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Online Installation [2022]     >>>

Divisa (border between states) is an artistic project addressing the relationship between memory, body, territory and image journey throughout the boundary which at once unites and separates the states of Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo. Driven by her own early memories of crossing this border, Rubiane Maia decided to embark on a journey through this imaginary line accompanied by her partner Manuel and her son Tian. Though Rubiane was born in Minas Gerais, she spent her first years of life living in a city situated on that border, and grew up mostly in Espírito Santo. Over 20 consecutive days, Rubiane, Manuel and Tian travelled through the entire border, starting at the triple boundary between the states of Espirito Santo, Minas Gerais and Bahia, near the town of Montanha (ES), and finishing their journey in the region of Serra do Caparaó, in the south-west of Espírito Santo. Their aim was to go downhill while finding accessible stopping points in places designated as borders between the two states, either indicated by official road signs, found through satellite mapping or simply pointed out orally by the local population. During these stops, the trio would perform artistic actions in order to create symbolic landmarks, proposing exercises to generate intimacy and contact with the local landscape.

Divisa é um projeto artístico que aborda as relações entre memória, corpo, território e imagem a partir de uma experiência de deslocamento pela demarcação que une/separa os estados de Minas Gerais e Espírito Santo. Motivada por suas próprias lembranças de travessia (originadas pelo nascimento nas Minas, os primeiros anos de vida em uma cidade da divisa, e o crescimento no Espírito Santo), Rubiane Maia se propõe a percorrer essa linha imaginária junto com seu companheiro, Manuel e filho, Tian. Ao longo de 20 dias consecutivos, eles viajam toda a divisa, partindo do ponto tríplice entre ES/MG/BA próximo a cidade de Montanha (ES) até chegar na região da Serra do Caparaó, no sudoeste do Espírito Santo. O objetivo era ir descendo, e ao mesmo tempo, elencando pontos acessíveis de parada em locais designados como limite territorial entre os dois estados, fossem eles, indicados por sinalizações oficiais nas rodovias, mapeamento via satélite ou simplesmente apontados pela população local. Durante essas paradas, os três trabalhavam para produzir marcos simbólicos em forma de ações artísticas, provocando exercícios de intimidade e contato com a paisagem.

Born in the city of Caratinga, in the east of Minas Gerais, Rubiane Maia settled in Espírito Santo when she was three years old. Many of her memories involve travelling along either the Vitória-Minas Railway* and the BR-262 highway, both of whom are pathways linking the two neighbouring states. Throughout her early years, there were constant journeys from Vitoria, the capital of Espírito Santo, where she lived most of her childhood and adolescence, to the smaller cities of Aimorés and Caratinga, in Minas Gerais, where a good part of her family still lives until today. These trips, whose affective reminiscences remained until adulthood, have somehow been experienced as an expanded time, during which unknown faces and rural landscapes were interspersed in between the sharp outlines and blurred visions envisioned through the window frame. The skins becoming greyish and shiny from the iron ore dust; the stones being thrown in the direction of the train in Flexal; the Piraqueaçu women and their giant powdered biscuits; Colatina, where the longest stopover took place; the Doce River and its caramel colour; Aimorés and its scorching sun.

Some time later, as she becomes aware of her artistic practice being based on autobiographical questions, emerging mostly in contexts involving research and immersion, such as artistic residencies, Rubiane finds herself motivated to approach the 'in between’ zone between provinces which permeated her entire childhood and youth. She realised, however, that it would not be such a consistent proposal simply to repeat the movement of coming and going from one city to another, crossing the limits of the provinces in the same way as before. Nowadays, one of the issues she is invested in is the complexity involved in our notions of both separation and belonging. This perspective addresses her own place of speech, (a philosophical concept developed by the philosopher Djamila Ribeiro taking as a reference point the so-called standpoint theory), is a point of view grounded in the experience of a black, diasporic body, emerging as a result of brutal historical processes that precede her own birth. This project certainly takes into account the legacy of slavery and the many holes that were opened throughout the lineage of descendants of the enslaved people who were transported to Brazil as a commodity, which as such could have neither past nor history. Hence the desire and the choice to travel through, and not simply to cross, the dividing line separating the two provinces from which she comes from. Such an argument creates the opportunity to physically approach a political split emerging from a geographical context. The demarcation between different provinces throughout Brazil emerged during colonial period, when the entire territory was divided in the so called “capitanias”*, arbitrary divisions of land established by Portuguese rule. For the artist, crossing the border between Espirito Santo and Minas Gerais is an attempt to at once establishing contact with a territory that has sustained much violence, due to the coercitive logic of power which stratified this territory, while at the same time taking the responsibility of rescuing the residues of both her own and her family's personal history.

Since there is no neutral narrative, there is not a single story, this project proposes an act of pulling the thread of some personal memories so as to let their entangled quality, their knots, to stand out. There was a clear desire to work in the open air, in contact with the landscape, and more than anything to connect with the earth element in all its material and symbolic potency. Though these actions deal with memory, they are not necessarily concerned with the past. What is born now emerges from a direct, often ritualistic dialogue between body and earth, governed by the forces of life and happenstance. Every once in a while, one caresses with attention and care the ineffable dimension of that which once crossed these very places, knowing in advance that there are precious things buried under the layers of this soil. There is earth, there is dust, there are roots. There are rivers and stones and rain. There are pigments, textures, and earthy colours. There are bodies affecting each other throughout the fine line of something we could either call life, or work or play. There are surprises, there is strangeness. There are also crossroads and uncertainties. There are guiding entities, there are witnesses, there are people. But above all, there is that which could not be neither revealed nor explained in words.

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