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1hls lnLervlew, reallzed ln 1994, has been publlshed slnce Lhen ln mulLlple verslons ln several publlcaLlons. lL was
publlshed ln lLs enLlreLy for Lhe flrsL Llme on Lhe Web ln !"#$%&' )* +"%&,')* )" -,&" " ."/0*1*2$' )' 34'2"4,
n. 0, lnsLlLuLe de ArLe, ueparLamenLo de ArLes vlsuals, unlversldade de 8rasllla, 8razll
(hLLp://www.unb.br/vls/revlsLa/k.hLm).

567-!68 9-: ; .<5 -5=.<5.3:= 8> 63-?8@75
30&",#$"A BC =3+8D5 8=.<8>> EFGGHI

A LrlculLural, mulLlllngual, lnLerdlsclpllnary arLlsL, kac has cenLered hls work around Lhe
lnvesLlgaLlon of language and communlcaLlon processes, emphaslzlng dlaloglc experlences ln
a world lncreaslngly domlnaLed by Lhe mass medla. Crlglnally from 8lo de !anelro, Lduardo
kac has llved ln Chlcago slnce 1989. Pe has [usL accepLed a poslLlon as rofessor of ArL aL Lhe
unlverslLy of kenLucky ln LexlngLon, where he wlll sLarL Lhe program ln new Medla brlnglng
abouL currlculum change LhaL wlll lncorporaLe compuLer lmaglng, lnLeracLlvlLy, 3-u anlmaLlon,
mulLlmedla, compuLer-holography, and LelecommunlcaLlons as an arL form.

kac ls parL of Lhe 80's generaLlon ln 8razll, a generaLlon LhaL awoke from Lhe nlghLmare
creaLed flfLeen years earller by Lhe mlllLary dlcLaLorshlp. uurlng Lhe 80's, Lhe clvlllan socleLy
foughL for democracy and arLlsLs Look parL ln Lhe reclalmlng of pollLlcal freedom. ln Lhe flrsL
half of Lhe lasL decade, 8razlllan arL crlLlcs celebraLed Lhe reLurn Lo Lhe pleasures of palnLlng.
1he Lrans-avanL-garde movemenL, lnflaLed by Lhe medla reached myLhlc proporLlons.
Powever, as Lhe decade unfolded, Lhe dlverslLy of Lhe perlod became more clearly LranslaLed
ln lLs sculpLures, ob[ecLs, lnsLallaLlons, and mulLlmedla works. lollowlng Lhe 8razlllan avanL-
garde LradlLlon whlch, wlLhouL lgnorlng local rooLs, engaged ln Lhe lnLernaLlonal pool of
aesLheLlc and concepLual ldeas, kac was among Lhe few who conLlnued Lo charL new LerrlLory,
becomlng lncreaslngly concerned wlLh Lhe experlmenLal use of new Lechnologles and Lhe new
seL of culLural problems Lhey ralse. 1o hls presenL work wlLh LelecommunlcaLlons and
compuLer holography, he brlngs Lhe experlmenLal concerns we flnd ln hls early underground
performances on Lhe beach of lpanema.

ConLemporary 8razlllan arL has only recenLly began Lo recelve lnLernaLlonal recognlLlon
Lhrough Lhe works of young arLlsLs such as !ac Lelrner, uanlel Senlse, Leda CaLunda, 8eaLrlz
Mllhazes, Clldo Melreles, 1unga, Lo name a few. Powever, Lhe rlch culLural herlLage Lhese
arLlsLs are comlng from, remalns sLlll unknown ouLslde 8razll. WlLh few excepLlons, such as
Pello ClLlclca, who had a large reLrospecLlve Lravellng Lhrough Lurope and Lhe u.S. lasL year,
and Lygla Clark, whose work was on Lhe cover of ArL ln Amerlca, !uly 94 lssue, 8razlllan
culLural producLlon ls sLlll burled under medla lmages of exoLlclsm -- desLrucLlon of raln
foresLs, maglc reallsm, ab[ecL poverLy, Lroplcal lconography, exuberanL sensuallLy, and urban
vlolence.
Lmploylng language boLh as maLerlal and sub[ecL maLLer, kac explores ln hls holograms,
hyperLexLs, and Lelepresence evenLs, Lhe perplexlLles of language, culLure and consclousness
ln a new parLlclpaLory paradlgm. Worklng ln Lhe lnLersecLlon of llLeraLure and vlsual arLs, kac
lnvesLlgaLes Lhe verbal maLerlal ln a consLanL sLaLe of flux, engaglng Lhe parLlclpanLs ln a
dlalog LhaL ls conLlnuously generaLlng new meanlngs. Cn Lhe followlng pages kac Lalks abouL
Lhe developmenL of hls work from Lhe early 80's, as an experlmenLal wrlLer ln hls Leens, ln 8lo
de !anelro, Lo hls performances, holograms, LelecommunlcaLlon evenLs, and Lelepresence
lnsLallaLlons. Pe addresses boLh LheoreLlcal quesLlons and soclal concerns, areas LhaL remaln
lnseparable ln hls work.
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CsLhoff- ?ou seem Lo move very easlly beLween dlfferenL languages and culLures. uo you
Lhlnk LhaL growlng up ln 8lo de !anelro mlghL have anyLhlng Lo do wlLh LhaL, ln Lhe sense LhaL
8lo, as a porL clLy, has LradlLlonally been very cosmopollLan?

kac- l don'L feel Lled Lo any parLlcular place or culLure, buL l don'L know lf LhaL has Lo do wlLh
Lhe facL LhaL l grew up ln Copacabana, appreclaLlng LhaL mulLlpllclLy and dlverslLy as l grew up.
Many people l grew up wlLh do noL share LhaL vlew, or feel Lhe same way. My grandparenLs
were lmmlgranLs. 1haL may be a facLor, buL whaL makes me comforLable Loday, ls Lhe
posslblllLy of developlng Lhe work. 1haL comes flrsL.

C- ?ou have aL leasL Lhree sLrong culLural lnfluences. WlLh whlch one do you ldenLlfy Lhe
mosL?

k- l llke Lo Lhlnk of myself beyond naLlonal boundarles, and beyond medla boundarles as well.
l don'L see myself as "8razlllan arLlsL" or "Amerlcan arLlsL" or "Polography arLlsL" or
"CompuLer arLlsL" or "Language arLlsL" or "lnsLallaLlon arLlsL." l flnd LhaL labels are noL very
helpful and are ofLen used Lo marglnallze people. l have shown work ln holography shows and
Lhe same work ln shows LhaL address word and lmage lssues, or shows LhaL address Lhe use of
new medla. My name has been lncluded ln shows as represenLlng Lhe u.S. l have also shown
my work ln 8razll, as parL of naLlonal surveys. l prefer noL be bound by any parLlcular
naLlonallLy or geography. l work wlLh LelecommunlcaLlons Lrylng Lo break up Lhese
boundarles. Cbvlously, 8razlllan culLure ls an lmporLanL parL of my ldenLlLy, buL lL's noL Lhe
only one. l don'L see why l should have Lo choose only one aspecL of my lnLeresLs or my
ldenLlLy as Lhe predomlnanL one. l am comforLable wlLh Lhem all. l would llke Lhem all Lo
express Lhemselves and be equally presenL ln my experlence. lor lnsLance, l was ln Louch wlLh
a vlsual poeLry scholar from Callfornla. l senL hlm my work. Pe senL me a cordlal leLLer back
expresslng hls dlsappolnLmenL wlLh Lhe facL LhaL none of my works reflecLed, ln a dlrecL way,
any aspecL of a 8razlllan ldenLlLy. l was very dlsappolnLed wlLh hls dlsappolnLmenL. Can he
deflne whaL a 8razlllan arLlsL or a person born ln 8razll LhaL makes arL has Lo do? uoes
everybody who was born ln 8razll have Lo Lalk abouL Carmen Mlranda and bananas?
Cbvlously noL. eople are more complex Lhan any speclflc comparLmenL LhaL one mlghL wanL
Lo flL Lhem lnLo.

C- WhaL was Copacabana llke when you were growlng up?

k- Well, Copacabana has a llLLle blL of everyLhlng. lL ls also Lhe mosL densely populaLed
nelghborhood of 8lo de !anelro. ?ou flnd people from all walks of llfe, LourlsLs, LransvesLlLes,
lmmlgranLs from all parLs of Lhe counLry and Lhe world, lnLellecLuals, prosLlLuLes, movle and
Lelevlslon sLars, poor, rlch, mlddle-class famllles, senlor clLlzens, lL's a mlnl world ln lLself,
anyLhlng buL homogeneous. Cn Lop of lL all, lL's very beauLlful. lL ls a pleasure [usL belng Lhere
and walklng Lhere. 1hese days lL's very dangerous as well, a consequence of 8lo's many soclal
problems. ?ou have Lhe hllls wlLh Lhe shanLyLowns on one slde, and Lhe ALlanLlc Ccean on Lhe
oLher, wlLh very Lall bulldlngs ln beLween. 8lo ls a mlxLure of naLurally beauLlful mounLalns,
gorgeous beaches, and a very cosmopollLan clLy of abouL 6 mllllon lnhablLanLs. As a kld, Lhe
sLreeLs of Copacabana were my playground. l grew up ln a mlddle-class !ewlsh famlly. l had
llved my whole llfe ln Copacabana, unLll l lefL Lo come Lo Chlcago. l was ralsed by my
grandparenLs, who had fled oland a few years before Lhe war.

$
C- uld Lhey have a blg lnfluence ln your educaLlon?

k- 8esldes Lhe facL LhaL Lhey supporLed boLh morally and flnanclally my formal educaLlon up
Lo my 8A, Lhey also had a greaL lnfluence upon my llfe. My grandmoLher was a good
sLoryLeller and a greaL llsLener, she always advocaLed dlalogue. My grandparenLs were always
readlng someLhlng, books, newspapers, magazlnes. 8eadlng was an acLlvlLy Lhey were always
engaged ln. So, on Lhe one hand llLeraLure, and on Lhe oLher hand comlcs and Lelevlslon, were
very lmporLanL and lnfluenLlal ln Lerms of my Lhlnklng abouL lmages ln moLlon, Lhlnklng abouL
Lhe lnLerrelaLlonshlp beLween words and lmages.

C- WhaL was Lhe lnLellecLual and pollLlcal cllmaLe ln 8razll durlng Lhe laLe 70's?

k- ln Lhe laLe 1970's, Lhe counLry was slowly golng Lhrough a perlod of redemocraLlzaLlon,
followlng more Lhan a decade of mlllLary dlcLaLorshlp, LorLure of pollLlcal prlsoners, and
censorshlp. l became lnLeresLed ln body pollLlcs, and found myself readlng Wllhelm 8elch,
PerberL Marcuse, and 8oland 8arLhes, among oLhers. 1here was a cerLaln sense of recoverlng
a loL of Lhe Lhlngs LhaL were losL durlng Lhe prevlous years, because of Lhe lack of freedom,
because of SLaLe sancLloned Lerrorlsm. ln 1979, l was sevenLeen. 1ogeLher wlLh Lhls naLlonal
process of redlscovery of Lhe pleasures of belng allve and belng free, Lhere was also Lhe
Leenager's deslre Lo undersLand hlmself, undersLand oLhers, undersLand hls body, undersLand
reallLy, LhaL was [usL Lyplcal of LhaL age. lL was almosL as lf Lhe counLry were golng Lhrough
Lhe same process as a whole, LhaL process of dlscovery.

