Inventory/Invention with Cata-Encontros [Encounter Collector] by Ernesto Neto (2013). International Encounter Care as Method # 2, Saracura, Rio de Janeiro, September 29th, 2017. Photo: author unknown.

Brazil and Scotland: Weaving Care as a Method

Alison Stirling, Kate Gray, Izabela Pucu and Jessica Gogan

This special 5th issue of Revista MESA Care as Method brings together multiple voices, practices and experiences to reflect on care: as a site of micropolitical action, artmaking and social reproduction. We are vested in a notion of care that thinks about and co-moves with the other that is, acts with, affectively and collectively. However, such possibilities have often been lost (or distorted) via the various uses or misuses of the word “care” in at times dismissive and authoritarian discourse. Drawing on this complexity as well as the potential of care practices in different socio-cultural contexts, this magazine is the result of three years of cross-cultural dialogue between Brazil and Scotland and aims to explore and understand how care can be mobilized as a method within contemporaneity and diverse forms of art practice.

With the collaboration of more than ninety people, across continents and divergent socio-cultural contexts and territories, MESA # 5 examines the possibilities of encounters that create affective relationships, embrace differences, and open up to new forms of communication. Principally informed by the International Encounter Care as Method # 2 that took place in Rio de Janeiro in September and October 2017, this special issue is a culmination of several years of dialogue. Building on the debates, site visits, performances, and festivities of Care as Method # 2, this issue both provides a platform to deepen those discussions and to register the work of individuals, institutions and groups in Scotland and the work of the Art_Care project in Rio de Janeiro. The diversity and generative resonance of this international network of collaboration is reflected in this issue’s rich array of case studies (brought together for the first time in this publication), think piece, dialogues, interventions, as well as videos, articles and essays.

Our editorial focus has been to support opportunities, individually and collectively, to reflect on the nature of care practices in diverse contexts both within their territorial specificities and beyond them by facilitating and strengthening cross-institutional discussions and nurturing an international network – one woven by many hands.

A Brief History

Care as Method began as a collaborative Initiative in 2015 coordinated by the Centro Municipal de Arte Hélio Oiticica (CMAHO) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Artlink and Collective in Edinburgh, represented respectively by Izabela Pucu (curator and CMAHO director 2013-2016) and, Alison Stirling (artistic director of Artlink 1996-present) and Kate Gray (director of Collective 2009-present). With support from the British Council and Creative Scotland and the Municipal Culture Department of Rio de Janeiro, as well as diverse host institutions, we sought to gain some critical and experiential understanding of art practices within different health and psychiatric institutions via talks, seminars and site visits held in both countries. In 2016 Instituto MESA joined the coordination of the project, via its director Jessica Gogan, who also participated in the project meetings in Scotland in 2015 (coincidently at the time on an art writing residency grant supported by Edinburgh College of Art).

Motivated by the catalyst of the Scottish partners’ visit to Brazil, a series of encounters followed their departure, giving rise to the Art_Care project which, through a number of debates and seminars, sought to continue the dialogue that had been sparked in 2015. Throughout 2016 people from different areas joined the group, which broadened the scope of the discussions, initially focusing on the relations between art and clinical practices, to encompass human rights, environmental and community struggles, among other movements. These discussions culminated in the first encounter Care as a Method # 1 held at CMAHO in December 2016 and a preliminary version of the video Care as Method, directed by Jessica Gogan and Daniel Leão, comprising brief statements by artists, therapists, researchers, and health agents supported in part by funds from CMAHO. Presented in draft form at the 2016 meeting, a special edition of the video was commissioned at the invitation of curator and psychoanalyst Tania Rivera for her exhibition Lugares do delírio [Places of Delirium] held at the Museum of Art of Rio de Janeiro (MAR) in 2017.  For this issue of Revista MESA the video has been re-edited comprising a compilation of more than 40 statements in a 1 hour and 30 minutes archival documentary.

