architecture · community · creativity · culture

In Gritty Sao Paulo, Artists Take To The Streets : NPR

A great example of actively adding art in urban settings in order to create enrichment for its inhabitants:

Urban landscapes have always inspired art, and Brazil is no exception. A new crop of artists like Matos not only is taking inspiration from Sao Paulo‘s streets but also is trying to give something back.

Matos covers trees and street poles with woolen sleeves and small, colorful pompoms. Her works look like whimsical webs of rainbow yarn; the effect is surprising and oddly comforting.

“I want people to have something familiar in the city. Here in Brazil we teach knitting from mother to daughter,” Matos says. “When they see my art, they suddenly feel comfortable walking these cold streets. And you can feel better.”

The newest and the biggest urban art project here is called , and it has an impressive list of corporate sponsors. The idea is to connect graffiti artists with individuals or business owners who have a wall they want covered with original art.

Artist Guilherme Matsumoto says he saw the website and signed up to say he was available to paint a space. Walter Orsati, owner of the Purple House Hostel, responded.

It was that easy, they say.

via In Gritty Sao Paulo, Artists Take To The Streets : NPR.

anthropology · creativity · environment · happiness · Nature

In Love With My Planet –

Happy Earth Day!

In honor of celebrating the best, prettiest, largest playful space out there – Earth – some beautiful photos showing off the planet in all its natural glory.

Sebastião Salgado, one of the world’s most admired photojournalists, has spent a lifetime relentlessly training his eye on human degradation and suffering. His photographs, though beautiful, are often full of despair. Mr. Salgado’s new work, “Genesis,” is a testament to something altogether different: the joy, innocence and repose in earth’s Edenic corners.

croc 1

croc 2

croc 3

more via In Love With My Planet –

community · creativity

Playgrounds made from junk | KaBOOM!

Recycle, reuse, replay!

Playgrounds made from junk | KaBOOM!

Plastic bottles, car parts, shipping containers, steel drums, and tires.

No, we’re not describing a junkyard — we’re describing a potential playground. Recycled playground structures combine ingenuity, whimsy, and thrift to create spaces that are friendly to our kids and our planet alike.From Brazil to Norway to Uganda, these playgrounds are true gems, even if they’re made from junk; more via Playgrounds made from junk | KaBOOM!.

anthropology · architecture · community · design · environment

Does adding art to slums improve poor’s quality of life?

I saw this article last week on Recycle Art, about a design company in Brazil that does outreach to poor communities by creating more aesthetically pleasing surroundings:

Brazilian design studio Rosenbaum and TV show Caldeirao do Huck help poor families to redecorate their homes and improve their surroundings, in the hope that they feel more comfortable and happier at home.

++ Do the green thing

See more at Plastic bottles garden | Recycle Art

I’m pleasantly surprised by this philosophy. And apparently this idea is starting to pick up steam.  The New York Times just published an article (also below) about a design show being presented at the United Nations right now focusing on design for third-world countries, trying to create effective, efficient, and hopefully beautiful tools, boats, and buildings.

I’m curious, however, if designing a new space or adding beauty to an already existing slum really works. Does having a more beautiful environment make you want to protect it and invest in it? Even the curators of the exhibit in the New York Times article state that building something new and getting people to adopt it are two entirely different challenges.

I know having a greener work space is correlated with better worker productivity, and many communities in the U.S. have installed public gardens or parks with some success regarding improved community involvement and improved outlook of the neighborhood. The groups featured in the exhibit claim successes all over the world. However, somewhat similar experiments have been tried out with movie stars and athletes installing movie theaters or centers in poor neighborhoods with mixed success with mixed results, as I remember.

I would be interested in seeing more studies that looked at parks or even residential gardens and patios correlated with crime rate, income, and so on.

Anecdotally, have you seen or know of anyone who has seen a correlation between greening or beautifying a space and better sociological stats?


Heat-seeking the Lost Tribes

I’m back, with a complaint. Not exactly “with a vengeance,” more like Andy Rooney on 60 Minutes.

By now most people are probably aware of the “Lost Tribes” of Brazil, groups of indigenous peoples hiding out in the Amazon doing their best to NOT make contact with us weirdos. They even threw spears at a plane that buzzed overhead trying to take their pictures.

So now, instead of putting aerial photographers in vague danger, scientists have now begun to use heat-sensing/infrared technologies to follow the tribes through the jungle, calling it a less invasive technique.

If anything, I think tracking people with heat-sensors is even more invasive than with photographs. At least with aerial photography they know when we’re researching them. These groups have obviously expressed that they don’t want to be studied, let alone approached, or buzzed over by aircraft. Why do these people need to be studied and tracked in the first place? I find it very ethnocentric to think that our “need to know” outweighs their right to privacy.


Brazil releases photos of "uncontacted" groups to try and discourage contact

This quarter at school has been really full and I haven’t been as diligent a reporter as I’d like to be. But, this one was staring me in the face and I couldn’t say no.

The Brazilian government has released photos of a few of the estimated 68 “uncontacted” tribes — although the term should be “bad idea to contact” tribes because they try to kill us if we come too close — in hopes of making their plight well-known and encourage people to keep their distance.

My first thought was: if you’re trying to be respectful and keep them isolated, then what are you doing flying over taking pictures!?