C- WhaL were your lnLeresLs aL LhaL Llme?

k- l read a loL. AfLer havlng read and sLudled Lhe work of Lhe mosL lmporLanL modern and
conLemporary 8razlllan poeLs, as well as some of Lhe mosL promlnenL modern and
conLemporary Amerlcan and Luropean poeLs, l noLlced LhaL works LhaL openly expressed
whaL l percelved as pollLlcal lssues relaLed Lo Lhe human body, were absenL from 8razlllan
poeLry. l dlscovered LhaL poeLry and wrlLlng acLually had a long, repressed LradlLlon, ln Lhe
sense LhaL poeLry was a form of verbal expresslon LhaL always suppressed anyLhlng LhaL had
Lo do wlLh bodlly funcLlons, body flulds, body parLs, scaLology, plural forms of sexuallLy. LlLLle
by llLLle l sLarLed Lo sLudy works LhaL dealL wlLh Lhese lssues, golng back Lo CaLulus, MarLlal,
AreLlno, Cregrlo de MaLos, 8ocage, all Lhe way Lo Lhe beauLlful Medleval 13Lh cenLury
"CanLlgas de Lscrnlo e Mal-dlzer do Canclonelro Medleval Calgo-orLugus" (Callclan-
orLuguese Medleval Songs of Sarcasm and MaledlcLlon) ln whlch Lhese bards slng Lhe female
body and Lhe male body and all Lhe bodlly funcLlons ln a way LhaL ls funny and lnLeresLlng. So,
from anclenL 8ome Lhrough Medleval Llmes Lhrough Lhe 8enalssance and Lhe 8aroque and
lnLo 19Lh cenLury forbldden language poems by verlalne and 8lmbaud, Apolllnalre's own
"obscene" poems, Lo Lhe more dramaLlc AnLonln ArLaud, ln Lhe use of scaLology and Lhe body
ln hls poeLry, and of course Marquls de Sade, l sLarLed Lo flnd LhaL lnLernaLlonal LradlLlon
whlch had celebraLed Lhe body free-splrlLedly. l also sLarLed Lo dlg ouL a loL of 8razlllan
wrlLlngs LhaL had Lo do wlLh LhaL, LhaL were, and sLlll are, kepL burled and ln cerLaln cases
have seldom or never been publlshed as ls Lhe case of 8ernardo Culmares' and Lmlllo de
Menezes's work. Coelho neLo was sorL of a laLe SymbollsL who produced works on Lhls Lheme
LhaL are absoluLely unknown. Lven Cswald de Andrade, who was one of Lhe founders of Lhe
AnLropophaglc MovemenL of Lhe 1920's, creaLed work ln Lhls veln as well, work whlch came
ouL only a couple of years ago.
%

C- Were you wrlLlng poeLry Lhen?

k- When l was 17, l won a naLlonal poeLry conLesL, whlch was very encouraglng. 8ecause of lL,
l meL some oLher poeLs, wrlLers, and arLlsLs. 1hen, Lhlngs changed qulLe a blL afLerwards. 1he
poeLry l developed afLer LhaL had sLrong pollLlcal overLones and was bulld on Lhe "forbldden"
vocabulary l found absenL from Lhe modern and conLemporary work l admlred. l focused on
semanLlc conLenL wlLhouL ornamenLaLlon or euphemlsm. l declded LhaL Lhls poeLry would
also lncorporaLe oLher elemenLs consldered lnferlor or unaccepLable by Lhe crlLlcs buL whlch
would be empaLhlc wlLh Lhe audlence, such as calembours, slang, and humor. 8uL very qulckly
-- everyLhlng seemed Lo have happened qulLe qulckly, aL LhaL sLage of my llfe -- Lhe work
moved Lo Lhe body acLually freed from Lhe LexL and ouL lnLo space, performlng and dolng
Lhlngs. l sLarLed Lo wrlLe speclflcally for publlc performances, raLher Lhan for book publlshlng,
addresslng Lhe man and Lhe woman on Lhe sLreeLs.

C- WhaL made you go from Lhe wrlLLen Lo Lhe performed poeLry?

k- AL Lhe Llme l sLarLed Lo quesLlon a loL of assumpLlons we have abouL language, prlmarlly on
a semanLlc level: Lhe sLlgmaLlzaLlon of language, how cerLaln expresslons are creaLed LhaL
make references Lo anlmals and dehumanlze men and women. for lnsLance, you say -- "luck
you!" as an aggresslve commenL. Pow come we goL Lo a polnL where someLhlng LhaL should
reflecL a very pleasanL, en[oyable, orglasLlc experlence has now Lurned ouL Lo be, ln our use of
language, a curse? Pow are cerLaln expresslons creaLed LhaL Lry Lo denlgraLe oLher forms of
sexuallLy LhaL are noL malnsLream? Pow are caplLallsm and lmperlallsm Lled Lo a cerLaln
exploraLlon and massacre of Lhe body? l was very lnLeresLed ln Lhe wrlLlngs of Wllllam 8elch
and hls vlews on sexuallLy, as well as Marcuse's. lL was a concern Lhen LhaL relaLed Lo Lhe
pollLlcal conLexL, buL was also a concern LhaL relaLed Lo Lhese lssues of wrlLLen language,
poeLry, and Lhe vlsual arLs. So, all Lhe way from Marquls de Sade Lo Marcel uuchamp, l
sLarLed Lo see LhaL Lhe human body was a fasclnaLlng supporL for work. l dldn'L wanL Lo do
body arL. 8uL l wanLed Lo do some klnd of body poeLry perhaps. So l made poeLry ouL of Lhe
raw maLerlal of Lhe forbldden slde of Lhe orLuguese language. l wanLed Lo Lurn lL around and
use Lhls forbldden vocabulary wlLh lLs llberaLlng power, wlLh lLs caLharLlc power, and creaLe a
pollLlcal vlew LhaL was Lled ln wlLh an appreclaLlon, a llberaLlon, a celebraLlon of Lhe human
body. And l wanLed LhaL Lo manlfesL lLself dlrecLly ln Lhe work. 1he performances from 1980-
82 had elemenLs of scaLology, surprlse, humor, subverslon, gags, and Lhe mundane. ln Lhese
poeLlc performances, Lhe so-called vulgar or bad words become noble and poslLlve.
ScaLologlcal dlscourse and pollLlcal dlscourse were one and Lhe same and were manlfesLed
Lhrough cheerful orglasLlc llberaLlon. lL was an aLLempL of uslng Lhe body and worklng wlLh
Lhe body as a Lool, as a medlum Lo express Lhe mulLlpllclLy of Lhe body, Lhe posslblllLles of Lhe
body, Lhe posslblllLles LhaL lnvolve mulLlple forms of sexuallLy as well as scaLology, and
everyLhlng LhaL has been kepL suppressed and repressed.

C- uld you perform alone?

k- lrom early 1980, Lo lebruary 1982, l worked wlLh a group of people LhaL became
lnLeresLed ln worklng along Lhe same veln. We gave weekly performances ln publlc and
prlvaLe spaces ln 8lo de !anelro and oLher 8razlllan clLles. uurlng Lhls perlod l also creaLed
grafflLl-poems, ob[ecL-poems, and sLlcker-poems, whlch expanded Lhe scope of my
&
performances. ln our group we had all klnds of polnLs of vlew belng expressed and shared
wlLh Lhe publlc. Many of us also embraced mulLlple forms of expresslon, be lL verbal, vlsual,
muslcal, or sexual or whaLever ln-beLween forms you have. 1here was Lhls vlew we all shared,
[usL a general openness Lo any form of expresslon.

C- Where dld Lhese performances Lake place?

k- Lvery lrlday nlghL we performed ln Lhe hearL of downLown 8lo, ln Clnelndla, an open area
where you have on one slde Lhe naLlonal Llbrary, on Lhe oLher slde Lhe Cpera Pouse and Lhe
SLaLe Pouse of 8epresenLaLlves. 1heaLers, booksLores, moLels, banks, movle LheaLers and bars
abound ln Lhe area. 1here are hundreds of people leavlng work, hanglng ouL, golng Lo bars
and [usL walklng around -- prosLlLuLes, lnLellecLuals, beggars, buslness execuLlves,
LransvesLlLes, bankers, sLreeL klds, arLlsLs, pollLlclans, sLreeL vendors. We found LhaL LhaL was
Lhe perfecL place Lo perform, noL only because lL was ln Lhe hearL of 8lo, Lhe very 8ohemlan
"allve" parL of Lown, buL also because you could address a very wlde range of people. lL
evenLually became known LhaL we were performlng regularly and some people came Lhere
speclflcally Lo see us. We dldn'L speclfy Llme or anyLhlng. All of a sudden, when Lhe whole
group was ln Lhe rlghL mood, we [usL sLarLed shouLlng very loudly ln all dlrecLlons. We were
very colorful and very dynamlc, wearlng sorL of funny, lnLeresLlng cloLhes. AL Lhe Llme, my
Lyplcal cosLume were Lhese scuba dlvlng red booLs. l Look my CrandmoLher's pa[amas for
panLs. l found Lhls eruvlan belL and sllk-screened Lhls L-shlrL wlLh a dlsLlch LhaL was also one
of Lhe sLlcker-poems -- "ra curar amor laLnlco/s uma Lrepada Pomerlca."(1o cure
laLonlc love/only a Pomerlc screw). We used Lo Lravel a loL and performed ln varlous places
such as Lhe beach, whlch was absoluLely free, buL also ln LheaLers, where people would have
Lo pay Lo see us. We would do sudden performances ln Lhe mlddle of soclal gaLherlngs and
oLher evenLs. We would lmprovlse a loL. /p>

C- lL seems Lo me LhaL you were uslng scaLology, Lhe vernacular, mulLlple forms of sexuallLy,
humor, as a pollLlcal Lool, and a way of undermlnlng Lhe phallocenLrlc paLrlarchal foundaLlon.
Was Lhere any speclflc pollLlcal agenda ln your mlnd aL Lhe Llme?

k- l guess Lhe 26 years l llved ln 8razll LaughL me noL Lo belleve ln organlzed pollLlcs. My group
belleved LhaL we could perhaps change people's llves ln a smaller way, openlng up Lhelr eyes
Lo oLher forms of exlsLence, forms of behavlor, forms of sexuallLy, and forms of Lhlnklng, LhaL
perhaps Lhey were noL even aware of.

C- Were Lhese performances Lhe only ouLleL your work had aL LhaL Llme?

k- no. l publlshed Lwo anLhologles of poeLry, complllng work LhaL was produced ln LhaL veln.
1here was also anoLher aspecL of LhaL work -- lndlvldual performances. l dld a revlslon of
llavlo de Carvalho's "novo 1ra[e Mascullno" plece (new Male CarmenL). l also dld
performances LhaL were noL for a llve audlence buL for Lhe camera. 1hls whole pro[ecL was
documenLed ln lLs Lhree-year span ln varled forms, lncludlng books, magazlnes, newspapers,
and Lelevlslon and radlo coverage. ln 1983, l publlshed an arLlsL's book, called LSC8ACPC,
whlch ls a word very dlfflculL Lo LranslaLe. lL can mean a number of Lhlngs, llke: dlrecL, blaLanL,
unmasked, perverLed, sarcasm, Lo dress carelessly, Lo be booked ln Lhe pollce headquarLers,
demorallze, Lease, make fun of, eLc. Some of Lhe work ln LSC8ACPC sLlll has Lles wlLh Lhe
body-based work l was dolng aL Lhe Llme, some ls already polnLlng ln oLher dlrecLlons.
'

C- WhaL was your revlslon of llavlo de Carvalho's plece?

k- l was aware of Lhe work llavlo de Carvalho flrsL dld ln Lhe early 30's, whlch he called
"Lxperlences". ln 1931, for example, he wore a haL and walked ln Lhe opposlLe dlrecLlon of a
Corpus ChrlsLl processlon Lo quesLlon Lhe raLlonale of Lhe rlLual and Lo sLudy Lhe mulLlple
consequences of hls own acL. 1he parLlclpanLs wanLed Lo beaL hlm up. Much laLer wlLh
kaprow and oLhers, Lhls klnd of work would be known as "Pappenlngs" and "erformance
ArL". 8uL llvlo de Carvalho was afLer someLhlng else, a psychologlcal edge. ln 1936 he
deslgned and made Lhls whole new male garmenL, whlch lncluded a sklrL for beLLer
venLllaLlon, and he wore lL once on Lhe sLreeLs of So aulo. lL was shocklng. eople LhoughL
he was crazy, whlch he klnd of was, ln Lhe besL sense of Lhe word. Pe proposed Lo change Lhe
way 8razlllan men dress. l LhoughL Lhls work was a very lmporLanL precursor Lo oLher ldeas
relaLlng Lo Lhe body. l chose Lo wear a sklrL on a regular basls, ln Lhe same way a woman
wears panLs golng Lo Lhe supermarkeL or Lo concerLs. 1hls "belng Lhere" ln a real llfe slLuaLlon,
as opposed Lo sLaglng a performance, whlch was llavlo's case, was Lhe nexL radlcal sLep.