While the Art_Care project was being fomented in Rio, in Edinburgh, the collaboration between Artlink and Collective mobilized different study groups. Artlink and Collective had come together through the experience of their initial research trip to Brazil. Over the years they had a shared histories of working together and a deep commitment to following artists’ ideas and using art as a tool to foster mutuality between artists and others but, as organizations and individuals, had differing perspectives on care and its meaning in relation to the different people they work with. As a means of exploring these parallels and differences two study groups were organized. The first was linked to the research of Artlink in collaboration with Dundee University focused on discussing the impact of contemporary arts practices on people with complex learning difficulties. The second, the Social Reproduction Reading Group, was facilitated by Collective and the critic/academic Kirsten Lloyd, with the goal of addressing issues of social reproduction, a term deployed in feminist thought that emerged in the 1970s to describe the reproduction of daily life and the labor force under capitalism. Such labor has historically been excluded from analyses of the productive economy and wage systems. Collective continues to host this reading group together with Lloyd. Seeking to expand an understanding of what social reproduction encompasses today and ask how it is negotiated in the art field, the group’s explorations began with Silvia Federici’s Wages Against Housework (1975) and has, in turn, spanned issues of queer futures, sex work and witchcraft.

In this way the notion of Care as Method created a collective platform for multiple conversations both in Edinburgh and Rio de Janeiro, enabling the examination of a wide range of care practices at the interface of contemporary art, mental health, citizenship, environmental action, and community contexts. Gathering around the idea of ​​care as a method; artists, researchers, therapists, curators, doctors and different groups and institutions were able to explore and reflect on art as a practice of care and as a potential social force to mobilize alternative political and affective relations as a means to work toward constituting more egalitarian territories and societies.

In 2017, the respective dialogues in Scotland and Brazil were further catalyzed by the potential of a new exchange initiative and the edition of a special issue of Revista MESA supported in part by a British Council and Creative Scotland grant. After months of planning the International Encounter Care as method # 2, took place in Rio de Janeiro from September 26th to October 6th of 2017. The encounter was especially possible thanks to the fundamental involvement of diverse organizations and more than forty people involved in the Art_Care project in Rio de Janeiro, who generously engaged, contributed and invested their time and energy in each of the activities.  Their commitment has also been key to making this issue of MESA possible.

Who’s Involved

Participants in Scotland included; Edinburgh University, Edinburgh College, Shona Macnaughton, Petra Bauer, Claire Barclay, James McLardy, Kevin Hutchineson, Kevin McPhee, Laura Spring, Trevor Cromie, Anne Elliot, Francescca Nobolluchi, Steve Hollingsworth, Laura Aldridge, Wendy Jacob, Kirsten Lloyd and many others who are represented in this edition of MESA as well as those who are not. Out of this group five artists who work (or had worked) with Artlink and Collective travelled to Rio de Janeiro for the intense ten-day program of Care as Method # 2: Shona Macnaughton, James Bell, Claire Barclay, Laura Spring and Wendy Jacob. Their contributions and reflections on their work and practice and their experience in Rio is richly represented in this special issue.

Among the projects and institutions involved in the first encounters facilitated by CMAHO sparked by the visit of Collective and Artlink to Brazil in 2015 were: artists and curators participating in a residency project at the Heloneida Studart Women’s Hospital, part of the Art, Women and Society project coordinated by Tania Rivera and medical director Ana Teresa Derraik. This experimental project engaged both professors and students from the Postgraduate Program in Contemporary Studies of the Arts at the Universidade Federal Fluminense (UFF) where Rivera also teaches and resulted in the exhibition Nos limites do corpo [At the Limits of the Body]. Also included in that first visit were different groups working at the psychiatric center Instituto Municipal Nise da Silveira: such as the collective Norte Comum with performance events Sarau Tropicaus and their residence in the Hotel de Loucura [Madness Hotel] a project of Victor Pordeus; the Museum of Images of the Unconscious, coordinated by Gladys Schincariol; Art, Body, Subjectivity project, coordinated by psychologist Gina Ferreira; Bloco Carnivalesco Loucura Suburbana [Suburban Madness], coordinated by Ariadne de Moura Mendes and Abel Luiz, and Espaço Aberto ao Tempo [Space Open to Time] coordinated by Lula Wanderley. Their visit also included meetings with artists and administrators affiliated with Bispo do Rosário Museum of Contemporary Art and the collective studio Atelier Gaia, located in the mental health complex known as Colônia Juliano Moreira. Key staff members were director Raquel Fernandes, curator Ricardo Resende and at the time education manager Bianca Bernado, a position assumed in 2017 by Diana Kolker who accompanied all the activities of the International Care as Method # 2 encounter. In 2016 Luiz Guilherme Vergara then director of Museum of Contemporary Art of Niterói and Josemais Moreira Filho, co-coordinator of art, culture and citizenship of Macquinho Urban Digital Platform, a community cultural center in a favela next to the museum. CMAHO continued to play an important role and supported and hosted most of the encounters of the Art_Care project until the end of 2016.

