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Art in feeling - how to feel it?



Title: Art in feeling - how to feel it?

Release date: 2/14/2022

Co-creation: Elizabeth Caldas e Natalhinha Marinho

City/State: Maceió/AL

[intro music]



Olga Aureliano: When we talk about representation in culture, where are people with disabilities? Based on the maxim: "We don't understand art, we feel it", what would be the role of the artist in this proposition? Elizabeth Caldas and Natalhinha Marinho urge artists to reflect on the possibilities of access and reach of their work. This is the ninth episode of our Defiças [Disability] Portraits Channel.



[intro music]



[sound effects with light percussive instruments, sounds like rain fall throughout this first speech].


Elizabeth: When we talk about representation in culture, where are people with disabilities? Natalhinha Marinho, artist from Alagoas with monocular vision, storyteller, singer and songwriter with a path walked in art as folklore performer, joins Elizabeth Caldas, audiovisual director, in the co-creation of this podcast. The two, comrades in collective creation, understand that thinking about representation in works of art also creates bonds, cures, and children, and realizing art is also about building bridges to reachable realities. In this episode of the defiças portrait, we have as a proposal to investigate art in feeling as feeling it or art in creating as affection. Starting from the maxim: we don't understand art, we feel it, what is the role of the artist in this proposition. To whom is their artwork destined [meant] for.


[guitar track]


Elizabeth: I'm Elizabeth Caldas and I'm presenting this episode. I am a white, fat, brown-shoulder-length haired woman. I work with audiovisual and education since 2008. Teaching, directing documentaries. I moved to Maceió in 2019 and participate in curatorship, script consultancy and I am passionate about podcasts. Before we start the conversation, I will let my partner in this podcast, Natalhinha Marinho, introduce herself.


Natalhinha: My name is Natalhinha. Despite having this name in the diminutive, I am a big person, a light-skinned black woman. I have a small mouth, nose and eyes, and I am also a disabled person. I have monocular vision. My hair is usually up and it's currently up with a little band at the bottom. It has two colors, I'm in the living room of my house. Behind me there's a wall full of drawings, two guitars, and a bookshelf full of books. I started playing guitar when I was 16, and that was right when I became a fan of rock, right? I was very rock, very rock, very black, very colorful bracelets, heavy metal pin stuff, hardcore, all mixed up. And then, my desire was to play the guitar, to be able, you know, to fit in. I wasn't a very talkative person at the time either. So, I started playing the guitar at school, I repeated the year in this little game, but I went, it was in this little game that I'm still today, then, today I'm 34, and I’m still playing, right. My business is playing the guitar, and then through the guitar, theater came, dance came, other activities came, always related to music and art.


Elizabeth: When we thought about building this episode, we decided to invite more people on this journey. More artists and more diversity and with it, more music. Come on Malta Lee, introduce yourself.


Malta: So, I'm Malta Lee, I work as a songwriter, I also recently released my EP. I am a psychology student at the Federal University of Alagoas. I'm a black woman, I'm indigenous, visually impaired, thin, short, curly hair, I'm very funny (laughs), I joke about everything, I have 5 tattoos on my arms and that's it (laughs).


Elizabeth: We are going to talk about music, we are going to talk about audiovisual and we are going to talk about photography. And to talk about photography, we invited a very special guest, Benita Rodrigues, come here!


Benita: My name is Benita Rodrigues, I'm short, I'm black, I have short curly hair, I wear glasses. Behind me is a brick wall, I come from a family of artists, I have a degree in social communication, I have a major in public relations, I am a photographer, my whole life, I have always been influenced by art through my family. My family is a circus, music, very musical, our meetings were always surrounded by a lot of music, poetry, and that was what inspired me to follow this path of art. Through communication, I was very enchanted by photography, today I have a circus school called “Sururu Circo”, which is open to everyone.


Elizabeth: Malta let's now talk about your work. What is your creation process like? Tell us a little bit about your album, your latest work. Tell us a little bit about how you compose.


