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Brazilian Artists Address Global Issues In A Series Of Installations

Gisela Motta and Leandro Lima tackle climate change, displaced indigenous tribes and animals of the Amazon, and war in a series of thought-provoking works.
September 22, 2011, 5:15pm

If there is one social theme that continues to gain prominence, especially as the seasons change, it’s definitely the issue of climate change. We’ve all mostly come to terms with it—from freak tsunamis to melting glaciers to the virtual disappearance of seasons—the signs are getting harder and harder to ignore. And while news reports, academic papers and scientific studies help inform us of the changes taking place in our environment and the looming dangers our warming planet heeds, we’ve seen time and time again that artists are creating some of the most poignant and resonant reality checks addressing this issue.

Brazilian artists Gisela Motta and Leandro Lima are using lo-fi technology and fluorescent lights to craft their own environmental expose in Zero Hidrográfico. The artists seek a more accurate understanding of the natural phenomenon that is weather, and the title refers to the international benchmark for measuring the depths of the ocean. As the artists explain: “The shift of water levels in our oceans is one of the main problems related to high temperatures on our planet.” In this case, the installation doesn't show the actual displacement of seawater, but rather its serenity points to the erratic reality.

Zero Hidrográfico (2010)

The installation is placed high above the ground, to maximize the relationship with depth. The surface of the sea is represented by movements that simulate waves, made possible by 36 motorized mechanisms. Fluorescent blue lamps engulf patrons into the work, as if suspended in deep, dark ocean waters.

Plan “Y” (2008-2010)

But climate change isn’t the only issue on the duo’s mind. Another piece, called Plan “Y”, addresses the 1984 inspired quandary of fighting a senseless war to keep the masses complacent, constantly searching for an opponent regardless of cause.

Amoahiki (2008)

The increasingly compromised lifestyles of indigenous rainforest tribes and animals were also investigated in the work Amoahiki. The video, projected onto a screen made from multiple layers of fabric, features overlaid images of a utopian rainforest and its inhabitants on top of the landscape. Much like in Zero Hidrográfico, this piece’s inherent optimism expresses what else is affected through deforestation.

Amoahiki is currently on view in Paço das Artes, São Paulo, as part of the exhibition Assim É Se Lhe Parece_, which seeks to relate art to contemporary issues._