Most of these people, groups and institutions continued their participation in the Art_Care project in 2017, fully engaging in the International Encounter Care as Method # 2. New participants included additional representatives from Macquinho, as well as Josemais, Elielton Rocha and William Moreira. Others include: Ana Kemper, Angela Carneiro, Emília Miterofe, Magda Chagas, Mário Chagas, Tânia Marins, Thelma Vilas Boas, and Túlio Franco, who among others facilitated the support of institutions such as the UFF Graduate Program in Public Health and the Family Medical Program of Niterói; psychologist and Federal University of Rio de Janeiro professor Virginia Kastrup also participated in various initiatives of the Art_Care project; the group TRANS coordinated by UFF professor of psychology Eduardo Passos and the human rights activist Noelle Resende, another network interested in sharing methods and exploring questions of care, were invited to contribute to the Glossary that accompanies this issue of MESA. With contributions from almost twenty people, the Glossary offers a range of critical terms and vocabulary to explore the idea of ​​care as a method.

As a result of these diverse encounters and multiple voices, we can truly say that the very fabric of this issue is in itself an exercise of care as a method.  As a collaborative initiative of both research and publication, our interest has been to use the magazine as a tool and a platform to support documentation and reflection for the various organizations and individuals involved, especially in view of the precariousness of the contexts in which many of these practices happen. The pervasive heartbreaking condition of most Brazilian institutions not only continues but also seems to be on the rise; a precarious reality that due to global neoliberal policies has begun to impact artistic-cultural contexts in Scotland as well. In this way, our editorial choices embraced different territorialities, contexts, and possibilities. We sought to support a polyphonic inventory, a critical reflection platform composed of multiple voices and practices connected with the urgencies of different worlds and realities.

Thinking about Care as Method: The Issue

We understand that the word “method” can be used to dominate, scrutinize, divide and clarify its object from a set of pre-set rules such as those devised during the so-called enlightenment. However, as Rafael Zacca reminds us in his Think Piece: “In its origin, ‘method’ did not designate a rule with which the subject framed its object, but rather the unveiling of a path to be discovered in the construction of knowledge. Therefore, it did not have a normative nature, but rather one of movement: it is not the static that determines the methodical procedure, but the dynamic, that is the walking. As Walter Benjamin, quoted by Zacca, would say, “method is deviation.” In the case of such practices, deviation from the established order, from the entropic tendency of institutions in Brazil and more recently in Scotland; challenging the social structures and hierarchies of carers and care that historically have resulted in deep structural inequalities. In these contexts Tania Rivera argues in her article that psychoanalysis provides an effective tool not simply a practice of care, but “within the field of institutional service […] a critical practice of ‘care’.” Rivera also presents the idea of ​​delirium as an opening up toward the possibility of “deviant paths, displacements in relation to established patterns, in a kind of performative or methodological notion that would carry within itself a power of political subversion and radical defense of singularity, against all authoritarian and universalizing standardization.”

It is this search of radical singularity and other forms of politics that has seen an increased interest in the practices of care within contemporary art over the past ten years. A desire for renewed efforts toward a more radical socio-cultural repositioning of artists, curators and other agents of this field is developing in the face of increasing inequalities, authoritarianism, and the rise of contemporary fascisms. At the heart of this issue of MESA is an urgency to examine and explore such care paradigms within the contexts and complexities of territorial, organizational and artistic specificities.  And we must go further, as suggested by curator and academic Kirsten Lloyd in her article, and inquire about the nature that care relations assume in the encounters produced through, by and around contemporary art. “What” Lloyd asks “does it mean to embed care in a capitalist art economy?” She continues: “Is critique compatible with the reproduction of the relations being critiqued?” Resonant with such questions and Lloyd’s critical interest in social reproduction, also in this special issue of MESA, are the article and dialogue of the artists Cristina Ribas, Shona Macnaughton and Millena Lízia.

