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the ceilandian art in the landscape

ABSTRACT: Research on contemporary photographic aesthetic language and expanded photography, which seeks to understand the dialogic possibilities between historical and contemporary processes of photography, as well as its spaces of exhibition and circulation through urban interventions. A series of videos and  interventions with lambe-lambes in 50cm x 90cm format were produced from scanned photographs and developed with a historical chemical method from 1842 called cyanotype. The people represented are artists whose trajectory is marked by Ceilândia, the largest city in the Federal District, whose peripheral location in relation to the city of Brasília ends up impacting the visibility and circulation of the works of these artists in relation to the cultural manifestations that took place in the center.

KEYWORDS: expanded photography; cyanotype; urban intervention; licks; Ceilandia.

The fact that photography represents one of the greatest achievements of humanity is undeniable, constituting the technological, conceptual and ideological basis of all contemporary media (MACHADO, 2000). Such ease of image representation, applauded as a more accessible means of artistic expression, deeply disturbed the conservatives of classical painting and even of museums, institutions that, in some cases, today possess a questionable image, linked to a bureaucratic past, elitist and, therefore, segregating (OLIVEIRA, 2009).

Times change, but competitiveness, further aggravated by the principles of the capitalist system, remains. We went, in photography, from the dispute for the best process of developing and fixing images to the competition for attention and the highest number of likes on the Internet. From the purely documentary conception to the creation of alternative realities. What else could characterize the photographic process beyond the ease of editing and post-digital intervention, impacting the result achieved?

The circulation of the image becomes crucial. Beyond the intimate sphere of family albums, the image gains social connotation in contemporary digital media and changes its status. The image transits through different universes, whether in its physical or virtual form. More than shaking the definitions of what can be considered art, photography has opened a creative anthropological communicational horizon, which brings us closer to the visible body and the exteriority of the human being (Samain, 2001), in the sense of providing a unique imagery construction. of the author, communicating through representations and providing a discovery about who we are or who we reveal. In this scenario, however, it is possible to implement a conceptual look at photography who conceives it as a complex process, beyond the photographic act.

In photography, what differentiates the merely technical approach from the conceptual one, as proposed by Flusser, is the capacity of insubordination of photographic devices and intervention in the presented result. To better understand the creative possibilities in this context of interference and contemporary experimentation, we propose a dialogue with the concept of expanded photography, as opposed to the traditional understanding of photography. According to Fernandes Junior (2006), this phenomenon can be characterized as follows:


Expanded photography exists thanks to the boldness of the most restless artists, who, from the historical avant-gardes, began this path of overcoming the paradigms strongly imposed by the manufacturers of equipment and materials, to, little by little, make another photography emerge exuberant, which it only questioned the standards imposed by the photographic production systems, but also transgressed the grammar of this photographic work (FERNANDES JUNIOR, 2006).


The typical grammatical transgression of expanded photographic work conceives photography as a process that begins before the click and continues after the click, also adding different artistic languages to the process, such as performance, installation, sculpture, video and even painting in the creation of alternative and hybrid worlds and narratives where the photo is one more part of the work. The possibility of what can be visible in a technological moment guided by the production and predominance of digital images is expanded, in which the elements of the original fragment are stored by codes that can be recognized by the visualization device and presented again by another visualization device. , such as a video monitor or printer, for example (BALAN, 2009).

With the help of the advances achieved so far, several universes and realities can be represented in images. And, why not, think about the resumption of photographic historical processes and their interference in the Digital Age to problematize cultural issues and artistic visibilities segregated in the space of the city? This is what we propose with this research.



Large urban centers are characterized by the intense flow of people, cars, buildings and advertisements in the most diverse formats. The rush intrinsic to a routine imposed by the production system makes people increasingly individualistic. Meanwhile, the bombardment of information makes the gaze increasingly selective.

The occupations and interventions in urban spaces through different techniques and languages show that there is life beyond the work-home cycle, that people use urban space to share thoughts and ideas, although they are often criminalized and repressed for this. Is public space really public? In these new relationships that we create with the landscape in which we are inserted, the presumption is implicit that the place of political transformations is also the place of artistic transformations (PEIXOTO, 1999).  

“The city is a discourse, and this discourse is truly a language: the city speaks to its inhabitants, we speak our city, the city where we find ourselves simply when we inhabit it, walk through it, look at it” (BARTHES, 1987) . Whether with graffiti, pixo, lambe-lambes, performance, photos, video, etc., the intervening artists seek to insert themselves into this discourse in order to question it.

Following the same reasoning, the discussion initiated by this research was committed to inserting seven artists from Ceilândia, the most populous satellite city in the region, into the landscape of the Federal District, which, according to 2015 data from the Federal District Planning Company, has about 489,351 inhabitants, a number higher than that of many Brazilian capitals. Although the number is large, it does not correspond to the number of artistic-cultural centers available in the region.

There is an invisibility of local art, the result of an elitist model inherited from the 19th century that gave continuity to an organization “by differences between social groups: those who enter and those who stay out; those who are able to understand the ceremony and those who cannot act meaningfully”. (GARCIA CANCLINI, 2003, p. 47)”. This model engendered the conception of Brasília which, in its construction process, created several satellite cities far from the center to house those who came to build it, but did not have the right to inhabit it. Thus came the Invasion Eradication Campaign (CEI) that gave rise to Ceilândia.

In this context, the CEI removed thousands of manual workers used in construction, most of them from the Northeast of the country, to an area 30 km from Plano Piloto from the federal capital. These people did not correspond to the “civilized” profile desired for the new city. It was necessary to clean and relocate to the then new satellite city without proper structure.