Malta: So the composition,… It’s part of… as I remember it, even when I was a child… but I didn’t record any (laughs), they were exclusive compositions of the moment (laughs), and that's when I started recording around the age of 18. The first song I actually copied, I put notes towards… I was sleeping, it was about 2am… I simply woke up, grabbed the notebook, a pen, turned on the light, grabbed the guitar, went on writing putting down notes. I put the guitar back in the corner, closed the notebook, turned off the light, and went back to sleep. And then when I woke up in the morning, I was like, 'Man, I did something, hold on a second', so I went (laughs) and tried to remember, and already went and sent it to some people to see what they thought of it. And suddenly, it became a song that everyone gave the name of girlfriend to girlfriend (laughs), among friends. Then that was it. Often times the composition, my compositions, they are not compositions of what I am living, or of what I am feeling exactly. Sometimes it happens, sure, I add something, I utilize a detail to create the rest involved. So, it's something that just flows, right? Sometimes I'm watering the garden, and then it starts to come, so if I don't drop things right then and there and register it, it becomes a composition of the moment again. You know? From that moment only. Because I’m not able to remember it later in order to register [note] it. Sometimes I'm playing the guitar, then I start going with the flow and several songs come out, then I stay. I can't resist it! (laughs). But it's usually like this, if I hear a story, a friend, an acquaintance comes to vent to me, comes to tell me what's going on, sometimes I start creating something, and sometimes I show it to the person later or I just keep to myself, because it's something very deep, very personal. But the composition flows like this, from conversations, even from my old experiences, or from simply a sentence that you say in the middle of the conversation that touches me, 'Jeez, how awesome, man”, then I go from there and compose (laughs), from that sentence. So, this is how the compositions reveal themselves to me, right? And about the work, this release of the EP, right? It's Malta Lee, it came through a public art funding call, right? I passed it. It's from Aldir Blanc Fund. So, it was a very special moment for me. I thought I would never share it, you know? I'm not going to lie, especially after I became a disabled person, because of the way things are seen, you know for us. I thought I would never really be able to put it out into the world (laughs), and suddenly when I saw the work I got a…. I'm saying, I don't know if one day it will really spread, but the way it was worked, if it gained [attention] in proportion, you know with affection, care, you know? In a lovely way a way (laughs), right? I'm enjoying it. It's great to know that people listen to and like the lyrics, and identify with the lyrics, there are people who say, “Man, the music is very much like it was my life there that was being described at the time”. So, it's been really awesome, you know? Having released it on all platforms. There's been a great feedback, from everyone who's listened.



Elizabeth: There is a maxim in art, a lot in audiovisual areas, from “intellectual” [“cabeça”, from the head] films, those films of geniuses, usually white and old men, that art is not meant to be understood, it is meant to be felt. I agree a bit with this phrase, but it is also very loaded with elitism, classism. I would like you to speak a bit about this: Is art to be understood? Or just felt? Or do we understand what we feel? I would like you to talk a bit about this. Is your art to be understood or felt?


Benita: Everyone understands art the way they want, right? As with everything in life, each one understands according to their context, according to their experiences, according to their ideologies, in short. But what you feel in art is much stronger than what you understand. Understanding that feeling goes through a lot of physical sensations, right? The feeling goes a lot from your heart, from your previous experiences, because it’s something that may have touched you a lot; something that might have been a theater play that might have been extremely moving for you, might not have been for me, right? But, from this feeling, art also has its obligation to understand its role, as a place of denunciation, as a place where people need to also understand what occurs in each place, what occurs in each society. I've been watching some Iranian short films, which have touched me a lot, and it's very much in this place of understanding and feeling, right? Understanding denunciations, understanding other societies, other contexts, without… without placing this society in this place of superiority… like we are superior because we are artists, no. We are not superior because of this, we are not superior, right, to anyone. We have a huge responsibility to be able to, express, give our message, so that it can be heard by everyone, right? Because often agents, for example, in photography, do work that is not accessible to everyone, so not everyone will understand or feel our work.


Elizabeth: What we know is that artistic expressions are everywhere, and we talked more about the presence of art in our daily lives. My partner, co-creator of this project of the Defiças podcasts, and her life as someone with a visual disability, has helped guide some of our reflections, which has guided  our initial idea to talk about art, and to talk about how we feel. To provoke a little the authors and creators about the reach and responsibility of access and their works of art.


