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UK / BR 2009

Rachel Jacobs & Matt Watkins Rachel Jacobs is an artist, curator and lecturer.

Matt Watkins is an artist, technologist, designer and lecturer. Together, they are co-founders of Active Ingredient.

Reflections from The Dark Forest and Paralelo

HOW WE GOT THERE... Active Ingredient’s relationship with Brazil, and specifically São Paulo, began in 2005. We were invited by Paulo Hartmann to attend Mobilefest, an international festival of mobile technology, to present our work Heartlands. Heartlands1 was Active Ingredient’s first project that directly explored human’s response to their external environment by using bio and environmental data to create a playful experience. This project brought up many questions about how humans are affected by the environment as they journey through it, questions that brought us to Paralelo and our case study project – The Dark Forest. The project raised issues on how journeys through urban environments compared to rural environments effect human’s internal processes – how the external environment can effect human beings on a basic level – through our heart beats. 130

In opposition to the questions that arose from Heartlands, we have began to explore opposing issues with the Dark Forest project2 – how does a human and all the pervasive technology that we now carry with us impact nature and our fellow animals? Presenting work on the streets of São Paulo created an opportunity to dispel many preconceptions that are at the heart of every visit to a new country, city and culture. São Paulo is a true urban jungle; wherever there is green, the forest attempts to reclaim the streets. Some of the most untouched primary forest in the region in fact exists in a park in the centre of the city, a primary forest smothered by pollution from a city where the rich travel by helicopter from skyscraper to skyscraper, and the streets are gridlocked with cars. São Paulo is a rainy city. The clouds that gather over the forest surrounding it dump the rain on the paved streets. Despite its ambitions and futuristic appearance São Paulo is a city that is equally, inextricably linked to the forest that surrounds it, as is the case of our own small city of Nottingham, linked to Sherwood, the forest that made it famous around the world. In 2005, as I had a Caiprinha with Paulo Hartmann and Marcelo Godoy from Mobilefest, I was introduced to the Mobilefest BR163 Documentary Expedition. A concept developed by Marcelo through his production company NewTV. The BR163, for those who don’t know, is perhaps the most controversial road in the world, a dirt track going through the heart of the Amazon, from Cuiaba to Santarem. The Brazilian government has given the go ahead to pave the road over. This region of the

Paralelo - Unfolding Narratives: in Art, Technology & Environment  
Paralelo - Unfolding Narratives: in Art, Technology & Environment  

Paralelo - Unfolding Narratives: in Art, Technology & Environment (Paralelo - Narratives em Percurso: sobre Arte, Tecnologia e Meio-Ambiente...