Some good moments look like a dream. But embracing dreams is not bad. When we know if we are asleep or awake and we open a door to new, exciting possibilities. Going abroad, changing life. Embracing change. Adventuring. Is it a conscious choice? What happens if we just go through the motions? Why the paradigm shift? Would that door be the correct one?

But, who knows, Maybe Borges is right and we don’t choose the door,

but

the

door

chooses

us.

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The purpose of this blog … and the internet grey matter

Posted by Roberto Macedo Alves on Jul 10, 2008 in Rants

For a while, things have been silent around here.

I guess I started to think about this blog, about its purpose and contents. Asking myself “Is this really relevant?“, “Am I contributing to the internet grey matter?” “Creating useful, valuable Fotografia 59.jpgcontent (as I remember Colleen Doran and Warren Ellis mentioning on their blogs some time ago)?”

Probably not.

So, I sat, thinking about the main reason of existence of this blog, that had deviated from its original purpose. Initially it intended to be a sketch blog, then, some rants and quotes and diverse texts started: some book commentaries, some links and stuff I found on the internet and suddenly, it was just a pointless mess, quoting from books and quoting from sites – and showing some drawings from time to time. Most of the posts except the one regarding my father – were not really that interesting, now that I reread them.

What were the drawings for? Showing off? Bah.

There was nothing really to show off. Most of this stuff is amateurish and part of my process of learning how to draw. Being an “internet curator” (not even a good one) and quoting and showing stuff I like is not really “original content” – it is sort of pointless, actually. Shouldn’t I be trying to do something more productive with my valuable time? it is my most precious resource, after all.

No duh.

So, yet again, I decided to try something different. Yay! Let’s change direction in the middle of the trip (it was wandering without a specific destination, anyway) – so, I decided to stop and think about an objective, a guideline for this blog. After all, if this is being written for the internet, shouldn’t it have some relevant content and some reason behind it – just more than the eventual ranting thing. Something that could help someone who accidentally stumbles on its content?

So, right now, I have a concern, a purpose, an objective. Something that can be used as a guideline for the future posts of this blog: my attempts to learn now to draw. And paint. Properly. After all, how many people are out there curious about strategies and techniques and tricks and the painful learning process of trying to improve one’s drawings. Maybe that could be the direction this blog was needing.

Because practice is not enough. It was a hard, self-taught lesson.

Not even close to enough.

Practice with a method, with orientation. Maybe that’s it.

So, from now on, let’s see what happens.

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