Natalhinha: So, I think in some way… I think, that people… when they have a disability, the other senses, they become more acute, you know. Like, it's pretty cliché, and everyone says this, but I think it really is real, because I think there is a greater sensitivity to hearing. So, I have a stronger relationship with music, and I also perceive this in my social life. This relationship with hearing. Hearing everything, and wanting to hear, and receive/seek things through this path. And… many pieces that are more connected to music… they are very powerful in me… and I see now that… I’ve already gone to an exhibition, not here in Maceió, but I've been to an exhibition in Pernambuco, which had resources in audio for us to hear what was representing the thing there. But it wasn’t always audio description. Sometimes the pieces of work I saw had audio description, but other pieces I saw had a soundtrack. Like, for us to follow along. Or through a telephone resource, I think for you to just listen to the environment, but there was no audio description so you had to imagine and think about what it might be. What could be happening along with those audios that were playing right?


[guitar track]


Malta: I feel art in different ways. In the vibration, in the description, in the touch, you know… it's how the image is made in my imagination, right? Through the accounts of how I feel that description. Often, when someone describes the image or sculpture to me, it touches me in such a huge way that I get emotional. And sometimes… for each person… art can be interpreted, felt and lived in different ways.  Sometimes even the way someone describes that image to me, wasn’t actually the way the author intended it to be, but it also gains life through what I create of it through my imagination while I listen.


Natalhinha: I'm curious, because my disability… it came from birth, and… how can I say it? I always dealt with it well. I don’t have… ah…. I didn’t have the experience of seeing with two eyes, like you had. Yours came as a consequence of other things… in the future. How was… how do you feel today in relation to the question of music, and specifically the act of listening. Because… I imagine that it must have become sharper, this sense, right? How do you feel this difference, was there a big difference? Was it something that was natural, happening bit by bit because you already had this musical experience before? I remember that I met you at the time of the choir, of Embracanto, and that you sang and such, so you already had this experience before going through this moment of becoming monocular. So, how was it? Was it very different? Nowadays can you perceive things with hearing, music, art, or was it natural? Like things went gradually and moving slowly towards what they are today?   


Malta: Monocular is low vision, right! What I see, I see a little. It's an eye that sees shapes or the form of things, of people, so I've always had my senses very sharp, right? From hearing things far away, where people are like “What? How?”, or smelling smells that no one else had perceived, or seeing things… although when I was 14 years old, that's where myopia… but out of nowhere, sometimes, I saw things beyond, at a distance, that it surprised even a bit. But when we lose one sense, it even changes all the others. So much so that I had moments when I was having a dizzy spell, having an imbalance, because my other senses were being affected. So, in this sense of hearing, given how I can pick up on many sounds, sometimes this gets in the way (laughs), right? Because sometimes I'm here talking to you, for example, but there's some noise happening outside with the neighbor or with a car on some street far away, and I go on hearing the low sound of the wind hitting the trees and such. So, when I am really able to concentrate, I’m able to perceive things in the music in a way that is much more sharp and profound. So, it’s something that I need in my experience. I know that everyone has their own way of experiencing. I need to really concentrate, because… either, I’m really able to reach notes…  to record an EP, my music producer Janeo Amorim was even amazed, because I reached notes that are very difficult to reach. But in other moments, I reach a certain… I lose myself a bit, right…in the note, the rhythm, and such, because of various sounds that were near me. So…this excess of sounds, sometimes for me, it can get in the way, because I need to actually focus. And in terms of music, for example, I don't have an in-depth study of the guitar, for example, so when I go to study some new song… I try to  pick up the notes that are the most simplified… I try to accompany this mode… sometimes I try somehow to catch the notes (laughs), but trying in actuality, a bit at a time. I can even try to play the music very slowly, decreasing the speed, right, to try and accompany it in a certain way, following along with what I’m hearing.


[track with light percussive instrument]