C- lL ls qulLe common Lo see men wearlng sklrLs and a general exalLaLlon of androgyny durlng
Carnlval ln 8razll. Powever, Lo do so wlLhln a day-Lo-day conLexL, blurrlng and shlfLlng gender
dlsLlncLlon Lo LhaL exLenL, was probably beyond Lhe llmlLs our paLrlarchal socleLy, sLlll under a
mlllLary dlcLaLorshlp, was wllllng Lo accepL. l lmaglne LhaL you musL have encounLered qulLe a
reacLlon...

k- eople yelled aL and spaL on me... l llke Lo Lhlnk more of acLlvaLlng Lhe space around
myself, maklng people look back and reflecL on assumpLlons Lhey make abouL people's
sexuallLy, as well as Lhe convenLlons LhaL dlcLaLe whaL we can wear, whaL we should look llke.
ConsequenLly, Lhls work helps us quesLlon Lhe cllches, sLereoLypes and sLlgmas LhaL are
assoclaLed wlLh soclal behavlor, boLh ln language and lmages ln our llves. Cn Lhe one hand,
you can look aL Lhls as an exLended performance LhaL lasLed for abouL Lwo years. Cn Lhe
oLher hand, you can look aL lL as an aLLempL Lo break down Lhe barrler of arL and llfe. ?ou see,
l am a !ew who doesn'L go Lo Lhe Synagogue as well as a 8razlllan who doesn'L geL lnLo Lhe
splrlL of Carnlval. uresslng llke LhaL, Lo me, had noLhlng Lo do wlLh a carnlvalesque aLLlLude.

C- 1he way l see lL, Lhe llmlLaLlons of Lhe offlclal Carnlval are noL necessarlly Lhose of
carnlvalesque sLraLegles ln Lhe arLs. l am looklng aL your performance as a carnlvalesque-
Lransgresslve meLaphor, and ln LhaL sense, lL has been prevlously used, noL only by Lhe
8razlllan avanL-gardes, ln order Lo subverL LradlLlonal hlerarchles. l am [usL sLreLchlng Lhe
concepL beyond Lhe four offlclal days of Carnlval, Lhe same way you dld.

k- ln LhaL sense, yes. ?ou are saylng LhaL l have rebelled agalnsL Lhe offlclal Carnlval, whlch ls
someLhlng unLhlnkable, and preLLy hard Lo do. (Laughs) never LhoughL of lL Lhls way, buL lL
makes perfecL sense ln llghL of my general dlsdaln for any form of organlzed behavlor.

C- l musL confess, lL ls very hard Lo plcLure you wlLh a sklrL on.

k- AL Lhe Llme, l was a baskeLball player and Lhe muscles ln my legs were very sallenL. l was
daLlng a very sensual and charmlng 'morena', and l would go ouL wlLh her, dressed ln Lhls plnk
mlnl sklrL, wearlng a L-shlrL wlLh Lhe Anarchy symbol, and a punk braceleL. l also had very long
(
curly halr. eople could noL Lell lf l was a gay man ln Lhe company of a sLralghL woman, or lf l
was a crazy sLralghL man, a LransvesLlLe, or lf l was a blsexual. 1hey [usL could noL resolve
whaL Lhe hell l was.

C- WhaL klnd of performances dld you do for Lhe camera?

k- 1he ldea of approxlmaLlng Lhe leLLer and Lhe human body culmlnaLed ln pleces ln whlch l
performed so as Lo creaLe Lhe leLLers Lhemselves wlLh my own body. l reallzed Lhe only way l
could push Lhe performances furLher was Lo Lransform my body lnLo an alphabeL. Cne of
Lhese phoLographs was on Lhe cover of LSC8ACPC. 1here were oLher pleces. ln one of Lhem, l
am maklng love Lo sLyllzed leLLers LhaL spell CLM. Lach leLLer had graphlc sexual lnnuendos.

C- When dld your work wlLh performances end?

k- l reallzed LhaL by early '82 l had done whaL l had Lo do wlLhln LhaL framework, LhaL lL was
abouL Llme Lo move on. lL [usL so happened LhaL Lhe 60Lh annlversary of Semana de ArLe
Moderna (Week of Modern ArL) of 1922 was golng Lo be celebraLed ln lebruary. l felL LhaL
LhaL was a good daLe, and declded Lo Lake advanLage of LhaL colncldence and conclude Lhe
pro[ecL aL Lhe same Llme LhaL Lhe Semana occurred. noL necessarlly Lrylng Lo lmply any
parallels, lL's [usL LhaL same sense of llberaLlon. lL was a llberaLlon Lo do Lhe work, and lL was
anoLher llberaLlon Lo move on, Lo geL ouL of lL. 1he lasL performance on Lhe beach was very
lnLeresLlng.

C- ln whlch way?

k- We dld Lhe whole body of performance LhaL we used Lo do, wlLh Lhe verbal presenLaLlons,
Lhe songs, Lhe puzzles, Lhe surprlse ob[ecL presenLaLlon, Lhe grafflLl done ln real Llme, all Lhese
dlfferenL Lhlngs LhaL we used Lo do. 1hen, Lowards Lhe end of Lhe performance, we sLarLed Lo
undress, and called upon everybody around us Lo undress Loo, and many people dld. And
Lhere we were ln a naLural sLaLe. And Lhen we made Lhls demonsLraLlon, wlLh manlfesLos,
slogans and banners. eople LhaL we dld noL know, all of a sudden, appeared wlLh cameras,
wlLh sculpLures, wlLh Lhlngs. We [usL sorL of acLlvaLed Lhe whole beach. lpanema beach
around 'posLo 9' became Lhls franLlc, Lhls lnLeresLlng, dynamlc place. Some people followed
us. Some people sorL of walked around us. 1hen, Lowards Lhe very end, as a gesLure of reblrLh
and purlflcaLlon, we all wenL lnLo Lhe ocean. We came ouL of Lhe ocean, hand ln hand. 1haL
was lL. lL was Lhls reblrLh, Lhls sLrlpplng down of everyLhlng, Lhls redlscovery. 1haL was Lhe
end. lL was exLremely graLlfylng. Lverybody had a greaL Llme, noL only Lhe performers, buL Lhe
people. 1here were no physlcal boundarles beLween performers and audlence, everybody
was mlngllng LogeLher. And Lhere was Lhls wonderful celebraLlon. Cswald de Andrade wroLe
ln 1928 ln Lhe AnLhropophaglc ManlfesLo LhaL before Lhe orLuguese dlscovered 8razll, 8razll
had dlscovered happlness. So ln a sense, LhaL performance was a redlscovery of happlness
and whaL could have been more approprlaLe Lo celebraLe Lhe Semana... And Lo me LhaL was
lL. 1haL was Lhe lasL performance.

C- WhaL happened afLer LhaL?

k- My lnLeresL for word and lmage lssues conLlnued Lo lncrease as my dedlcaLlon Lo oral and
verslfled poeLry ended. 8eLween 1982 and 1983 l was very unsaLlsfled by whaL l Lhen
)
consldered Lhe bllnd alley of vlsual poeLry. Aware of Lhe mulLlple dlrecLlons Lhe genre had
Laken ln Lhe LwenLleLh cenLury, l experlmenLed wlLh dlfferenL medla. l worked wlLh mulLlple
medla -- blllboards, olarold cameras, arLlsL's books, flne grafflLl, elecLronlc slgnboards, mall
arL, phoLocoplers, vldeoLexL, and flnally holography.

C- 1he show "Como val voc, Cerao 80?",(Pow Are ?ou, '80s CeneraLlon?) whlch
happened ln arque La[e, 8lo, ln 1984, ls sLlll consldered one of Lhe mosL lmporLanL shows of
Lhe decade, ln 8razll. lL launched many careers and hlghllghLed arLlsLlc Lendencles. WhaL klnd
of work dld you show Lhere ?

k- l had already made my flrsL hologram when Lhe Cerao 80 show came up. 8uL, l was also
worklng wlLh publlc lnsLallaLlons, blllboards. l was maklng LwenLy-seven meLer square murals
based on Cro-Magnon cave palnLlngs LhaL were dlsplayed publlcly, boLh ln So aulo and ln
8lo. And LhaL's whaL l showed ln Lhe Cerao 80 show. Cn a personal level, lL was very
lmporLanL for me Lo parLlclpaLe ln LhaL show because lL deflned LhaL generaLlon of arLlsLs,
presenLlng Lhe mulLlpllclLy, Lhe dlverslLy of medla and lnLeresLs, from Lhose who were
mlmlcklng 8onlLo Cllva's lLallan Lrans-avanL-garde, Lo Lhose, llke myself, who were lnLeresLed
ln explorlng new Lechnologles and mulLl-medla posslblllLles.

C- Could you Lrace Lhe formal developmenL of your work up Lo Lhls polnL?

k- See, my problem was, l was flrsL deallng wlLh LradlLlonal language, Lhen Lhe body became
Lhe lssue. 1hen Lhe body was performlng verbally. 1hen Lhe body became wrlLLen language
lLself. l had moved so far away from Lhe page, from Lhe surface of Lhe page, LhaL l dldn'L see
any golng back. Pavlng moved so far from sLable surfaces, such as Lhose of ob[ecLs and Lhose
of Lhe surface of Lhe page, l had Lo flnd someLhlng else. l sLarLed Lo explore a loL of oLher
medla and became lnLeresLed ln holography.

C- When dld holography become reallLy, so Lo speak, for you?

k- l recalled havlng read ln '69, when l was 7, a comlc book, of all Lhlngs, ln whlch Lhe maln
characLer was golng Lo flghL Lhls vlllaln. And Lhe vlllaln was Lhls glganLlc hologram. As a kld, l
used Lo collecL comlc books, and l sLlll have Lhls one comlc book ln orLuguese. 1he hero, ln
order Lo flghL Lhls vlllaln, had Lo become hlmself a glganLlc hologram. ln some of Lhe balloons,
Lhe vlllaln and Lhe hero would explaln whaL holography was ln a very lndlrecL way. So LhaL
sorL of came back Lo me. l kepL readlng abouL Lhe demaLerlallzed lmage, Lhe mulLlple polnLs
of vlew, Lhe 3u lmage conLalned on a 2u surface. 8uL LhaL seemed Lo be a pure paradox. l was
lnLrlgued buL l could noL vlsuallze lL. An encyclopedla arLlcle l read ln my Leens descrlbed Lhe
sclenLlflc prlnclples of holography, buL LhaL was noL enough. ln So aulo ln 1983, a llLLle
before Lhe Cerao 80 show, an arLlsL l had lncluded ln LSC8ACPC, knew someone wlLh llLLle
experlence who was bulldlng a small holographlc lab. l called hlm and he was wllllng Lo see
me. lL was Lhere LhaL l saw my flrsL hologram and l reallzed lmmedlaLely LhaL LhaL was whaL l
wanLed Lo do. So, havlng no clue exacLly how holograms were made, or anyLhlng, lL became
obvlous LhaL LhaL was Lhe medlum LhaL would allow me Lo solve Lhe aesLheLlc problem l had
lmposed upon myself. l worked wlLh hlm for a couple of years on my pro[ecL, whlch resulLed
ln a show -- Polopoesla, aL Lhe Museum of lmage and Sound ln So aulo. A few monLhs laLer,
Lhe show came Lo 8lo. l recelved excellenL press coverage lncludlng from many 1v sLaLlons.
8ecause on Lop of everyLhlng, Lhls was probably one of Lhe flrsL Llmes LhaL arL made wlLh
*
holography was seen Lhere, lf noL Lhe flrsL Llme, l don'L know, buL cerLalnly one of Lhe flrsL
Llmes. So Lhere was all LhaL curloslLy abouL lL. 1haL was very sLlmulaLlng.