Brazilian and Scottish Case Studies: Different Contexts and Territories

The Brazilian Case Studies presented in this issue bring together reflections on the history of each territory and their ongoing practices, institutions and contexts that seek to promote coexistence between “the different and difference”, as musician Abel Luiz notes, often in adverse contexts of great precariousness.  Two of the cases studies feature initiatives that are part of the Instituto Municipal Nise da Silveira, in Engenho de Dentro (Former Pedro II psychiatric hospital). The Institute was the site where the pioneering psychiatrist Dr. Nise da Silveira worked starting in the mid-1940s. Her work fighting against the barbaric treatments to which psychiatric patients were subjected at the time is a fundamental reference for the anti-asylum movement in Brazil.  With the support of hospital staff and key artists such as Almir Marvignier and the critic Mário Pedrosa (inaugural years were between 1946-1951), Dr. Nise brought artistic practices and the fundamental role of affection to the center of the therapeutic processes of the Occupational Therapy Studios, a process which culminated in the foundation of the Museum of Images of the Inconscious (MII) in 1952, followed by the creation in 1956 of Casa das Palmeiras (a center of clinical practice that she established). MII has been an important partner of the Art-care project both in facilitating site visits and contributing to the video Care as Method. The museum continues to this day despite ever-present difficulties.

Among the case studies related to Instituto Nise da Silveira is Espaço Aberto ao Tempo [Space Open to Time] (EAT), where coordinator, Lula Wanderley, reflects in brief essays and a video interview on over thirty years of practice “in the search for a poetic psychiatry.” In addition, musician Leandro Freixo offers his thoughts about the radical openness that they strive to achieve via “a space of meetings, exchange of affections and experiences where time does not assume predetermined contours with routine tasks, but where time is the space itself for becoming, for intuition and for the pleasure of creation.” This study also features a short essay on the influence of the artist Lygia Clark on EAT’s work. Since its foundation exactly thirty years ago, EAT has been an important space for recuperating and studying Clark’s Relational Objects, used in the therapeutic set known as Estruturação do self  [Structuring of the Self] a process supported over the years by British critic Guy Brett, as Lula notes in his introductory text.

The vibrant carnival bloco initiative Loucura Suburbana, as coordinator Ariadne de Moura Mendes notes, aims to produce via the Brazilian tradition of carnival celebrations, “the transformation of prejudice against madness into admiration, respect and the desire to integrate.” Loucura’s case study also features a personal reflection by Abel Luiz, a photographic essay by Pamela Perez and a narrative, photographic and video account of a special performative event that was the culmination of the Care as Method # 2 encounter called, “Hoje é o dia do sonho’ [Today is the day of the dream]. As pointed out by Ariadne in her statement for the Care as a Method video, these practices also point to the importance of caring for institutions, insofar as they help us to recognize the possibilities and the need to institute, within the framework of public policies, the methods and results achieved by these experimental practices produced at the interface between mental health and art.

Another key Brazilian case study, also drawing on a rich historical context, is that of Museu Bispo do Rosário Arte Contemporânea (mBrac). Situated in the Colônia Juliana Moreia – a former asylum and mental health complex in a northwestern suburb of Rio de Janeiro – the museum was established to house the phenomenal artistic production of outsider artist Arthur Bispo do Rosário who was interned in the Colônia for almost fifty years. The museum also manages a related cultural and education center for mental health users and their families called the Polo Experimental which also includes Atelier Gaia – a collective studio for artist residents and former interns of the old asylum. Two of the artists – Arlindo and Clovis – are featured with special essays and/or videos in this issue.  Their video statements as well as those of other Ateliê Gaia artists can also be seen in the Care as Method video. In their essays Raquel Fernandes, Ricardo Resende and Diana Kolker, respectively, director, curator and education manager reflect on the history and practices of mBrac. Here the museum emerges as a tool for social transformation. Provocatively they ask: “How can an art museum that functions in an old asylum be an area of ​​freedom, creation, contact, affection, power, intimacy and care?” At the Care as Method # 2 encounter participants experienced varying responses to this question via two impactful scenarios. The first was finding the cataloging and conservation of the works of Bispo do Rosário, open to the public in the gallery space as a permanent exhibition and the second was the performance by Arlindo in the former asylum cell in which he had been imprisoned with Bispo. Here, Arlindo mixed memories and experiences of his time being interned together with evocations of Bispo’s persona and the cruelty of the asylum system itself. These two moments offered a rich lens onto the potential of critical care practices in institutional contexts by demonstrating: on the one hand the creative possibilities of traditional “care” practices of conservation and preserving memory and, on the other, a radical and affective gesture of support and experimentation, nurturing Arlindo’s freedom to create and construct his own narrative. The organizers of the Care as Method encounter had invited mBrac and the Atelier Gaia artists to “curate” the visit for the Brazilian and Scottish participants. As protagonists they actively inverted traditional hierarchies between caregiver and patient. Arlindo – undoubtedly influenced by a recent exhibition at mBrac that had explored Bispo’s life and work as a grand performance – created a wholly new experimental performance for the occasion. It was a testimony to the museum’s risk and care taking in equal measure. Diverse contributors to the magazine touch on these encounters, Arlindo’s performance in particular.