Benita: Art is simply life. Because I was born, raised in an environment where everyone breathed art, right? For those born in this environment, art is not only a moment, a piece of poetry, a song. Art is everything, right? Our daily life. Everything, everything is art. And for me, feeling art is… it's feeling like I'm alive. The whole time. If at some point I don’t feel art, ah… it seems as if life loses its meaning. Breathing, feeling, being here conversing with you, exchanging ideas, sharing experiences is also art… and… that’s it. When I think about memories that are traversed by art, immediately I remember my family. There’s no way for me not to remember. But, this thing about art… bringing together people… it reminds me of musical encounters. I remember many musical encounters, which I have crossed paths with, where I met people who transformed my life in many moments. I met friends who inspire me. They were moments very musical and poetic. My family often hosts reunions, musical ones, and here… one calls another, one friend calls another friend, and you always end up meeting people that you didn’t know before, even though it’s within your own home. I remember a lot my mother making food, my father serving drinks, and in these encounters we would play music, drink, have fun, cross paths with poetry too, which is something that I feel a lot of inspiration from due to my father who is a poet. But I have many memories of the smell of cachaça [sugar cane spirit], the smell of food, and all this being surrounded by poetry and music. They are very strong memories of my childhood, adolescence. And looking at that movement, taking in that smell, and saying: “wow, is it possible that we can live… live from this joy every day”? As if art saves everything, right? We are…. and it really does save right? It saves… you don't think so, but it saves us from a lot of things.


Natalhinha: You talked about your family being of circus origins, right? And today you teach at a circus school. You are also the creator of the school, I don't know if owner would be the word, but, one of the people who are responsible for the school. And you also end up having a relationship to theater, right? Because I've seen you photograph… aside from the show that I’m a part of obviousy, which happened recently…. Other theatre performances. Speak a bit about this relationship with theater itself.


Benita: One of the things I love to photograph the most is performances. Because I'm going to build my work, based on another work that's already there, right? Various other people created that work, and I have a lot of responsibility in how I’m going to portray that work through my photography, which in itself becomes another piece of work (laughs). So, photographing other spectacles of theatre and dance… is something that I have to be very careful with. I am messing with the work of another person, but it is something that gives me a lot of pleasure. I have gotten closer to theatre, because of my partner who is an actor. He founded together with me and another friend of ours Ícaro Gama, Sururu Técnicas Circenses, which is our circus school today. I invite all you who want to get to know Sururu Circo (laughs). And this relationship between photography with theater… what generally happens, is yes, the spectacles are worked on a lot in the shadows. So, when I talk about shows without being outdoors, you know, shows inside the theater, inside enclosed spaces. Outdoor shows, this one contains another dynamic, right? Because there isn’t this worry about lighting, projected lighting, nor lighting that someone planned. But when it comes to enclosed spaces, theatres and everything else, there exists a design [layout] of lighting. And who works in photography of these spectacles, they need to be attentive and respect that layout of lighting that was planned by someone, who is there accompanying that process. Because lighting design [layout] of a spectacle, has everything to do with that work/show. It wasn’t something that was put together randomly. It’s a lighting that was thought about to coincide with that spectacle. So, someone who is going to take photographs, has to have this responsibility. It’s due to this that I like see and feel the show before photographing it. Because the more we feel that show, and feel what the author was trying to convey, the more we will be able to transmit that feeling into photography, the audiovisual.


[track with light percussive instrument]


Malta: I've been involved in art since I was a teenager, right? So I've sung in choir, I've participated in musicals, theatre plays. By the way, my sister has a degree in theater, but I used to live there in the cultural space, and I got involved in plays and workshops (laughs), so much so that people even think I have a degree in theater. Yeah, so always on stage, whether acting or singing… until I acquired my visual disability in 2017. Today I'm monocular, low vision and art continues more on the side of composing. I listen to a lot of music, watch shows and all… In the day-to-day, its more like… [inaudible] because it was also in 2017, it’s already been two years that we have been living with the pandemics, so really, connected to the internet. So, in everyday life, it’s been more on this side of listening, even through digital platforms, of watching… theatrical plays on the internet. So, the contacts that I have with many artists, and through different forms, despite the visual impairment, it's the visual arts, right? So much so that I was also invited to work on the production of 2 films… So, art is present in my daily life in this way.


Elizabeth: When we talk about representation in culture, where are people with disabilities?


Benita: I have a little bit of access to this universe of accessibility… but I always had a question about… why is photography at first is very visual.. at first right? At first, photography is something very visual. Then I always questioned, how could photography be more accessible right? For example, for people who have low vision, or don’t have vision. Then some time ago, I did some research, and I found a photographer, which I follow nowadays, a photographer called João Maia. He is a blind photographer, and he founded Fotografia Cega, which is a project where he gives lectures, gives courses to people who have vision or don’t, about photography and accessibility. So… for those who want to follow him, they can search in social media for Fotografia Cega, who will find João Maia, who is an amazing artist, he specializes in sports photography. Inclusively, even now during the last Olympics, he was the only blind photographer. He photographed at the Olympics in Japan. His photography is a photography which is extremely loaded with strong emotions. Each photograph transmits what he is feeling. And it is really awesome when you hear him speaking, because what he felt in that moment is exactly what is there in his photograph. Even though he doesn’t have this resource of vision, he incredibly transmits in his photographs feelings that are very strong.  