C- WhaL klnd of supporL dld you flnd for your ldeas ln 8razll aL LhaL Llme?

k- 1he new generaLlon of arL crlLlcs ln 8lo, lncludlng Marcus LonLra, 8eynaldo 8oels, and Lygla
Canongla, supporLed my work. A few arLlsLs, llke Abraham alaLnlk and Anna 8ella Celger,
were also supporLlve. Some Llme laLer, l managed Lo geL several granLs from lederal
lnsLlLuLlons, buL my work was noL lncluded ln Lhe lnLernaLlonal shows LhaL were meanL Lo be
represenLaLlve of my generaLlon.

C- uld you have any flnanclal or lnsLlLuLlonal supporL durlng 1983-83, ln Lhe 8lo-So aulo
perlod?


k- no. AgalnsL all odds, l was able Lo fund Lhls work ouL of my pockeL, as a college sLudenL,
baslcally. ?ou know, l was sLlll ln college, worklng parL-Llme and dolng whaLever l could. l was
buylng fllm LhaL was noL avallable ln Lhe counLry, LhaL had Lo come from Lhe u.S. l was paylng
for my own expenses, Lravellng back and forLh beLween 8lo and So aulo, whlch represenLs
a dlsLance somewhaL equlvalenL Lo Lhe dlsLance from Chlcago Lo ueLrolL, on a very regular
basls, elLher flylng, or Laklng Lhe Lraln, or Laklng Lhe bus, for Lwo years. l guess l carrled Lhe
same obsesslon from Lhe performance perlod lnLo holography ln Lhls flrsL phase, buL you have
Lo do LhaL. 8ecause lL's LhaL lnlLlal momenL where you're developlng, you're learnlng, you're
explorlng. 1hls lnlLlal Lwo-year perlod resulLed ln Lwo shows and also some publlcaLlons, and
Lhen laLer, ln a resldency aL Lhe Museum of Polography ln new ?ork ln '86, and a Lrlp Lo
Lurope ln '87 Lo show work. 8ack ln 8lo, l presenLed Lhe work ln a second solo show ln '86. l
also organlzed wlLh llvlo lerraz, a 8razlllan arLlsL who also works wlLh compuLers, Lhe 8razll
Plgh 1ech show, whlch was Lhe flrsL naLlonal survey of 8razlllan arLlsLs worklng wlLh new
Lechnologlcal medla speclflcally. 1haL was also ln 1986.

C- Where dld Lhe 8razll Plgh 1ech show Lake place ? WhaL klnd of work could one see ln lL?

k- 1he show was ln 8lo, aL Lhe Calerla do CenLro Lmpresarlal 8lo, a very nlce gallery ln fronL of
8oLafogo beach. lL aLLracLed a loL of publlclLy and a loL of people. lL was Lhe mosL popular
show ln Lhe gallery ever. 1here were eleven arLlsLs from So aulo and Lwo from 8lo. We seL
up a daLabase for arL works. When l say daLabase for arL works, l don'L mean arL works LhaL
exlsLed prevlously ln oLher medla LhaL were Lhen puL ln Lhese daLabases, llke people are dolng
now, MlcrosofL and many Museums are dolng LhaL. l mean LhaL Lhese were arL works creaLed
for Lhe medlum of vldeoLexL, and were made Lherefore avallable, on-llne, so LhaL people
could see Lhem from any parL of Lhe counLry. 1here were also lnfrared sculpLures, compuLer
anlmaLlons, holograms, vldeoLheaLer performances, and a roboL LhaL was a mlxLure of
sculpLure, performer and gallery hosL.

C- AfLer you came back from new ?ork, dld you conLlnue Lo make your holograms ln So
aulo?

k- no. l managed Lo puL a slmple lab LogeLher ln Copacabana, Lwo blocks away from Lhe
beach. l wenL Lo Lhe beach Lo geL sand Lo bulld my vlbraLlon lsolaLlon Lable. 1o pay Lhe bllls l
"+
worked as a [ournallsL for several newspapers ln 8lo and So aulo. l worked all day, came
back home exhausLed, and wenL Lo Lhe lab unLll 2 or 3 ln Lhe mornlng, baslcally every nlghL. lL
was exLremely dlfflculL, noL only because of my dayLlme schedule, whlch , l guess a loL of
people had Lo deal wlLh Loo. 1he blggesL problem was LhaL none of Lhe maLerlals l had Lo
work wlLh were avallable ln Lhe counLry. l was never able Lo buy any fllm Lhere. CpLlcs were
very hard Lo geL. LveryLhlng LhaL a holographer needs Lo work wlLh ls vlrLually lmposslble Lo
geL Lhere. 8uL when my laser broke down for Lhe flrsL Llme, LhaL's when reallLy seLLled ln, and
l reallzed LhaL lL was lmposslble Lo conLlnue Lo work ln 8razll. l senL my laser back Lo Lhe u.S.
once. l goL lL back. 1he manufacLurer sald lL was flxed and lL [usL wouldn'L work. LlLher Lhey
flxed lL and lL broke on Lhe way back, or Lhey dldn'L, buL Lhe facL was, l couldn'L use lL. l senL lL
back, and goL lL back and lL sLlll dldn'L work. AfLer Lhe Lhlrd aLLempL Lo flx lL, and havlng spenL
a couple years dolng LhaL, from '86-'88, l reallzed LhaL Lhls was a dead-end. l was never golng
Lo be able Lo acLually be producLlve and experlmenL and geL my work done. ln Lhe meanLlme,
l was worklng ln collaboraLlon wlLh anoLher arLlsL Lo creaLe my flrsL compuLer-generaLed, fully
synLheslzed holographlc plece, whlch resulLed ln my Lhlrd solo show enLlLled PolofracLal, ln
1988. l reallzed Lhen LhaL l had Lo leave, and Lhe counLry of cholce was Lhe u.S.

C- ?ou have always found a way Lo conLlnue pursulng your lnLeresLs, lnslde or ouLslde
lnsLlLuLlons, belng very resourceful ln flndlng lnformaLlon perLlnenL Lo your work. As a
[ournallsL, you have publlshed lmporLanL lnLervlews wlLh some key arLlsLs ln Lhe hlsLory of
Modernlsm ln 8razll LhaL were lefL behlnd, burled by Lhe offlclal accounLs of arL hlsLory, as
was Lhe case of Lhe poeL Luls Aranha and Lhe vlsual arLlsL Abraham alaLnlk. ls Lhls a sklll you
developed ln Lhe years you worked as a [ournallsL?

k- l don'L know. l guess lf you really wanL Lo know whaL's golng on, Lhe way l look aL lL, you
have Lo flnd ouL for yourself... ulLlmaLely, Lhls ldea of researchlng, and flndlng ouL for yourself
has always been my maln Lool, my maln meLhod of produclng work.

C- ?ou already menLloned llavlo de Carvalho, were Lhere any oLher early arLlsLlc lnfluences?

k- l was always very lnLeresLed ln Lhe avanL-garde slde of 8razlllan arL. eople are sLlll very
surprlsed when l menLlon ln lecLures LhaL modern arL sLarLed ln 8razll wlLh Lwo women. And l
do LhaL rlghL ln Lhe beglnnlng of my lecLures Lo make people reallze LhaL some expecLaLlons
Lhey mlghL have abouL whaL 8razll ls all abouL mlghL fall aparL rlghL away. Cne of Lhem ls LhaL
8razlllan arL ls made of colorful palnLlngs and folk ob[ecLs, whlch ls of course, only one aspecL
of our herlLage, Lhe one normally labeled as Lhe "exoLlc and prlmlLlve LradlLlon". 8uL Lhere ls
also, among oLhers, a whole LradlLlon of avanL-garde lnnovaLlve work, whlch sLlll remalns
unknown. Lygla Clark and Pello ClLlclca, Abraham alaLnlk and Waldemar Cordelro are some
of Lhe arLlsLs LhaL l admlre Lhe mosL ln Lhe 8razlllan conLexL. l belleve Lhelr experlences
Lranscend local lssues and have a Lrue unlversal conLrlbuLlon. WhaL l see as a common ground
ln Lhem ls a LoLal re[ecLlon of whaL Lhey lnherlLed from prevlous generaLlons. 1hey really
declded Lo dlgesL whaL had been done, break new ground, and Lry Lo flnd Lhelr own paLh, no
maLLer Lhe prlce Lhey had Lo pay. l admlre Lhelr lesson and yeL, l deflnlLely wanL Lo avold
dupllcaLlng Lhelr resulLs, dupllcaLlng anybody's resulLs.

C- Pello and Lygla addressed Lhe relaLlonshlp beLween arL and llfe, deallng wlLh Lhe body ln a
phenomenologlcal sense. alaLnlk and Cordelro worked on Lhe fronLler beLween arL and
Lechnology. lrom Lhe beglnnlng of your career you seem Lo have conLlnuously searched Lo
""
esLabllsh a dlalog among percepLlon and cognlLlon, sensorlal experlence and raLlonallLy, and
Lhese domalns of human culLure -- sclence, arL and llfe.

k- l guess you are rlghL. l am fasclnaLed boLh by Lhe human body and by Lhe posslblllLles of
Lechnology. 1hese arLlsLs have always exclLed my lmaglnaLlon. 1he flne arLs have LradlLlonally
prlvlleged vlsuallLy and deflned Lhe vlewer as Lhls dlsembodled eye. l Lhlnk Pello ClLlclca and
Lygla Clark puL Lhe resL of Lhe body back lnLo Lhe vlewer, who becomes parLlclpanL. And lnLo
Lhe arLlsL hlmself/herself as well. 1he ldea of lnLeracLlvlLy, LhaL Pello and Lygla always pursued
ln a qulLe dramaLlc way, Lhe ldea of Lhe work as a llvlng organlsm, was very lmporLanL Lo me.
1he ldea LhaL Lhe work only exlsLs when manlpulaLed by Lhe vlewer, LhaL lnLellecL and
lnLulLlon cannoL be separaLed, ls someLhlng LhaL has Lo do wlLh Lhe whole neoconcreLe
movemenL. Pello and Lygla blended Lhe more raLlonal aspecL of ConsLrucLlvlsm wlLh Lhe more
sensorlal aspecL of whaL lL ls Lo llve ln 8razll, and produced very orlglnal work ouL of Lhls.
WhaL some could see as anLlnomy, Lhey saw as perhaps Lwo sldes of Lhe same coln. 1hey had
already reallzed LhaL Lhere was much more Lo arL Lhan Lhe producLlon of ob[ecLs. 1oday,
however, mosL of Lhese works LhaL were meanL Lo be manlpulaLed are now ln lmporLanL
collecLlons and Lhey can'L even be Louched, whlch ls klnd of sad. Pello's arangoles are noL
belng danced wlLh. When Lhey are shown ln a museum, Lhey are hanglng llfeless. 1hey're dry
and klnd of old. 1hey were noL meanL Lo be seen LhaL way, and lL's sad LhaL works LhaL do noL
conform wlLh LradlLlon, LhaL do noL conform wlLh Lhe ldea of Lhe arLwork belng an ob[ecL LhaL
you hang on Lhe wall, or you puL on a pedesLal, end up LhaL way. When Lhey don'L even have
some klnd of maLerlal embodlmenL, llke LelecommunlcaLlon arL evenLs, Lhen Lhey [usL
dlsappear. lL's anoLher problem LhaL needs Lo be addressed. A new generaLlon of curaLors
musL learn Lo deal wlLh Lhe problem of preservlng, documenLlng, and sharlng wlLh Lhe publlc,
evenLs of LhaL naLure.

