Porto Alegre, Brazil / 2016
action, video, floating bench, rope, historic map, 35 min video, 9′ bench, 8″ x 11″ map
A suspended bench gives seated viewers the sensation of floating as they watch the video of the artist walking along a busy street playing the role of a tourist, asking directions from strangers. With a boat intended for a local ritual and a historical map in hand, she persistently asks how to reach the nearby water in a river port city where, in reality, there is no longer public access.
In the ritual, the boat is delivered to the water as an offering to the deity of the sea. Although the city is now cut off from the water by a flood wall and corporate privatization of the water’s edge that is seen as progress by some, the boats for the ritual are still sold in the central market. The artist’s boat, filled with McDonald’s hamburgers, fries and a Coke, is carried as she searches for the water on Rua da Praia. Due to centuries of filling and distancing from the river, “beach street” with once unlimited access to water now runs through developed downtown.This action takes existing elements of the city and rearranges them to call into question the structure of what has come to be accepted as normal by many.