Natalhinha: He has some really cool photos, and he also photographs a lot of people with disabilities. It's a very, very peculiar look, so it doesn't even look like it, right? So, if we are what he really, really feels, what photography wants to bring.


Benita: He's amazing.


Natalhinha: Every photo, spectacular.


Benita: He's incredible, he's incredible.


Natalhinha: Black man too.


Malta: That's interesting, because when I went to call people to participate in the recording of clips, of the songs of the EP… I wanted to bring on diverse people, and which I looked for example, one woman who was a defiça [disability] artist, I didn't find one. I spoke with some people, and I hadn’t found anyone. I even wanted also be a black woman. And then I realized really… there's nothing missing in the Portrait Defiça [Disability], it's there to show that, they are people with disabilities, who are incredible artists, you know. But where are these people? They don't have visibility. It's something that…. people pretend they don't see us, right? They ignore us. And, a lot of this that has to do with ableism, is about putting [seeing] that person with a disability, as truly incapable, as…. We are belittled. Like the term “deficient” [disabled], its as if the person is just that thing. We are not only the disability. There exist various bodies. Like I am not only someone with a disability. I’m someone who works, at times with artistic productions, someone who works with and studies psychology, who has my own dissemination of compositions, among other things, right. So, we don’t see… we don’t see them with the proportion that should exist, because the person with a disability is in a just a different body. All of us obviously, have our own limitations, but this doesn’t classify us as something inferior, but just different. So, not only on stage as artists, in focus, but also as people who come to watch, who come to pay homage. Many times, because there is no accessibility, it is a right of ours, I think it should really be something given to us, right? Sometimes in conversations, many times we feel… like someone with a disability, when we are amongst non-disabled people. How so? So, I, for example, as someone with a visual disability, live alone, have my own responsibilities, I have 2 dogs, I take care of everything. But many times when I’m in the middle of society, it’s when I really feel like someone with a disability due to the ways in which people treat me. And many times, they just don’t permit themselves to treat me in another way, because they don’t permit themselves to get to know me, to talk to me, to interact with me, right? So, they treat people with disabilities a lot like a poor thing, or as if... they treat them as if they were a little child, or, or simply as if I couldn't even cut my own meat at lunch, or descend a flight of stairs, or open a door, right? This is absurd. So, in the middle of art, people with disabilities, they are… ah… very absent. Not only due to a whole history, of who lives the experience of disability, but also who treats the disabled person, and how they treat the person with a disability.


Natalhinha: There's something I was thinking about here, but actually, I already came thinking about it, which is a visible disability right? When you have a disability that is visible, people are as if … not only as if they have this habit… unfortunately of treating some people as if they need everything, right? As if they can’t manage anything [on their own]. And when you have a disability that isn’t as visible, for instance in my case… when someone knows I have a disability… but it's up to you to also face other realities, even from society, even if you go in a queue that is a priority, and you aren’t respected, because your disability is not visible, right? But then, if the person knows, they start to treat you differently, but until then, they treated you normally because they think that...


Malta: humm


Natalhinha: The “normal”, which I don't even know if it's an interesting word to talk about so many different bodies, right?


Malta: Yeah.


Natalhinha: But people have this too, right? You were talking, and I was thinking about this issue of appearance. When we don't have it, when we actually have it, and… this thing about respect iself. About thinking that you need, or need the person to do everything, because you are incapable, because you have a disability.