C- Colng back Lo early lnfluences, how were Lhe experlences of Cordelro and alaLnlk relevanL
Lo your work?

k- Cordelro and alaLnlk are dlfferenL ln many ways, parLlcularly ln Lhe facL LhaL Cordelro
approprlaLed Lhe compuLer, a Lechnology LhaL exlsLed already, for dlfferenL purposes. And we
musL remember LhaL Lhe compuLer aL LhaL Llme was noL an lmage-maklng Lool. lL was
prlmarlly for buslness, sLaLlsLlcs, and number crunchlng. l Lhlnk Cordelro really came up wlLh
someLhlng unlque when, Lowards Lhe end of hls career, from '68 Lo '73, Lo be more preclse,
he used an l8M malnframe Lo make lmages LhaL were very sLrong ln pollLlcal conLenL, durlng
Lhe helghL of Lhe mlllLary dlcLaLorshlp. 1hls was very lnLeresLlng, hls whole aLLlLude of
reallzlng LhaL we musL lnvesLlgaLe Lhe posslblllLles of new Lechnologles for arL maklng. 1he
work he dld durlng LhaL perlod of Llme ls really remarkable. alaLnlk ls by deflnlLlon Lhe
ploneer of klneLlc arL ln Lhe second half of Lhls cenLury. Pe produced Lhe "clnechromaLlc" llghL
machlne, as Marlo edrosa once called Lhem, and showed lL publlcly aL Lhe flrsL So aulo
8lenal ln 1931. Pe also worked wlLh moLlon and magneLlsm. Pe came from absLracL palnLlng,
Lrylng Lo push lL beyond Lhe canvas Lowards pure llghL, and Lhen he ended up sLarLlng a whole
new fleld. 1haL ls fasclnaLlng Lo me. 1haL ls Lhe klnd of aLLlLude, Lhe klnd of lesson l've
absorbed and LhaL l admlre. Pe was addresslng a fundamenLal quesLlon of arL lLself. alnLers
have pushed Lhe canvas and lssues of color and llghL ln palnLlng Lo a cerLaln llmlL. WlLh
alaLnlk, we're Lalklng abouL movemenL and llghL. WlLh alaLnlk, color ls free ln space.
alnLlng becomes a Llme-based evenL. ?ou look aL a alaLnlk plece and you look aL yourself,
you are enveloped ln a fleld of color. LlghL ls floaLlng around you and you are lmmersed ln
"#
LhaL fleld of llghL. lL lmmerses Lhe vlewer ln a color fleld. lL's colorfleld palnLlng ln anoLher
sense.

C- And lnLernaLlonal arLlsLs, whlch ones were more relevanL Lo your work?

k- Moholy-nagy ls a name LhaL always comes Lo mlnd. Moholy ls an arLlsL whose llfe and
achlevemenLs l have sLudled exLenslvely. Pe's an arLlsL LhaL l Lruly admlre ln all aspecLs. Pe
always belleved ln llghL as an arLlsLlc means. Pe ploneered klneLlc arL and LelecommunlcaLlon
arL. Moholy Louched on so many dlfferenL aspecLs, so many dlfferenL posslblllLles for llghL and
arL... buL agaln, lL ls Lhe lesson of lnqulry LhaL he lefL us LhaL l Lhlnk ls Lruly remarkable. l
admlred and sLudled 8odchenko, SchwlLLers, uuchamp, 1akls, 1lnguely, Schoeffer, kosuLh and
Mark 8oLhko, Lo name a few. l llke Lo Lhlnk of language as colorflelds whlch blend, mulLlply
and change. WhaL happens when you Lhlnk of language ln LhaL way? ln my holograms, l Lry Lo
address Lhls quesLlon. 1haL's a connecLlon LhaL l sLarLed Lo make only recenLly. 1he polnL
would be, whaL lf you're Lhlnklng of Lhe LranslLlons ln language ln a way LhaL's somewhaL
slmllar Lo Lhe way you see LranslLlons ln a colorfleld palnLlng by 8oLhko. 1hese ldeas fasclnaLe
me because LhaL's an lmposslblllLy ln Lerms of language as a pracLlcal means of soclal
lnLercourse. 8uL experlmenLal poeLry ls noL a pracLlcal means of soclal lnLercourse. oeLry ls
an open ground for dlscovery and lnvenLlon, and so ls arL. And when vlsual arL and poeLry and
language arL come LogeLher, or word and lmage come LogeLher ln a color fleld LhaL osclllaLes
as ln my holograms, Lhen, l feel somewhaL close Lo 8oLhko, Lo Lhe beauLy of LhaL colorfleld
LhaL ls enveloplng ln a splrlLual way.

C- Would you deflne your work as vlsual poeLry or language arL?

k- lf we conslder Lhese Lwo exLremes, wrlLers golng Lowards Lhe world of vlsual arLs
developlng whaL ls known as vlsual poeLry, and vlsual arLlsLs golng Lowards Lhe world of
wrlLers developlng whaL ls known as language arL, l would llke Lo oscllaLe beLween Lhese Lwo
poles. l hope LhaL my works would engage Lhe vlewer or Lhe parLlclpanL, boLh aL a llLerary
level and a vlsual level.

C- ?ou colned Lhe Lerm holopoeLry and have been searchlng Lhe posslblllLles of holographlc
poeLry slnce 1983. Could you relaLe your holopoems Lo Lhe LradlLlon of vlsual poeLry as well?

k- Many conLemporary arLlsLs use language, buL mosL seem Lo be lnLeresLed ln Lhe way
language ls used ln Lhe medla. l'm more lnLeresLed ln Lhe zone of lnLersecLlon beLween
llLeraLure and vlsual arLs. vlsual poeLry, for example, has a long ancesLry, whlch runs from
Slmlas of 8hodes (clrca 323 8C), Lhrough Lhe 8aroque poeLs, Lo Mallarme, Lo MarlneLLl,
Apolllnalre, Pousmann, kamensky, Cummlngs, and 8eloll, and Lo Lhe experlmenLal poeLs from
Lhe 40's and 70's, lncludlng Lhose assoclaLed wlLh lrench LeLrlsm and oesle Sonore, 8razlllan
ConcreLlsm and neoConcreLlsm, lLallan oesla vlslva, and many oLhers. l have always been
exclLed abouL Lhe ldeas LhaL came ouL of Lhe neo-concreLe movemenL ln 8razll, and l wlll glve
you an example from a collaboraLlon beLween lerrelra Cullar and Pello ClLlclca, whlch l
always found fasclnaLlng -- oema LnLerrado (8urled oem), whlch lnvolved vlewer
parLlclpaLlon. 1he "8urled oem" was bullL ln Pello's yard, and Cullar sLlll Lells Lhe sLory Loday
LhaL Pello's faLher was very upseL because Pello was dlgglng Lhls glganLlc hole ln Lhelr yard.
8uL Lhey made Lhls hole underground and you had Lo go lnslde Lhls underground cube. 1here
you would flnd anoLher cube. ?ou llfLed LhaL cube, and Lhen found anoLher cube, and Lhen on
"$
Lhe boLLom of Lhls lasL cube, ln Lhe ground, you would read Lhe word "8L!uvLnA1L",
re[uvenesa ln orLuguese, whlch ls [usL awesomely beauLlful. And LhaL capLlvaLed my
lmaglnaLlon. Pow can you use a slngle word and, by lnvolvlng Lhe body, uslng space, color,
and Lhe acLlon of Lhe vlewer, charge LhaL slngle word wlLh so much power, LhaL lL surpasses
any dlcLlonary deflnlLlon LhaL you can posslbly Lhlnk of, and ln many cases, surpasses Lhe
whole experlence of readlng a 30-page poem? Pow can we push Lhe word beyond synLax,
beyond lLs llmlLs and charge lL wlLh energy, wlLh meanlng, LhaL you could noL do oLherwlse?
?ou're lnvolvlng Lhree-dlmenslonallLy, verbal economy, and Lhe ldea of belng born agaln.
8ecause you're acLually golng underground, you're ln Lhe grave, and Lhen you read Lhe word.
?ou're empowered, you're re-energlzed by Lhe word, and Lhen you come ouL. 1he power of
Lhe word, ln Louch wlLh Lhe body, and wlLh earLh, ln Louch wlLh Lhree-dlmenslonallLy of space
and Llme. And no oLher arL movemenL ln 8razlllan hlsLory Louched on Lhese lssues as
dynamlcally and as lnLenslvely as Lhe neo-ConcreLe movemenL.

C- ?ou have baslcally only used words as your holographlc lmages. Can you Lalk abouL Lhls
process of LransformaLlon beLween verbal and vlsual elemenLs?

k- 1he reason l goL lnvolved wlLh holography ln Lhe flrsL place was agaln because of language.
Lach of my holograms addresses a dlfferenL problem so Lo speak, a dlfferenL lssue. 8uL Lhere
ls someLhlng LhaL underllnes Lhem all -- my lnLeresL ln communlcaLlon processes. l am noL
lnLeresLed ln holography as a 3u form, we mlghL as well look aL sculpLure. l am really
lnLeresLed ln holography as a 4u medlum, as a Llme-based medlum. ln many of my
holograms, you have a bl-dlrecLlonal paLh for Llme. l [usL don'L Lhlnk llnearly, ln Lerms of one
word afLer anoLher, as we normally speak and wrlLe. l [usL don'L Lhlnk ln Lerms of arL works
LhaL way anymore. ln my holograms, l'm less lnLeresLed ln conveylng Lhe resulL of my
LhoughL. l'm more lnLeresLed ln conveylng Lhe process of my LhoughL. 1haL's why Lhe
language ln my holograms flucLuaLes and osclllaLes and changes, and dlsappears. l only work
wlLh language, l don'L use ob[ecLs, l don'L use people, l don'L use any form of flgure.
8y noL havlng a llnear sequence, you can explore Lhe lmage ln any dlrecLlon you wanL. ?ou
have a Llme-reversal posslblllLy. 1here ls no hlerarchy, no cllmax. 1here ls no suspense. lL's
almosL llke lf you had a sLrlp of fllm LhaL you suspended ln Llme, and LhaL you can, ln your
mlnd's eye, pro[ecL LhaL, ln any dlrecLlon LhaL you wanL, buL noL only horlzonLally, also
verLlcally, dlagonally, any way ln space. ?ou plan, you orchesLraLe Llme sLrucLures ln space.
?ou're really deallng wlLh a space-Llme conLlnuum and breaklng lL lnLo orchesLraLed
dlsconLlnulLles. l Lhlnk everyLhlng LhaL l have done ls a consequence of Lhls fasclnaLlon for
communlcaLlon processes ln lL's mulLlple forms. 8e lL communlcaLlng wlLh Lhe body on Lhe
beach, or Lhrough an elecLronlc medlum, Lhe fasclnaLlon ls wlLh Lhe communlcaLlon process
lLself.