In Brazil the Care as Method # 2 encounter also brought together for the first time a group of artists who on different occasions had created projects and/or been part of residencies at mBrac and with the artists of Atelier Gaia. The idea was to discuss the apparatus of the residency model in a context where this term is understood differently, so that we might learn from varying perspectives on care as method. Their essays and reflections comprise part of the case study of mBrac. The artist Fernanda Magalhães, whose performance work Grassa Crua culminated in a fashion show with women interns, was seen as a highlight by the psychiatric unit staff in that it allowed them to see patients without the labels that stigmatized them. Wrapped in colorful fabrics with lipstick and make up, they were no longer schizophrenics but rather just women, with their problems, potential and desires. The artists Daniel Murgel, Gustavo Speridião and Lívia Flores were also invited to return to the Colônia Juliano Moreia where mBrac is based. Murgel was one of the pioneering artist residents, whose adobe house/ruin made from the earth of the Colônia itself still graces the courtyard of the Polo Experimental (where Ateliê Gaia is also based) poetically inaugurating a practice, as Diana Kolker and Raquel Fernandes note in their text, that any residency must be made of the very land/earth and context of the Colônia. It was Murgel who also filmed and edited the video of Arlindo’s performance so that it could be presented in this issue of the magazine, together with a text by curator Ricardo Resende. Another unpublished video CARRO-CORAÇÃO, by the artist Lívia Flores, also presented in this issue, presents the subtlety of her coexistence and communication with the artist Clóvis Aparecido, also a member of Ateliê Gaia, with whom she had worked on other occasions. azul, azul, azul e azul [blue, blue, blue and blue] a performance by Eleonora Fabião, presented as part of the exhibition by Das virgens em cardumes e a cor das auras [On Virgin Shoals and the Color of Auras] curated by Daniela Labra is also integrated into the case study of the mBrac.  As a potent example of a deviation within the institution, azul azul azul e azul created “an extraordinary order,” where, as the artist notes,  “to strange is to care.” Gustavo Sperdião, who had been invited along with Lívia Flores by Tania Rivera to conduct a residency as part of exhibition Lugares do delírio, also participated in the Care as Method # 2 encounter. He returned to Colônia afterward motivated by the meeting, collected images and started a very beautiful film, hopefully to be featured in a future encounter and/or publication.  Called 60 minutes a second – a title taken from a statement made by Arlindo – its inconclusiveness is also a testimony to the intense experience of the Colônia and the difficulty of creating related artworks.

