waltércio caldas
 critical text
 artist statement
 urban situation
 arte/cidade - zona leste
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Waltércio Caldas will build, in the tower last floor, an auditorium. In a floor previously used for heavy machines, high and totally closed, resulting in an enormous shady area, illuminated only by a window, at the end. About 250 chairs construct the device; on each one, at the height of a person who seats there, is hung a glass board, bringing printed the word "figure". In front of the window, to which the chairs are turned, a nylon screen, translucent, brings the same word. All the inscriptions are placed in the window direction, being seen through the verse by who is in the room. Sounds of auditoriums and stadiums audience are heard.

The audience is one of the most important public spaces equipment. Place of congregation, debate and social interaction, the forum is the principle of the agora. It is in the auditorium, as in the square, that traditionally the public sphere if manifested.

In the east tower, Waltércio Caldas will install, however, an anti-auditorium. The “figures” in the audience send to "the figure" on the stage, which in turn sends to what is far beyond, through the window. Successive remissions indicating that it is not properly there that the event is given, that this place lost its power to congregate and to signify. Social life is dislocated to another scope, with no geographic location. A non-place. The traditional space disposition _ the chairs, stage _ is kept only to evidence its surpassed rigidity and anachronism. A petrified and inert pattern, an emptiness that receives only a unique presence: of the absence.

The proper idea of scale is suppressed. The disposal of the elements, directed to the window, and the surrounding sound pervert the local scale, suggesting a bigger universe, of incommensurable dimensions. The question of exterior / interior, private / public, is dislocated from the properly urban context to the cultural dimension. With the global expansion of capitalism, integrating aesthetic creation to merchandise production, subordinate to business interests, culture is instrumentalized to promote urban revitalization projects and art institutions. The public space loses all apprehensible patterns, substituted by an abstraction without location or experience. Under the domain of the culture, how to think art and the city?

What is at play here is the structure of reception, the principle of hearing. The irradiator center of information generates, at the same time, passivity. The device allows thinking the relation between agent (active) and public (passive). The diverse figures are inserted in the transparency game: the constitutive principle of public sphere.

The public space disappearance is one of the basic phenomena of contemporary metropolis. The generic city is a proliferation of spaces of passage, indistinct and without qualities. The generalized mediatization and the political-administrative institutions and social values disaggregation lead to a deep crisis of the public sphere. In the urban scope, the large transit equipment implantation and the large-scale restructuring of the old central areas disarticulate the traditional public spaces, the squares and parks where social exchanges were made. Social interaction now happens in another scale, in another place.

One inhabits nowhere. Megalopolis does not have beginning or end, outside or inside. There is no possible belonging. Art, says Lyotard, was capable to create place. The lightning in the landscape of the classic picturesque: it institutes a difference, inaugurates a sensible world. A new idea of place: of the advent. When all places had been abolished _ in the imminence of nothingness _ something have place. A presence bursts and shows that there is place.

Here, however, nothing can occur. Instead of testifying the presence, attribute of the landscape, of the place, this surrounding only evidences the absence. The light that invades this shady space does not come, as the lightning in the landscape, to disclose what is happening there. It brings precisely what occurs out there, what is not happening there.

The use of this generic representation, the figure, instead the actor and the public, corresponds to the increasing abstraction of metropolitan configurations, making impossible any effort of mapping, of location. With global integration, economic mechanics and metropolitan situations became, due its complexity and scales, opaque to the individual. They are not accessible to experience. The possibilities of individual apprehension and intervention had been drastically reduced. The individual disappears from the stage of social processes, substituted by a generic entity, circulating in an abstract space.

The intervention, when projecting itself outside, not only dilutes the interior / exterior compartmentalization. It goes beyond the space notion that circumscribes the tower, the set of industrial constructions and the region, pointing to a form of spatialization constituted in another level and another scale. Not local anymore, topological, but configured by the information networks and fluxes. A macro-space that substitutes the localities, in a spatial logic without place.

The intervention doesn’t happen properly in the architecture or urban domain, but in the sphere of culture. Everything happens in the level of the language. When culture became instrument for urban space organization, also subordinating artistic practices, Waltércio Caldas analyzes the devices that allow this transference. Opting to project equipment, instead of an artistic object, he is reflecting critically on this tendency. This project of an auditorium provokes a short circuit in the reception device: it locates us immediately outside the old public sphere, launching us in the abstract space of the megacities.