C- Pow would you deflne communlcaLlon ln arL?

k- AbsoluLely. lf someLhlng ls LoLally predeLermlned Lhere's no communlcaLlon. lL ls noLhlng
buL unllaLeral Lransmlsslon. CommunlcaLlon musL lmply openness. CommunlcaLlon musL
lmply bl-dlrecLlonallLy or mulLlple dlrecLlonallLy. ln Lhls case you are deallng wlLh a neLwork. lL
could be bl-dlrecLlonal as on Lhe phone or lL could be mulLl-parLy, as on a neLwork. l Lhlnk
communlcaLlon lmplles, as agaln 8audrlllard has sald, responslblllLy. When 8audrlllard Lalks
abouL resLorlng responslblllLy Lo Lhe medla, l love Lhe amblgulLy of Lhls senLence because lL
refers Lo Lhe soclal responslblllLy LhaL Lhe medla has, buL lL also opens up Lhe ldea for Lhe
"%
arLlsL Lo resLore Lhe responslblllLy of Lhe medla, ln Lhe sense LhaL Lhe medla musL allow
people Lo respond. 1he medla musL brlng people closer, noL keep Lhem aparL, as Lelevlslon
does. 1he medla musL allow for people Lo lnLeracL, Lo share, Lo dlscover LogeLher, raLher Lhan
be aL Lhe end as consumers. So Lhls ldea of shared spaLloLemporal responslblllLy ls whaL l Lruly
undersLand by communlcaLlon.

C- l undersLand now why you llke Lhe Lelephone so much. l remember a sLory you Lold me
abouL belng fasclnaLed by Lhe posslblllLles of Lhe Lelephone slnce you were a kld, because lL
separaLed volce from gesLure and faclal movemenL. lL was ln Lhe dlaloglc essence of LhaL
machlne you were probably lnLeresLed ln.

k- l am a phone freak, l musL confess. l llke Lhe posslblllLy of exchanglng and sharlng. l llke
Lhese forms of communlcaLlon LhaL lnvolve reclproclLy. LaLely l have also been worklng wlLh
lnLeracLlve navlgaLlonal LexLs, hyper-LexLs and hyper-medla. l have flnlshed one plece and l
wanL Lo conLlnue explorlng LhaL Loo. 1here are cerLaln Lhlngs LhaL l can only do ln holography
Lhough, Lhere ls a level of lnLeracLlvlLy LhaL only holography has. Powever, Lhere are oLher
Lhlngs LhaL only ln LhaL labyrlnLh-llke sLrucLure of hypermedla l can creaLe, as l've done
recenLly approprlaLlng Lhe sLrucLure of Lhe kabbalah Lree.

C- 1hls alluslon Lo Lhe kabbalah ln your work, ls lL a reference LhaL goes back Lo your
chlldhood? When does LhaL LradlLlon Lle lnLo your llfe and lnLo your work?

k- As a kld, l performed !ewlsh rlLuals wlLh my famlly. l sLudled Pebrew for elghL years, whlch
ls klnd of losL now because, you musL admlL lL, lf you llve on Copacabana beach for a quarLer
of a cenLury as l dld, you really have no use for Pebrew. l love Lhe language and l wlll
hopefully come back Lo lL. l don'L know lf aL school, or ouL of my own curloslLy, or lf sLeered
by my grandma, Lhe facL ls LhaL l goL lnLeresLed ln Lhe kabbalah and Lhe whole myLhology and
llLeraLure LhaL comes wlLh lL -- Lhe Colem, Lhe ulbuk, LlllLh, who was Lhe flrsL woman, Lhe
archeLype of Lhe lndependenL woman. l became fasclnaLed wlLh all LhaL mysLlclsm. ?ou sLarL
Lhlnklng abouL Colem, you sLarL Lhlnklng abouL Lhe ulbuk, you sLarL Lhlnklng abouL all Lhese
Lhlngs LhaL really exclLe your lmaglnaLlon.
And Lhen when you Lalk abouL kabbalah, you necessarlly sLarL Lalklng abouL Lhe way language
works and how Lhese dlfferenL sysLems, such as Lhe sysLem of numbers and Lhe sysLem of
language, noL Lo menLlon many oLhers, are relaLed, and Lhe mulLlpllclLy of meanlngs LhaL
resulL from Lhese complex relaLlons and permuLaLlons and layers of slmbollc lnLerpreLaLlons. l
would noL have Lhe amblLlon Lo say LhaL l fully comprehend nor LhaL l have sLudled kabbalah
ln depLh. l've read abouL lL and l keep comlng back Lo lL. ulbuk was ln one of my Lhree-
dlmenslonal grafflLls from 1983. My new "SLorms" plece, from 1993, ls an lnLeracLlve LexL, Lhe
sLrucLure of whlch ls based on a 17Lh cenLury SeflroLlc Lree of Lhe kabbalah. AnoLher
lnLeresLlng polnL of lnLersecLlon Lhere ls Lhe relaLlon beLween dlglLal hypermedla and Lhe
non-llnear sLrucLure of Lhe 1almud.

C- When you deal wlLh language ln your work, are you Lhlnklng of language as a unlversal
caLegory? uoes lL make any dlfference whlch speclflc language you use?

k- 1he facL LhaL l am worklng ouLslde synLax ls very lmporLanL. l remove language from lLs
funcLlon as soclal lnLercourse and Lry Lo geL Lo more fundamenLal levels. l [usL respond Lo
dlfferenL conLexLs. l wlll elLher use one of Lhe languages l am conforLable wlLh or do research
"&
and work wlLh a parLlcular language, lf Lhe concepL calls for lL. very ofLen, because l am
worklng ouLslde Lhe synLax of Lngllsh, some of Lhese pleces can work ln mulLlple languages aL
Lhe same Llme. 8ecause once Lhe words are removed from a grammaLlcal conLlnuum, Lhey
can be read ln mulLlple ways and ln many languages as well, noL Lo menLlon LhaL cerLaln
fragmenLs LhaL floaL ln Lhe holographlc space-Llme can also be read as full words ln oLher
languages.

C- WhaL ls Lhe lmporLance of holography as a medlum Lo Lhe way you deal wlLh language?

k- 1he reason l was aLLracLed Lo holography was because wlLh lL l can creaLe very complex
dlsconLlnuous spaLloLemporal evenLs LhaL l could noL do ln any oLher elecLronlc medlum, llke
LLu slgnboards and vldeo-LexL, whlch l have used slnce 1984, ln 8lo. 1here ls someLhlng
lnLrlnslc abouL Lhe holographlc medlum LhaL allows me Lo work wlLh language floaLlng ln
space and Llme, belng dlsconLlnuous, breaklng down, melLlng and dlssolvlng, and recomblnlng
lLself Lo produce new meanlngs. 1haL klnd of work reveals a dlsLrusL, a dlsbellef ln Lhe ldea
LhaL we can slmply use language Lo communlcaLe a message. We say--" uo you know whaL l
mean?", " uo you know whaL l am Lalklng abouL?", Lhese senLences we use on a regular basls
express our aLLempL our deslre Lo domlnaLe language Lo make language Lhe slave of a
meanlng.
l belleve LhaL meanlng wlll emerge only Lhrough Lhe engagemenL of Lhose envolved ln Lhe
process. ln Lhe case of Lhe hologram when Lhe vlewer comes Lo see lL and sLarLs Lo look
around, bounces hls or her head, squaLs down, orchesLraLes LhaL whole dance ln fronL of Lhe
hologram, meanlngs wlll or wlll noL emerge based on Lhe personal experlence of Lhe vlewer.
1he engagemenL of Lhe vlewer wlLh Lhe plece reveals Lhe facL LhaL reallLy, language, Lhe way
we percelve and lnLeracL, all Lakes place accordlng Lo our polnL of vlew.

C- CLher conLemporary arLlsLs, !enny Polzer and 8arbara kruger for lnsLance, are also
slLuaLed ln Lhls same lnLersecLlon of word and lmage. 1he way l see lL, Lhey are uslng language
ln a more dlrecL way, conveylng sLralghLforward messages LhaL are presenLed as facLual, even
when Lhey sound amblvalenL. Could you commenL on Lhe dlfferenL approach Lo language ln
your work and ln Lhelrs?

k- ?ou can noL resolve Lhe problem of meanlng. Words are noL conLalners LhaL hold
"meanlng" llke a cup conLalns coffee. l don'L Lhlnk one can even fully undersLand anyLhlng or
anyone. l belleve LhaL Lhere wlll always be a Lenslon beLween whaL one Lrles Lo communlcaLe
and whaL one Lrles Lo undersLand, and Lhls Lenslon osclllaLes wlLh Lhe dynamlc web of
language. l don'L really belleve ln Lhe ldea of a message LhaL exlsLs prlor Lo Lhe engagemenL of
Lhose lnvolved ln Lhe process. l really dlsLrusL Lhe ldea of communlcaLlon when lL comes from
one end and lL goes Lowards Lhe oLher end, wlLh no opporLunlLy for Lhe oLher person Lo
parLlclpaLe. 1haL's whaL happens ln Lelevlslon, radlo, Lhe mass medla, LhaL preLLy much deflne
our collecLlve unconsclous, Lhe mass medla deflnlng whaL we see, whaL we hear, whaL we are
exposed Lo, whaL we dream of. l really dlsLrusL Lhese sysLems when lL comes down Lo
language.
l am lnLeresLed ln proposlng alLernaLlves Lo Lhe unldlrecLlonallLy of Lhe sysLem of arL. l Lhlnk
LhaL, we have come Lo reallze LhaL language ls Lruly unsLable and absoluLely LurbulenL.
Language speaks us lnsLead of our speaklng Lhe language. We would llke Lo be ln conLrol of
language, we would llke Lo arresL Lhls flux of evenLs LhaL surrounds us. l belleve ln negoLlaLlon
of meanlng, noL communlcaLlon of meanlng. When l defend a model of language as
"'
flucLuaLlng, osclllaLlng LurbulenL and so forLh, l am noL Lalklng abouL amblgulLy ln a sLable
model of language LhaL can be lnLerpreLed ln one way or anoLher. l am Lalklng abouL a
compleLely dlfferenL model of language, a model ln whlch language ln a sense escapes us. 1he
reallzaLlon LhaL language has lLs own dynamlc, and no maLLer how much one Lrles Lo grasp lL,
how much one Lrles Lo arresL lL , how much one Lrles Lo condense and ob[ecLlfy lL, lL's golng Lo
conLlnue Lo splll off, and splll ouL, and blend and merge and dlssolve. When we use language
ln a llnear way, we are ln danger of bypasslng Lhe fundamenLal problem of our own medlum,
whlch ls language lLself. WhaL abouL language's role ln shaplng our percepLlon of Lhe world? l
am Lrylng Lo deal wlLh a problem LhaL l see as belng essenLlally eplsLemologlcal. l am Lrylng Lo
reflecL on Lhe very naLure of language, focuslng parLlcularly on wrlLLen language. Pow does
language shape our reallLy, deflne our own ldenLlLy? Pow does lL engage or noL, our LhoughLs
ln Lhe process of dlalogue?

C- l belleve LhaL ln !enny Polzer's and 8arbara kruger's case, Lhere ls a pollLlcal concern, a
deslre Lo presenL Lhe work Lo a larger publlc.

k- LveryLhlng ls pollLlcal: a baLhroom grafflLLl ls pollLlcal and so ls an eplsLemologlcal
dlscusslon.

