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The Beach and the Time


Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

October 2018


Pedro Varella


Caio Calafate, André Cavendish, Isadora Tebaldi, Julia Carreiro, Julie Despraires


Marcia Dias


Rafael Salim and Elisa Mendes


The work is organized by two autochthonous operations - demarcation and soil manipulation –that combined generate a scenario that gradually changes over time, until its disappearance.
DEMARCATION consists of the insertion of a large 31x31m and 50 cm high quadrilateral structure that defines the work area. Created by the assemblage of pre-fab spatial beans normally used for short term events like concerts or sports facilities, this structure was placed directly on the sandy soil, with no foundations. The structure serve both as a dynamic border for the intervention zone – bench, table, step, bridge - and as a device that will welcome the public at the moments in which the performance take place, generating an 1000m2 open-air arena on the sands of Copacabana.
The SOIL MANIPULATION - a technique widely used in Rio de Janeiro to enable the occupation of its territory - served as the second act of the work. Matter already present in space – sand and water – was repositioned, radically modifying the current spatial configuration. The soil movement work was carried out with the aid of a small backhoe. At the center of the intervention area, a hole of approximately 5 meters deep was dug. The depth was enough to form a small salt water pool, linking the structure with the sea.


The metropolitan beach of Copacabana is a place for leisure, work, encounters, conflicts, sexuality, repression, sleep, sun, reading, games and more. Territory of instability, transformation and uncertainty. It teaches about freedom of choice, about the overlapping of possibilities, the relationship with the weather, with the day and with the night, a way of being and ceasing to be. The beach makes you think about the time.
The fine sand soil forms and deforms according to desires. The day passes, the wind and the tide, so that at dawn the territory becomes available again, open to what will come. The beach has a short memory. Its marks are brief traces of those who passed through there. The passerby manufactures for himself an ever-unprecedented script. One person or several? The crossing of footprints confuses us. Hypotheses that occupy the imagination and defy the predictions.


“A PRAIA E O TEMPO” was designed in the context of the ninth edition of the international festival of performing arts – TEMPO FESTIVAL, held in October 2018, on Copacabana beach, Rio de Janeiro. The project, public and ephemeral, was conceived as a public architectural installation and at the same time as a platform for collaboration with French choreographer Julie Despraires, who presented a performance in interaction with the installation. The spatial alterations carried out during the exhibition period were the result of human actions, the daily life of the beach, appropriations by the visitors of the Copacabana boardwalk or simply resulting from the action of the weather: rain, wind, sun.
At the end of the festival, the structure was dismantled and the place where it was installed became available again for any type of appropriation. The central hole was covered and the sand returned to its previous state. The metallic structure that served as demarcation was dismantled and its parts were transported to other locations to be reused. The architecture disappeared without leaving any material traces.

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