Malta: Exactly. That's interesting because… I'm going to recall one of the situations... I was in a queue, for example at the bank. I went to ask a question, and the woman put me in front of the line, and a woman who was behind me, she started, “ah, I'm going to go to the doctor too. I’m going to ask for a certificate, I'm going to buy a cane so I can jump in front of everyone too” and I was pretending that it wasn't me. And she: “yeah, this is absurd, people like this”, and like… there really are days where I don’t seem to live with a visual disability. First, when I get to know an environment, I get by very well. Given that I have a small and closed eye, you can’t really see the eye, because it’s totally affected by the disability, all white, foggy. And… I’ve always cut my hair in various ways, it’s currently discoloured, with a different kind of style, and people also have this type of characterization that people with disabilities don’t dress well, right? It’s striking how strong this is. And then she began to speak these things, then the attendant began to call me, and three times she told me “you can come” and I tripped over my own cane, distracted, clumsy as always, and then as I was stumbling/falling, that was when she saw that I really did live with a visual disability. And the guy that was behind her said “see, you have to pay attention, how can you speak badly of someone like this”. So, there’s this thing of you needing to have to appear. There’s that thing of when I have a cane, people know, but when I don’t, people don't know. It changes… it’s striking how this already changes the treatment. Even in moments when I notice that someone is checking me out, and I notice when they notice the cane, and they stop looking. Like when they are very close to me and I notice them looking, looking, looking, when they see the cane, they already change. You know? It’s like, you’re checking me out, why do you need my contact too? You're in the mood (laughs). But then, and also this issue of thinking that the person really needs everything. You know? Like they can’t go to the bathroom alone, they can’t get a water, they can’t sit, they can’t do anything, they can’t like… in the case of someone in a wheelchair, do other activities. It ends up being suffocating. It’s these forms of treatment that really make someone with a disability feel disabled, and not simply just another person with a different body. Right? I’m certain that each of you for example, have limitations, that there are things that you have limitations with, there are things that you need help with, but that doesn't mean that you can't do other things.


[guitar track]


Elizabeth: Should we reflect on the possibilities of access and the reach of our work? It's long overdue that we talk about this.


Natalhinha: Music comes in from another place, which is different, because when we are linked to sound, there is a sense that it is real, physically real. It’s not just feeling it emotionally, it’s physical. I was even thinking about this yesterday. I was listening to music really loud, and in that space, my desire to dance was almost unavoidable in that place. The music was VERY loud, and even if I didn’t like the music and couldn’t understand the lyrics, in some way or another, I was PHYSCALLY feeling the need to dance. It's another way Of feeling art. The question of audio, because it comes from this thing of vibrations in the body, right? There are studies even that speak of this strong presence when we listen to percussive things, that it is natural for our body to pick up that rhythm, right? Then there lies that question, is it about understanding or feeling? Is music something different? Just a question to think about.


Elizabeth: Yeah... understanding what, right? Understanding what? What… audacity you have to think that you will put your work into the world and think that you will have some control over what it is, what people need to feel… What prepotency [arrogance] is this right? A work of art is justly the personification… it becomes universal when each individual makes their own representation right?   


Benita: That’s right.


Elizabeth: With music, we make our own representations, those who listen, right? And there's this thing that Natalhinha spoke about, it's physical. It vibrates in us, right? So… that's why music… it has this… this appeal… this very unique breadth.


Natalhinha: And it’s very accessible. Even in relation to other arts, because it reaches people almost in the same way, the quality of sound… of a famous artist that there records their music…that same music will play in a place that is very poor, with the same quality of frequency… What happens also? Sometimes access to visual arts ends up being through the screen of a computer, when one has this access, and it’s not the work in itself… it’s… let’s say, like a photograph of the work. It’s already another piece of work.


Benita: It's a reproduction, yeah.


Natalhinha: Yeah. So… with music, no, it arrives just like that. You can pass by a very humble house, and you will hear that same music that… that it will be playing there in that other house… there… of those people who have more purchasing power, in the same way. So, this question of access…I think that if there came some way for the other arts to be like music, it would be amazing right? So, access to art and… Could be… almost of the same quality, similar, maybe I think that's the word, it should be.


Elizabeth: What is our role as artists, creators… that this be a key point, when we finish a work, when we publish a work, when you write a text, when you add to your portfolio… What is our role in this area of accessibility, if we know that our life is political, that our art is political…and here is the final question… When we speak of representation in culture, where lie those with disabilities?