C- World wlde LelecommunlcaLlons creaLe a new conLexL for Lhe pollLlcal debaLe. When dld
you sLarL worklng wlLh LelecommunlcaLlons as an arL form?

k- lL was ln 1983, around Lhe Llme of Lhe "Cerao 80 Show" LhaL l became lnLeresLed ln
worklng wlLh LelecommunlcaLlon processes. My bachelors degree, from 8lo's CaLhollc
unlverslLy, ls ln CommunlcaLlons buL none of Lhe Lhlngs l wanLed Lo do ln Lhe llne ArLs were
really LaughL ln schools aL LhaL Llme. 1here were no arLlsLs, no schools, noLhlng organlzed or
even dlsorganlzed where one could learn holography, compuLer-lmaglng, mulLl-medla work,
noL Lo menLlon LelecommunlcaLlons. ln 1983, l Look parL ln an on-llne arL gallery LhaL was seL
up by a company ln So aulo. Some arLlsLs parLlclpaLed ln LhaL, and l had some works on-
llne. Cne could see LhaL from any parL of Lhe counLry. 1haL was someLhlng LhaL encouraged
me Lo conLlnue and Lo Lry Lo do works LhaL were more lnLeracLlve. So around LhaL Llme l meL
Marlo 8amlro, a sculpLor from So aulo, who was worklng wlLh zero gravlLy and lnfrared
sources. Pe had done some work wlLh LelecommunlcaLlons. l became very enLhuslasLlc abouL
lL, havlng seen Lhe few Lhlngs he had done. We explored bl-dlrecLlonal fax Lransmlsslons
LogeLher, developlng a whole charL of expresslve posslblllLles of Lhe fax machlne, wlLh Lhe
supporL from a local fax manufacLurer, who gave us Lhe phone llnes and Lhe fax machlnes Lo
work wlLh. We also worked wlLh fax Lransmlsslons lnvolvlng a llve Lelevlslon broadcasL.
As a consequence of LhaL work, whlle sLlll ln 8razll, l became lnLeresLed ln Lhe ldea LhaL
LelecommunlcaLlons could be used for arL, noL only Lo send, recelve, manlpulaLe, and change
lmage, sound, and LexL ln Lhe process, buL perhaps Lo engage Lhe space where Lhe remoLe
person, remoLe arLlsL, Lhe remoLe LelecommunlcaLlon apparaLus ls locaLed. Maybe LhaL space
could be acLlvaLed somehow Lhrough LelecommunlcaLlons. ln 1987-88, l drew some skeLches
for pleces LhaL would use remoLe conLrol and remoLe senslng and oLher relaLed ldeas Lo push
LelecommunlcaLlons lnLo a more physlcal domaln. 1he ldea ls Lo do Lhe non-physlcal where
Lhe physlcal belongs, Lhe physlcal where Lhe lmmaLerlal belongs. All Lhls Lo desLablllze our
expecLaLlon abouL how Lhese Lhlngs should work, Lo merge Lhem, Lo brlng Lhem LogeLher, Lo
see how Lhey produce meanlng when Lhey confllcL, Lo sLudy Lhe Lenslon beLween Lhem. lL was
noL unLll l came Lo Chlcago Lo geL my MasLers degree, ln pursulL prlmarlly of access Lo
"(
holography faclllLles and more approprlaLe condlLlons Lo develop Lhe work, LhaL lL became
posslble Lo develop, ln collaboraLlon wlLh Ld 8enneLL, whaL l now call Lelepresence
lnsLallaLlons.

C- Why Chlcago?

k- l recelved a granL from Lhe 8razlllan governmenL Lo pursue my graduaLe sLudles abroad. l
chose Chlcago because lL has a very sLrong LradlLlon ln holography, and you have Lhe School
of Lhe ArL lnsLlLuLe whlch has been Leachlng holography as an lnLegral parL of Lhe currlculum
slnce Lhe early 80's. 1here ls a nucleus ln Lhe clLy LhaL ls noL excluslvely relaLed Lo Lhe flne
arLs, buL ls lnLeresLed ln promoLlng holography. l LaughL sLudlo and arL hlsLory classes for
more Lhan Lhree years aL SAlC, unLll l moved Lo LexlngLon, kenLucky, Lhls pasL AugusL.

C- ?ou have llved here ln Chlcago for Lhe lasL 6 years. WhaL has been Lhe lmpacL of Lhe move
Lo Lhe u.S. ln your work?

k- Well, l was already dolng Lhe work wlLh holography LhaL l do now sLarLlng ln '83, and l goL
here ln '89, so ln LhaL sense, lL dldn'L really change Lhe work dramaLlcally. Powever, lL made
posslble for me Lo conLlnue dolng lL, ln Lhe sense of havlng access Lo Lhe maLerlal condlLlons
LhaL allowed me Lo Lake Lhe work Lo Lhe nexL sLep LhaL l wanLed Lo Lake lL. 1haL was acLually
Lhe maln reason why l lefL 8lo and came Lo Chlcago ln Lhe flrsL place. AlLhough lL really hasn'L
changed much ln Lerms of "whaL ls lL" LhaL l'm dolng.

C- uld you flnd a more supporLlve envlronmenL for your work and your ldeas here ln Chlcago?

k- ln a sense, yes. l have meL and collaboraLed wlLh many arLlsLs boLh ln Lhe u.S. and ln
Lurope slnce l arrlved here. l worked a loL wlLh 8ruce 8reland, and Lhe group uAx, ln
lLLsburgh. Cne of Lhe pleces we dld beLween Chlcago and lLLsburgh was called lnLerfaces, ln
whlch l Lrled Lo resLore some of Lhe sponLaneous quallLy of face-Lo-face conversaLlon, buL
uslng vldeo lmages LransmlLLed one aL a Llme over Lhe phone llne. So we had no verbal or oral
communlcaLlon, buL we would send lmages of faces, creaLed llve on Lhe spoL. 1hese faces
would overlap on llne and Lhls was pro[ecLed on a very large screen here ln Chlcago, so
people could see LhaL. 8uL Lhls was really noL work for an audlence. 1he work ln
LelecommunlcaLlon ls for anybody LhaL parLlclpaLes ln Lhe work, noL for Lhe concepL of
somebody waLchlng lL, alLhough you can make lL avallable so people can see whaL's
happenlng. ln Lhls case, lnLermedlary faces were belng formed. So, we were sharlng and
creaLlng ldenLlLles over Lhe phone llne, collaglng my eyes wlLh hls face, parL of hls mouLh wlLh
my face. 1hese elemenLs were ever flowlng and changlng. 1hey were never qulLe resolved.
And Lhls was happenlng as a sorL of conversaLlon. And LhaL was happenlng bl-dlrecLlonally,
conLlnuously, llve, Lhrough Lhe phone llne. 1haL was lnLerface ln 1990. Slnce 1989, l have
developed wlLh Ld 8enneL Lhe Lelepresence serles of lnsLallaLlons.

C- Pow would you deflne Lelepresence arL?

k- 1elepresence arL can be ldenLlfled ln Lhe lnLersecLlon of roboLlcs, LelecommunlcaLlons, and
compuLers. lL ls parL of a wlder framework of elecLronlc lnLeracLlve arL. lL lmplles less sLress
on form (and composlLlon) and more emphasls on behavlor (cholce, acLlon) and negoLlaLlon
of meanlng. lL hlghllghLs Lhe publlc who, as parLlclpanLs, acqulre an acLlve role ln shaplng Lhelr
")
own fleld of experlence. 1he role of Lhe arLlsL here ls noL Lo encode messages unldlrecLlonally,
buL Lo deflne parameLers from whlch experlences wlll unfold. 1elepresence arL also lmplles
Lhe prlmacy of real Llme over real space.

C- 1he emphasls on experlence and process seems Lo be cenLral Lo your Lelepresence
lnsLallaLlons. Pow do you deal wlLh Lhls lssue of real Llme over real space ln your work? Could
you Lalk abouL a speclflc evenL?

k- l creaLe Lhe lnsLallaLlons Lo Lhe scale of Lhe LeleroboL and concepLuallze a cerLaln elecLronlc
sensorlal apparaLus on board. Pavlng done LhaL, l ask you Lo navlgaLe ln Lhls space from a
remoLe place, Lo move around, Lo make declslons and Lo experlence Lhls space accordlng Lo
your own declslon maklng process, so Lhere ls noLhlng LhaL wlll deLermlne your experlence
prlor Lo you havlng lL. lor lnsLance, ln Lhls parLlcular case of CrnlLorrlnco on Lhe Moon, whlch
Look place ln '93, beLween Chlcago and Lhe museum kunsLlerhaus ln CraLz, AusLrla, people
would come Lo Lhe museum ln AusLrla and push Lhe buLLons on Lhe Lelephone and Lhey would
see a monlLor, whlch happened Lo be green Lhls Llme. l LreaL Lhe keypad as a CarLeslan grld.
?ou push Lhe number 2, Lhe roboL moves forward lmmedlaLly. ?ou push Lhe number 3, Lhe
roboL Lurns rlghL, and so forLh. We keep changlng Lhe lnsLallaLlon ln all aspecLs. 1he roboL ls
never Lhe same, Lhe lnLerface ls never Lhe same, noLhlng ls ever Lhe same. WhaL ls lL? Well,
lL's noLhlng unLll you make lL. So you push Lhe buLLons on Lhe phone, and you navlgaLe
around. ?ou see Lhe dlfferenL places. ?ou consLrucL, Lhrough Lhese lsolaLed sLlll lmages LhaL
you capLure from Lhe polnL of vlew of Lhe roboL, Lhe space ln your mlnd. 8uL Lhen comes Lhe
nexL person and navlgaLes ln a dlfferenL dlrecLlon, does noL percelve Lhe same Lhlng you saw,
and LhaL person consLrucLs a compleLely dlfferenL space. So, Lhe Lhlngs people see, Lhe noLlon
of Lhe Lhree-dlmenslonal space Lhey are navlgaLlng ln, all Lhese dlfferenL Lhlngs are relaLlve Lo
Lhe polnLs of vlew LhaL you pursue ln your exploraLlon of LhaL space. And each person leaves
LhaL space wlLh a dlfferenL Moon, a compleLely dlfferenL undersLandlng of whaL LhaL space
looks llke. lL's noL LhaL Lhey are falllng Lo accompllsh anyLhlng. no, Lhey are accompllshlng
whaL ls ouL Lhere Lo accompllsh, whlch ls Lo navlgaLe ln a slLuaLlonal envlromenL and
consLrucL Lhelr own experlence.

C- WhaL was Lhe Lelepresence lnsLallaLlon CrnlLorrlnco ln Copacabana llke?

k- 1he lnsLallaLlon was parL of Lhe Slggraph ArL Show ln 1992, ln Chlcago. eople navlgaLed ln
Lhe lnsLallaLlon from McCormlck lace, where Lhe Lelephone and Lhe vldeo monlLor were, buL
Lhe lnsLallaLlon lLself was ln Lhe LlecLronlcs deparLmenL of Lhe School of Lhe ArL lnsLlLuLe. So,
people came Lo McCormlck lace and Lhrough a monlLor and a Lelephone llnk, conLrolled Lhe
LeleroboL aL Lhe School of Lhe ArL lnsLlLuLe and looked aL Lhe space. 8uL Lhere wasn'L ln Lhe
lnsLallaLlon really anyLhlng LhaL would mlmlc Copacabana ln parLlcular. 1he leaves were
lmprovlsed. 1he lmages of flsh were drawn from llfe aL WoolworLh. And Lhe llzard, for
example, l drew from llfe waLchlng a llzard ln Lhls peL shop on 8elmonL sLreeL, close Lo where
l used Lo llve. 1haL's Copacabana for me. Copacabana ls my sulLcase. Copacabana ls llke Lhls
posLcard l have on Lhe wall, buL lL's a posLcard LhaL ls also ln my hearL. 8uL my hearL ls my
sulLcase and my sulLcase ls on my wall.