The eyes and investments turn to the Plano Piloto and it is necessary for the peripheries to articulate themselves to maintain a movement to promote the productions that are born and are influenced by their socioeconomic conditions. The barriers to reaching the typical centralized and elitist spaces of Art are interposed in a scenario where meritocracy is defended in the Brazilian context.

Furthermore, artists from a peripheral context are not very concerned with traditional spaces, although they also want to occupy them. The greatest concern of these people is, in fact, expressing their art and using it politically. Whether this expression is recognized by a large number of people or not. The quest for action and change is greater.  

The city's landscape begins to add different traces left by those who move in it. Traces that can expand through artistic interventions, provoking reflection on the invisible barriers that are placed on us. And why not insert artists from Ceilândia into the landscape of the Federal District? Why not document its existence and its contribution to regional art and culture?

“[...] understood as a concept that translates the global aspect – the visible and the invisible/felt, but not seen – of an area. It [landscape] involves the physical/natural elements, their interactions, as well as all the interventions and articulations caused by human action. Therefore, the historical and cultural elements that signal the organizational process of the different social groups, built over time, are also part of the landscape. The landscape is the result of the accumulation of temporal actions” (CASTROGIOVANNI, 2001, p.132).


Zukin (1991, p. 81) argues that the cultural appropriation of spaces takes place in two stages, “first, a social group not natively related to the landscape or the vernacular assumes a perspective of both. Second, the imposition of their vision — converting the vernacular into the landscape — leads to a material process of spatial appropriation”.

With the intention of signaling and adding the art of Ceilândia in the landscape, taking into account the expanded nature of photography discussed here, a series of interventions with lambe-lambes (created from the historical photographic process of cyanotype) were created within the scope of this research. ) and videos entitled “Da Quebrada”, in which the image of seven artists from the city is present.   We sought “a distancing from institutional policy to emphasize culture and social reproduction as a battleground” (MAZETTI, 2006).

The process of capturing images began with interviews that sought to get to know the artists better and understand how the city interferes in their productions, making a kind of documentary video about each one. After the conversation, still images of the artists' bodies were captured. The photos were transformed into photoliths and developed via cyanotyping, a photographic development process created in 1842 by the English scientist and astronomer Sir John Herschel and whose main characteristic is the blue tones.

The images were developed on watercolor paper sensitized with ferric ammonium citrate of green crystals and potassium ferricyanide and exposed to the sun on a glass plate. Days after the development, with the tonality already stabilized, the images were scanned, as well as the negatives/photoliths used. With the help of the image editing software Adobe Photoshop, a montage was made with the scanned images, where the bluish photo is superimposed on the negative and above the text element (artist's name) added.

The aesthetic coherence of all the material produced in this intervention was based on the process of developing with cyanotype. The videos were colored and toned following the coloring resulting from the historical method. Effects were also added that, at certain times, leave the images in negative. With a few exceptions, the videos start with the characters' artistic expressions and end with them gluing their produced lambe-lambes. All participants received copies of the productions, as well as the material needed for collage in the landscape.

Unlike the old lambe-lambe photographers, who captured images in public squares with a type of camera that is like a box, in which you stick your head under a dark cloth (like a mini laboratory) to develop the photos (COSTA and CUSTÓDIO, 2007), the lambe-lambes produced here are printed on paper, glued to streetlights and city walls in order to communicate something, a model that is widely used by advertising and urban intervention actions. From the assembly carried out via computer, the lambe-lambes produced were printed 245 times, colored and in size 50x90 cm.

Placed in several regions of Ceilândia  e of the DF, with emphasis on areas close to the Plano Piloto Bus Station, the interventions with lambe-lambes were carried out with the aim of representing a little of what is done artistically and culturally by impulse of the artists who have their trajectory marked by Ceilândia. Being aware that it is impossible to fully portray the rich trajectory of these artists in this article, we present the link to view the full videos with testimonials from all of them and a little of their history, political and artistic positioning: _cc781905-5cde-3194-bb3b -136bad5cf58d_ .

These bodies, inserted in the city landscape in a kind of photoperformance where the focus is on the presence of the artist's body (and/or collaborators) in action or staging for the camera (VINHOSA, 2014), present themselves as beings on the path of drivers and pedestrians, while another significant layer of the landscape, causing the most diverse physical and mental interactions. Responses to the message sent there can range from the act of tearing up the prints pasted on the walls, to the questioning as to whether they are photos of “missing persons”, as  occurred on one of the occasions while pasting some of the lambe-lambes. Before disappeared and now “appeared” and duly presented.

Documentation of part of the interventions in the landscape can be found at . The concerns started here also led to the production of an event entitled "Open Conversation - the place of art and culture in Ceilândia", which took place on July 7th in the square next to the Central Fair of Ceilândia, with artistic interventions, open microphone and debate. with artists and cultural producers from the city to discuss the local cultural scene. In addition, the intervention of the lambe-lambes were selected by the Transborda Brasília – Contemporary Art Award, to be exhibited at the Caixa Cultural space in Brasília between August 7th and October 7th, 2018.



Bearing in mind that “urban interventions take place on a daily basis, in a politicization of everyday life, of public space” (MAZETTI, 2006), expanding photography from a process of historical revelation, inserting it into the landscape urban space in order to provoke questions, is just one of the infinite possibilities of working the relations of the image beyond its merely documentary functions.

In addition, conceiving this research in order to promote artists from Ceilândia-DF contributes to the extensionist ideal intrinsic to the University, especially to a public university. Art becomes documented, promoted and linked to the urban landscape, overflowing the spaces traditionally intended for it. The street is the exhibition and debate space. The production comes out of theory and aesthetically interferes with people's daily lives with a depth that is often incomprehensible, but communicable.



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