Benita: When you talk about this issue of accessibility for all, of our work being accessible to all, it is a constant exercise, eh? Because if we don’t instigate, if we don’t persist and insist on being accessible… It’s… This.. population which is large, which isn’t small... that is already made invisible, it can become even more, by who?.. by who says it’s accessible to all. Accessible… ah… when we say “my art goes everywhere”, but does it go to everyone? Right? One thing is it going everywhere, another thing is it being accessible to all who have multiple disabilities. Every time I go to share a work… in social media, which nowadays is the largest channel for disseminating, social media networks… I always… so, there is one thing that is very clear, which is the description of the image, but beyond this description, what more can I do to… for the message, that I am passing visually, to be understood by those who don’t have vision, right? Because many things aren’t conveyed with words. I keep thinking… words can’t describe, right? some sentiments. And I keep thinking that music… is something that we can link to photography. Music brings vibration, it brings sentiments/feelings. For this reason, nowadays I’m trying to bring in more audiovisual resources. To be able to have greater accessibility in photography. But this is a whole process of construction, which we go along trying to experiment with so that it can be accessible.


[track with light percussive instrument]


Malta: We have to see that accessibility… when it's not available, that’s when it makes us feel like defiça [disabled], as I've been saying, right (laughs). So… making sure there are subtitles…depending on the process… the interpretation of sign language… in videos and such. But this is also not financially accessible [affordable], right? We also have to also see how it is possible to work in this way. How can the government also help us in productions? With this type of tool. It's not easy to add subtitles, it's not easy to add a small screen there with a sign language interpreter. It's not financially accessible, for you to add audio description. It really is a value that… often goes beyond what, for example, a public call for funding can provide. So… but I think it's our right. It's something that we can chase after more and more, this right. And.. .for those who can, financially have a means of adding to this… that they do so. The same way that people non-defiças [nondisabled], they have to actually become accessible to accessibility, like in institutional bodies, like the university which I have… I have had daily work to try and have accessibility. To have good institutional attendance/care. I think artists also, we artists should… ah…  make ourselves accessible to accessibility, right? How can I, as an actress, for example, do a job that is accessible to everyone? Or at the least, obviously there are various types of disability, and within visual disability, for example, there are various types of perceptions. In auditory as well. So, I can’t standardize something, but I can access these worlds, and see how I, as an actress, for example, can do a work that reaches, through the sounds I emit, through the movements I make. Right? Just like an artist… a singer… I think, how can reach a person with a hearing disability? So, they… they can access that world, right? As I’ve heard from many, from some friends whom I’ve worked with, who live with deafness, from vibration, feeling the movements of who is playing the instrument. There exist people who live with auditory disabilities that are… that use devices, so they can also access it. Obviously, the way in which each one hears is different, whether with or without an auditory disability. So, I think that… the sculptor, the painter, right? They can also... how can I do a work that is accessible to everyone? So, I think I can’t simply focus on one class, I can't simply focus on one race, on one gender and simply… if I’m an artist, I have to bring my art to everyone. So how can I do this? I think that initiating from the moment in which I connect with the world, I can get to know much more than my own world, I can see beyond what I see, right, (laughs), says a visually impaired person. But I think it is just that. It's like, when I start to live with people and they say “how can I help you if I don’t know what to do?”, and I say “Simply, let’s talk” I think from the moment that I speak to you what I’m needing, or how to approach me, how to do something with me, it is when you get to know me. But this doesn’t mean that you have to treat everyone with visual disabilities in this way, because each one… each head is it’s own world, and each world turns differently. So, I think that’s it. Permitting ourselves to that which is different. Right? Because in the same way that I, for example, won’t accept someone simply coming here and saying: “look Malta, you’re going to have to behave like this, dress like this, walk in this way”, I won’t do that with another. But then I can understand what? The same way that I have a way of acting, dressing, dealing with things, I have my limitations according to what I require, so does the other person. It’s about knowing how to deal with what is different right? Knowing how to deal with the other. So, it’s that. The role of the artist is there. Knowing other worlds, so that you can… so that you can turn accessible accessibility.


[guitar track]


Elizabeth: In our first conversations, which we had during our construction of this podcast, you said a phrase that really stuck in my head. I wanted you to speak a bit about it. You said that defiças [disabled people] are meant to see the obvious; it stuck in my head. Because I think that in reality, this sentence has something of a literal meaning in the sense of this right here, of someone telling you what’s happening in a place or situation. But there’s also a bit of subjectivity in this phrase. That here it fits a bit to everyone, which is, “What do they expect from us”, like what do they want us to do in addition to what we are seeing. There’s a bit of reflection, of not… permitting beyond what is there. This lack of us…our passivity, as a society in itself, it crosses my path when you say this thing; what do we always want or look for? Or make us only see the obvious… Which is a kind of indignation, like, a sentence like this: “what is it that bothers you”?


