Monday, July 13, 2009

'Cheiro de Gaz'

A new video installation by Haas&Hahn for the Brazil Contemporary Festival 2009 in Rotterdam.

Hahn and I took the 75 combi to and from our work in Vila Cruzeiro practically every day. The 75 is one of very many informal bus routes in Rio de Janeiro. When driving through the city one sees thousands of old T2 volkswagen vans, mostly white, transporting people to all parts of the city, using loudspeakers attached to small sampling machines to announce the destinations. Here's a clip from Vila Cruzeiro during an army occupation where you can get an idea of the amount of combi's in service.

Hahn and I became slightly obsessed with the 75 line. Enough for us to recreate a 1973 T2 bus in original 75 style, complete with original stickers and a sampler, or 'buzinha, that we had our best friend Pit buy in Penha at 'So Buzinhas'. Penha by the way is the area in which Vila Cruzeiro is situated, which, by the way, is where we painted both paintings of the Favela Painting project.

When we were not being driven around in the 75 combi's, Pit would drive us around in his souped up Fiat, of which he is so fond that he named it 'Pit', like himself. Souped up in Pit's case means a lot of stickers of Tuning brands and Jiu Jitsu logo's, and a very nice stereo system.

Pit used to be a feared Jiu Jitsu champion and even though he's the nicest guy in the world, a great cook and connaisseur of the healing powers of local herbs and plants, people know better than to mess with him because he still looks very dangerous with scars all over his face resulting from when he once fell asleep behind the wheel in Penha. Still, I hope I never get to see Pit's old fighting self resurface if anyone ever messes with him. Watch him demonstrate.

Whenever Pit gets in his car he complains about a 'cheiro de gaz', which means the smell of gas or gasoline. We called our video installation 'Cheiro de Gaz' in honour of our good friend Pit and his car.

When recreating the 75 combi we couldn't stop at the stickers and 'buzinha'. We felt the combi had to convey the street life of Rio, it's favela's and the people. We converted two side windows and a big screen behind the driver into projection screens on which we show a selection of film material we shot over the years of doing projects in the favela's of Rio. 'Cheiro de Gaz' shows us what a 75 combi sees while doing its work on its route through Penha. Impressions, stories and music.

'Cheiro de Gaz' is being shown on different locations Rotterdam during the Brazil Contemporary Festival in Rotterdam alongside exhibitions at the NAI, Boijmans Museum of Modern Art and the Photo Museum.

After that 'Cheiro de Gaz' will remain on duty on the 75 line to promote the next Favela Painting project by Haas&Hahn named 'O Morro'. A whole hillside favela painted by the proper owners of the houses. A project we expect to result in the greatest community driven artwork of our time.

'Cheiro de Gaz'
Soundsystem: by Morel Hi Fi, Israel
Video installation: Beamsystems
Projection Foil: Glimm Screens
Sampler: So Buzinas in Penha, Rio
Management: Mothership / ZoekDekking
Many thanks to: Rotterdam Festivals, Tjimme Ruyter, Floppy-D, Valter 'Pit' Filho
and ofcourse all drivers of the 75 combi line in Penha!

Favela Painting is a Firmeza Foundation project.