The last Brazilian case study is on the community cultural center Macquinho in the Morro do Palácio favela in Niterói, across from the city of Rio de Janeiro, overlooking Guanabara Bay. Former director of the Museum of Contemporary Art of Niterói, Luiz Guilherme Vergara, reflects on the history of Macquinho, now a Digital Urban Platform, and its evolution as part of the project Art Environmental Action, begun when he was director of education at the museum in 1999 in collaboration with young people and organizations engaged in the neighboring favela of Morro do Palácio – where Macquinho is situated. This project and Macquinho itself were inspired in the distributed decentralized clinical models of the Family Doctor Program – inspired in a Cuban based practice of preventive family health care. The video Care as Method features brief statements on the program: by Maria Celia Vasconcellos, implementation coordinator of the program in Brazil and by Emília Miterofe, social assistant coordinator of the program in Niterói. Vergara’s reflections are joined by some of the artists and educators involved in the project’s history: Bia Jabor, Carlos Arthur Felipe, Eliane Carrapateira, Leandro Baptista Almeida, Luiz Hubner, Marcos Barreto, Marcia Campos and Thatiana Diniz, as well as by Nuno Sacramento who discusses a more recent social sculpture project presented in collaboration with MAC and Macquinho. A rich contribution to this study is the photographic essay of Josemais Moreira Filho. Participant in the Arte Ação Ambiental initiative from the early days, his recent discovery of photography with the collaboration of photographer and educator Paulo Batelli offers a vital lens onto favela life. Josemais also photographed various parts of the Care as Method # 2 meetings including one of this issues cover images. Finally, Elielton Rocha writes about the monthly music / performance series Macquinho ON, an open mic session in what he calls a spirit of “responsible improvisation,” that brings together musicians, DJs, among other artists from the Morro do Palácio favela and other peripheries who also use Macquinho’s recording studio facility. A special edition of Macquinho ON was also presented as part of the International Encounter Care as Method # 2. Wiliam Moreira, Josemias Moreira, and Elielton Rocha coordinate the series. All three are Morro Palácio residents (not only Josemais but also Telto is a former Arte Ação Ambiental participant) and are responsible for the activities of the Digital Platform. The case study on Macquinho allows us to think about the vital role of collaborations between art and health and the potential of care as a method in action, as a tool of community cultural policy and of the production of rights.

Scottish case studies feature the work of the art and mental health organization Artlink and contemporary art centre Collective. From 2013-18 Collective was undergoing an organizational and building based redevelopment, moving to the City Observatory site on Edinburgh’s iconic Calton Hill. We nurture by Shona Macnaughton was produced as a response to Collective’s invitation to undertake an artist’s critical evaluation during a time of organizational change and exists as a pamphlet, performance and webpage. Shona’s practice explores the political conditions around specific architectures and institutional frameworks. Looking through Collective’s archives, Shona has focused on shifts in language, graphic design, ideas of collectivity and care in its 34-year history. As Collective prepared to open the Observatory to the public, Shona was an active participant in Care as Method and the Social Preproduction Reading Group and asked “how are different bodies cared for in a context heavy with Enlightenment symbolism and the trappings of a neoliberal institution?”

A photo-essay of the making of the film Workers! which grew from the long-term collaboration and research project Nothing About Us Without Us was initiated by Collective in 2016 between Swedish artist and filmmaker Petra Bauer and SCOT-PEP, a sex-worker led organization in Edinburgh, Scotland. The group shared their daily experiences of work, political organizing, and the structural challenges faced when trying to change the conditions for sex workers in Scotland. Through this ongoing process of listening and sharing ideas, the group ask: how do you act politically when stigma prevents you from being public? What is regarded as work and who has the right to work? How has (women’s) work been represented historically and what new strategies can be used for feminist filmmaking today?

The learning program at Collective has also been an area of reflection, with many commonalities discovered and nurtured through the duration of all aspects of our moving and learning together. James Bell (Collective’s producer, Learning 2013-16) reflects on the role of un-learning to enable learning. This is a principle Collective is set to explore more fully with the artist Annette Krauss in coming years.

For Artlink rhetoric has little meaning in the reality of the lives of people with complex learning disabilities.  Their needs demand that we look for an alternative to current limiting and limited language, as writer, Nicola White states in her intro, sometimes: “words are not enough.  I’ve found myself reaching, stretching to describe encounters that are beyond conventional language, encounters that are based on different, and arguably deeper, forms of communication; communication embedded in the senses of the body, or in the shared language of making.”

The need to find a relevant form of communication features in the texts of both Laura Spring and Claire Barclay.  They highlight a similarity between finding a language to connect with people, for whom language has no meaning and creative ways of overcoming language barriers when in Brazil.  The moral being that there are always parallels within difference.  For Claire, communication is about touch, “the feeling of her drawing on my back and arm is therapeutic, like a kind of massage, and I realize that there is a form of exchange happening.” For Laura Spring, taking the time to learn from each other is key: “Regular language doesn’t seem relevant, we create a new language together through trial and error over months and years of working together.” In her text the artist Wendy Jacob looks from the outside in at people with complex learning disabilities interacting with an artwork that they have in part curated.

