Video Installation, 11 min

After a two-month journey through the Brazilian Amazon, Fernando Arias travelled to Dakar (Senegal) to realise a project for Afropixel#4 with the theme ‘Gardens of Resistance’.

Arias links the two experiences in a two-screen video projection. The work emerges from an interesting environmental phenomenon that Arias discovered whilst travelling through the Amazon and that links Africa with South America. ‘About 40 million tons of dust are transported annually from the Sahara to the Amazon basin. Saharan dust has been suggested as the main mineral source that fertilises the Amazon basin, generating a dependence of the health and productivity of the rainforest on dust supplied by the Sahara’ *

Both scientific and poetic, this phenomenon inspired Fernando to create an astonishing and confrontational account of his experience in Dakar. As with his past work, Arias uses subtle and direct metaphors to remind us of our human condition and its collective blindness to certain problematics.

Here we witness a dantesque vision of the relationship between humans and the planet. We see women franticly watering rubbish with empty buckets, which are eventually buried by the desert dust. But we also see the beauty of nature, electrical wood cutter sand the sounds of the forest mixed randomly with religious chants that rise to an intolerable, suffocating and oppressive volume. As in our daily lives, we see madness within civilisation and a surreal conclusion which reflects the contemporary world we inhabit.

For how much longer can you resist?

As a response to the concept of Gardens of Resistance, Arias’s initial idea was to install a major neon sign with the word RESIST onto an existing metal structure at the roof of public building. Originally built for the use of advertising, the structure was never finished and became the cause of constant disputes between the surrounding inhabitants. After some research into how to proceed to get the rather bureaucratic permits to realize this ambitious project, the possibility of achieving it became remote. The idea was printed on a postcard as an invitation to respond to the question For how much longer can you resist?

Behind the scenes

After a filming session with girls from the Centre de Promotion et de Réinsertion Sociale, Fernando asked them to collect an item of rubbish that they liked. They then drew it on a piece of fabric and embroidered.

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