Natalhinha: Because I think art is about feeling, really. We felt beyond what we are seeing, or hearing, or touching, having a tactile sensation. I think it goes beyond, like what we really feel. It's the sound that touches us, it's a light that hits, it gives us a sensation and takes us somewhere, I think that's it. Art has this power, to let us go to this other place too.


Malta: About this point… of the obvious, of seeing, of watching the obvious, I think it… really is…not allowing yourself to know someone with a disability, right? Not talking, not allowing yourself to be something different, (laughs). Each person who reads a book is creating a universe about, creating the scenario, they go on creating their own.. perspectives about what they are reading. So much so that when many people watch a film, they are disappointed. Because what is being produced there is that the director wants to bring. So, for example, an image is not materialized only through vision, the body, the eyes, simply, they are materialized through what you also feel, through what you are, imagine, right? Imagination, makes the image happen, and many times it can be much more incredible than what is actually being portrayed there, right? Physically speaking. I think the obvious is very, very vague. It is very close to the proportion of what you can bring to yourself. Whether it be a visually impaired person, or anyone else who doesn't live with them, right? Our imagination has an incredible ability to even transform things.


Elizabeth: What you speak about, about the obvious, this is really what we want to bring up in this podcast. But to bring the artist to this responsibility, because the only one who can speak of the context, the only one who can explain beyond the obvious, is the artist. They can do this with their work. They can, when launching a work, on any platform, They can do a description of the context of it. To help people who are going to do the audio descriptions, so that they too can have this material, this tool.


Natalhinha: Even if it’s not an explanation for those who are seeing it. Right? Like, each one will have their own perception when they hear, perceive that work. This question of the context of the thing in itself, of you thinking because such thing happened in that way, and you taking it to the public.


Elizabeth: And here we make an invitation. We invite all artists, their upcoming works, in their forthcoming releases, which have this theme present in their work as well. [track with percussive instrument] The meaning of a work of art can change depending on its context or who sees it, so the readings of the same object can be different. But this does not mean that one is better or more correct than the others. This podcast had the topic developed by Natalhinha Marinho and Elizabeth Caldas, and featured excerpts from the Curatorship of the Bienal de São Paulo and the writer Renata Corrêa. It is a production of Routina Filmes, with script and presentation by Elizabeth Caldas, and original soundtrack by Natalhina Marinho.


[original track by Natalhinha Marinho]


Natalinha sings:

Don't let the sadness enter here, I don't want to feel anymore

the pain that invades my chest now that extends it’s hand to me.

Look here young man, I didn't understand anything you said to me that night, I even became so lonely

Look here young man, I didn't understand anything you said to me tonight. Don't leave me alone

Extend your hand to me.

I look at almost everything, but deep down

I see almost nothing

I look at almost everything, but deep down

I see almost nothing

I look at almost everything, but deep down

I see almost nothing, nothing.


I look at almost everything, but deep down

I see almost nothing. [chorus repeat 2 more times]



[intro music]



Olga Aureliano: This channel is carried out by the NGO Ateliê Ambrosina from Maceió-Alagoas. And funded by the Western University of Canada, with me, Olga Aureliano in mediation and local production, alongside Vanessa Malta and Bruna Teixeira, my team partners. Anthropologists Nádia Meinerz and Pamela Block are project researchers. And the script, recording and editing is by Elizabeth Caldas and Natalhinha Marinho, co-creators of this episode. The finalization and intro music are by Rodrigo Policarpo, and the transcription is mine, with revision by Bruna Teixeira and translation into English by Deise Medina and Matthew Medeiros. Until next Monday.

Card cinza claro, quadrado, do podcast Retratos do Brasil com Deficiência. No centro de um triângulo em diferentes tons de lilás, a cabeça branca da medusa, de perfil esquerdo. O triângulo tem pontas arredondadas e está na horizontal, voltado para a direita. A medusa é uma figura feminina, da mitologia grega, com serpentes no lugar do cabelo. O rosto dela é branco e as serpentes são vazadas, com contorno branco, fino e parecem se mover em todas as direções. Na parte inferior, o nome do podcast. A frase Com deficiência está em negrito e Podcast, em negrito, maiúsculo.
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