06 August 2006

"Long before Brazil was a country, it was a color."

David Levi Strauss offers that reminder in an essay on Brazilian photographer Miguel Rio Branco. Can a country be a color - or the reverse? (This extends the issue I raised in my post yesterday about how we conceptualize a region.) Here are a few of Rio Branco's images:

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil—Dancing to the rhythm of bossa nova at
Copacabana Beach, 1989. © Miguel Rio Branco/Magnum Photos

LUZIANIA, Brazil—1974. © Miguel Rio Branco / Magnum Photos

BRAZIL—1992. © Miguel Rio Branco/Magnum Photos

Levi Strauss continues: "Medieval European painters used the rich red dye made from brazilwood (Caeslpina) to obtain transparent reds in dark passages, and the rose to purplish-pink inks used in Italian Renaissance drawings were mostly made from brazil. Rio Branco's Brazil is constituted primarily of color . . . These colors are carnal, in a way that makes everything seem alive, or once alive."

The pressing question for me at the moment (well beyond the issue I raised above) is whether it is possible to resuscitate what once was alive. Is it?

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow - I want to say I think these images are incedibly cool - it seems apt, but given the color and energy perhaps less than fitting. I like them a great deal. If I had not seen the images I would have depicted Brazil as yellow, not sure why - I like the notion of a country as a color, and in these shots I think you can also hear the rhythm too.
I am not sure I have a good response to your question though - to be resuscitated is "to be restored to life or consciousness", I suppose an immediate question would be can things ever be the same, what kind of consciousness? Perhaps things are not better or worse just different after resuscitation? I am unsure.
One final thought - the sense of resuscitation with respect to the color is interesting. It seems to me it means that the life and energy of a beautiful thing goes on to create others - that is a pleasant thought, it still exists even if it is not present in its original form. I am not sure I am making sense so will stop there.

06 August, 2006 22:31  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

These images remind me of Wong Kar Wai's films. Especially his masterpiece "Happy Together." Thanks!

06 August, 2006 23:29  

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