Artlinks work exists “under the wire,” overshadowed by bigger societal issues, but its practice represents something much wider.  It traverses the chasms created by a divisive politic, that make us wary of the “other” and creates  new understandings based on caring about,  listening to,  and respecting  those who are excluded from the mainstream.

Dialogues and Interventions

The magazine has proven to be an important platform aimed at deepening the exchanges and public dialogues held as part of the Care as Method encounters such as the workshops we called Inventory/Invention and the previously mentioned performance by Arlindo. This has given rise to special dialogues and intervention sections in the magazine including: the conversation of the high school student Isabella Dias and her teacher Luiz Guilherme Barbosa on the school occupations of secondary students in Brazil. As a result of the ongoing wave of street protests in 2013, and in the face of the dismantling of education in the country, students occupied, lived, programmed and looked after their schools as a means of learning another way “to do” school. What Isabella and Luig Guiherme call the “corridor school” was one that emerged in the hallways and intervals between classes and obligations; Mario Chagas and Izabela Pucu interviewed Luiz Claudio, Maria da Penha Macena and Luiza de Andrade, in their backyard in the Vila Autódromo, a community that had been threatened with extinction due to forced removals at the time of Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. It Is a territory where only 20 families now live where there had previously been more than 600 families. In this conversation Vila Autódromo emerges as a laboratory for a new democracy, a territory for exercising care and for new forms of life invented by the struggle.

Gina Ferreira and Ana Vitória discuss their interpretation of Lygia Clark’s therapeutic collective proposal Rosacea that they specially prepared for the Care as Method # 2 encounter in collaboration with the museologist Marcia Proença. The collective proposal is beautifully documented by Denise Adams, who also generously photographed various events of the Care as Method encounter. Another dialogue features an email exchange between the Scottish artist Shona Macnaughton and the Brazilian Millena Lízia. Drawing on their different backgrounds after meeting at the encounter, the two artists connected in relation to their joint interest in questioning socio-domestic contexts via the critical apparatus of performance whether tackling issues of housework or childcare and their traditional associations of race and gender. Their correspondence via email explores this minefield and asks “is it possible to be a health dissident artist?” As the artist Cristina Ribas writes in her article for the magazine, also bringing a feminist perspective to critique the traditionally naturalized association of care practices as being the work of women and black and minority populations, challenging these structures is complex: “the work of care is full of a fusion and confusion because it extrapolates our individualities, crossing and activating what is inter subjective and pre-individual,” establishing between people and groups a kind of communal common.

Another key intervention was the selection of films directed by black women directors curated by João Vitos Santos (JV) and presented at the special Care as Method # 2 Macquinho On event. JV’s selection included the films of the collective Mulheres de Pedra [Women of Stone] among others.  Dai Ramos, one of the collective members, also participated in the Inventory/Invention working groups and wrote entry on ritual as a method for MESA # 5’s  Glossary section. Links and information on other films and participants in JV’s selection are included in his brief text for this issue. The experimental, affective and political proposal of the occupation Lanchonete <> Lanchonete works with children and adults living in the low-income areas of the port region of Rio de Janeiro. The occupation is led by the artist Thelma Villas Boas and was hosted by the art space Saracura between 2016 and 2017. Saracura was also the space where the Inventory/Invention workshops during Care as Method # 2 took place. Thelma’s essay explores the project through the lens of a video of last year’s Christmas party sharing the challenges and limitations of art in such contexts. The doctor and artist Ana Kemper shares her poetic reflection on “how to occupy SUS [Brazilian public health system],” a text that she presented as part of the public sessions at CMAHO exploring the life of a family doctor in the favela of Mangueira, together with a new video piece. Finally, the artist Steven Hollingsworth’s “sensorium” reinforces an understanding of the creative, sensorial and conceptual potential of “intervening” in normative modes of practice. Working intuitively and sensitively the artist and his collaborator Ben (a young man with complex physical and learning disabilities) built a conceptual bridge, one that propels Ben on a profound journey, creating meaning for him (and others) beyond institutional care structures.


Launched in December 2018 in Portuguese and English, this special issue of Revista MESA is a common archive – a platform of documentation, collaboration and reflection – produced by artists, therapists, doctors, nurses, psychologists, patients, care workers, people with complex disabilities, dancers, actors, curators, researchers, favela dwellers, Brazilians and Scots, in their daily collective practices, whose contribution we deeply acknowledge and celebrate.