C- WhaL was Lhe publlc's reacLlon afLer Lhey experlenced "Copacabana" Lhrough Lhe
eyes/camera of CrnlLorrlnco?

"*
k- Some loved lL and some dldn'L. Many dldn'L undersLand lL. Curlously, durlng Lhe Slggraph
ArL Show, among Lhe 23,000 people LhaL came Lo Lhe show, Lhls genLleman experlenced Lhe
work, and sLarLed Lhls conversaLlon wlLh me abouL Lhe plece. Pe sald LhaL he belleved Lhe
work was lnLeresLlng buL LhaL he dldn'L Lhlnk lL was arL. l was Lhen Lalklng Lo hlm abouL some
of Lhe ldeas behlnd my work, abouL uslng communlcaLlons noL Lo slmply send and recelve
messages, buL Lo creaLe an experlenLlal conLexL wlLh lL. Pe sald-- "AnyLhlng ls an experlence.
When l puL my shoe on ln Lhe mornlng, lL's an experlence." 1he naLural response Lo LhaL was -
- "Sure, you have an experlence when you puL a shoe on, buL noL from Lhe perspecLlve of Lhe
shoe"...

C- CrnlLorrlnco means plaLypus ln orLuguese, a hybrld of repLlle and mammal. l flnd lL a
greaL name for your LeleroboL because lL suggesLs so many heLerogeneous mlxLures.
Powever, Lhe ldea of looklng aL Lhe world from Lhe perspecLlve of Lhe shoe, from Lhe
perspecLlve of Lhe ob[ecL, or from Lhe perspecLlve of Lhe oLher, alLhough fasclnaLlng, seems
sLlll an lmposslblllLy.

k- klee once wroLe LhaL ob[ecLs ln hls sLudlo conLemplaLed hlm. Lacan speaks of ob[ecLs
looklng back, ln Lhe sense LhaL ob[ecLs have meanlng noL only because we can see Lhem, buL
because Lhey are parL of a much larger neLwork of meanlngs, whlch lncludes language. no
ldea ln arL can be looked aL llLerally. Look aL Mondrlan's "sLralghL" llnes from upclose. 1hey
are anyLhlng buL sLralghL. ArL works are noL funcLlonal as chalrs and Lables, Lhey can'L be
undersLood only from Lhe polnL of vlew of Lhelr maLerlal manlfesLaLlon. CLherwlse, you have
people vlslLlng museums, looklng aL a !ackson ollock palnLlng, and saylng Lhe famous words:
"my four-year old can do Lhls ln flve mlnuLes!" WhaL Lhe Lelepresence lnsLallaLlon wlLh Lhe
CrnlLorrlnco LeleroboL ls all abouL ls Lo meLaphorlcally ask Lhe vlewer Lo look aL Lhe world
from someone else's polnL of vlew. lL's a non-meLaphyslcal ouL-of-body experlence, lf you
wlll. ?ou are asked Lo remove yourself from your dlrecL experlence of Lhe space LhaL
surrounds you and LransporL yourself, ln space and Llme, Lo anoLher body, Lo anoLher
slLuaLlon, Lo anoLher ldenLlLy. ?ou're asked Lo puL yourself ln somebody else's shoes.

C- So, CrnlLorrlnco ln Copacabana has noLhlng Lo do wlLh Lhe real Copacabana.

k- AcLually, our very flrsL evenL wlLh CrnlLorrlnco was performed ln 1989, ln a llnk beLween
myself ln Copacabana, and Ld 8enneLL ln Chlcago wlLh Lhe LeleroboL. 8uL Lhe lssue here ls noL
mlmesls, or dupllcaLlon of an exlsLenL space. l am worklng wlLh geographlc dlsplacemenLs,
myLhlcal as well as lmaglnary landscapes. My nexL lnsLallaLlon, for lnsLance, Lo be presenLed
nexL CcLober beLween Chlcago, SeaLLle and LexlngLon uslng Lhe lnLerneL, wlll be CrnlLorrlnco
ln Lden...

C- ?our work seems Lo lmply LhaL Lhe fundamenLal relaLlon Loday ls LhaL beLween appearance
and dlsappearance and no longer beLween appearance and reallLy.

k- We llve ln a world where our menLal lmages of places, culLures, and people, are no longer
acqulred Lhrough dlrecL observaLlon. We can con[ure up lmages of Lhe Moon, we can dream
and see ourselves on Lhe Moon, alLhough we have never been Lhere ln person. We have
memorles of places we have never vlslLed. We Lhlnk of places and we have developed
concepLs abouL culLures LhaL we have never seen, never experlenced, based only on cllches
LhaL are clrculaLed by Lhe medla, Pollywood, Lelevlslon, magazlnes and so forLh.
#+
ln my Lelepresence lnsLallaLlons l'm maklng geographlc dlsplacemenLs LhaL reflecL LhaL. Pow
do you go Lo Copacabana, Lo Lhe Moon, and Lo Lden wlLhouL ever leavlng Chlcago, or Craz, or
SeaLLle? eople mlghL expecL, "Well, CrnlLorrlnco on Lhe Moon , l'm golng Lo see a moon-llke
lnsLallaLlon." no, you won'L. 8ecause Lhe name ls no longer aLLached Lo Lhe ob[ecL. We llve ln
a world where Lhe slgnlfler has fallen away from Lhe slgnlfled and ls no longer sLrucLured ln
LhaL neaL slgnlfler-slgnlfled model LhaL we lnherlLed from Lhe sLrucLurallsL Lhlnkers. Curs ls a
very unsLable world ln whlch everyLhlng seems Lo flucLuaLe and be lnconslsLenL, Lherefore Lhe
lnconslsLency beLween whaL Lhe name means and whaL Lhe place means. Well lL doesn'L
mean anyLhlng unLll you're Lhere movlng around and maklng your cholces. Agaln, noLhlng
exlsLs unLll you make lL your own, unLll you clalm lL, unLll you creaLe your own narraLlve, unLll
you consLrucL lL.

C- WhaL ls Lhe place of Lhe body ln your work Loday, ln relaLlon Lo Lhe beglnnlng of your
career?

k- ln my work ln Lhe early 80's, Lhe body was everyLhlng. 1he body had Lo be presenL. lL was
from Lhe sounds of Lhe body LhaL Lhe work emanaLed. 1he body was Lhe Lool l used Lo
quesLlon convenLlons, dogmas, and Laboos -- paLrlarchy, rellglon, heLerosexuallLy, pollLlcs,
purlLanlsm, eLc. 1he body became my wrlLlng medlum aL Lhe very end ulLlmaLely. 8uL ours ls a
socleLy LhaL can save llves or massacre oLher socleLles from afar. hyslcal presence ls
acqulrlng a more and more secondary role ln boLh processes. We use remoLe vlslon Lo look
lnslde our own bodles and lnslde celesLlal bodles. We collecL samples of boLh. lronlcally, Lhe
dlsLances beLween dlfferenL culLures shrlnk on a physlcal level buL remaln largely unLouched
on a soclal and pollLlcal level. 1he perpeLuaLlon of dlsLance as such, be lL LerrlLorlal or
symbollc, becomes an lmpedlmenL Lo knowledge of dlfferenL culLures and vlewpolnLs. ln Lhls
sense, perhaps, Lhe slmulaLed experlence of a new ldenLlLy wlLh CrnlLorrlnco (Lhe parLlclpanL
"becomlng" Lhe LeleroboL) mlghL have lmpllcaLlons oLher Lhan sLrlcLly arLlsLlc. 1elepresence
lmplles a removal of Lhe arLlsL and Lhe arLwork. 1hls ls necessary ln order for me Lo
accompllsh whaL l wanL Lo do, whlch ls, among oLher Lhlngs, Lo break away wlLh Lhe
compleLe, flnal arL work LhaL lmplles a cerLaln sense of closure, of coheslon, of compleLeness.

C- ls Lhere a laLe Modern aLLlLude of lnvesLlgaLlng posslblllLles lnLrlnslc Lo Lhe medlum ln your
use of Lechnology?

k- My whole use of Lechnology ls, ln a sense, Lo humanlze lL, Lo brlng lL back Lo Lhe human,
lndlvldual scale. 8uL aL Lhe same Llme l wanL Lo explore whaL ls unlque Lo Lhe medla, whlch
could be an lnLeresLlng Lenslon Lo explore. 1echnology ls deflnlLely noL Lhe focus, buL wlLhouL
lL l slmply cannoL do Lhe work l do. l am uslng lL Lo quesLlon a loL of Lhe elemenLs LhaL lnform
Lhe so-called Lechnologlcal "progress". 1he pollLlcal (mlllLary) sLrucLure ln whlch new
Lechnologles are produced, Lhe uLlllLarlan uses Lhey are meanL Lo be puL Lo, Lhe lncrease ln
conLrol Lhey lmply. So Lhere lL ls, you wouldn'L be wrong Lo ldenLlfy a cerLaln laLe modern
dlscourse explorlng Lhe speclflclLy of Lhese medla. 1he curlous slde of Lhls ls LhaL l am always
uslng Lhe lowesL end of Lechnology. l am uslng low-power lasers. 1he LeleroboL CrnlLorrlnco
was made baslcally wlLh 8adlo Shack Lechnology, mosLly pald for, Lo glve you an ldea, wlLh
Lhe llLLle money l made Leachlng parL-Llme. My vldeophone, my fax, and my compuLer are
dlsconLlnued models.

#"
C- ?our work seems Lo embrace Lhe new Lechnologles wlLh a cerLaln amblgulLy. Cn Lhe one
hand we can see Lhe enLhuslasm for new arLlsLlc posslblllLles. Cn Lhe oLher hand, we flnd a
crlLlcal perspecLlve, a concern for Lhe soclal lmpllcaLlons of Lhese same Lechnologles. ln your
Lelepresence evenLs you are baslcly removlng Lhe arLlsL from Lhe arLlsLlc experlence. WhaL
would Lhe role of Lhe arLlsL be, ln Lhls case?

k- 1he arLlsL ls no longer someone LhaL creaLes a closed sLrucLure Lo be pondered on, or gazed
aL. 1he dlcoLomy absLracLlon vs. represenLaLlon no longer domlnaLe Lhe aesLheLlc dlscourse of
our Llme. ArLlsLs can reallze new ldeas ln a small scale, ln Lhe lmmedlaLe presenL, ldeas LhaL
can reflecL or suggesL models for new ways of Lhlnklng and for soclal LransformaLlon. l Lhlnk
LhaL arLlsLs musL have a sense of belng uncomforLable, of lnvesLlgaLlng, of asklng quesLlons, of
experlmenLlng, or Laklng rlsks. When you look aL sLable Lhree-dlmenslonal works of arL, Lhe
sLablllLy ln Lhese works seems Lo reslsL Lhe flucLuaLlon, Lhe flow, Lhe lnsLablllLy we experlence
ln our LhoughL processes, ln our envlronmenL, ln world pollLlcs, ln our llves. l'm Lrylng Lo
acknowledge LhaL lnsLablllLy and bulld lL ln Lhe work lLself.
WlLhouL Lhe acLlve parLlclpaLlon of Lhe so called vlewer, none of my works really exlsL. And
LhaL ls Lrue of my holography , and ls Lrue of my Lelepresence lnsLallaLlon. lL's also Lrue of Lhe
new work l'm dolng whlch lnvolves lnLeracLlve mulLlmedla works LhaL are meanL Lo be
experlenced on Lhe compuLer and/or Lhrough Lhe lnLerneL. l've been worklng a loL wlLh Lhe
lnLerneL laLely. My nexL work wlLh Lelepresence lnsLallaLlon and wlLh lnLeracLlve concepLs wlll
lnvolve Lhe lnLerneL more and more. l have aL presenL a plece called SLorms LhaL ls avallable,
free of charge, Lhrough Lhe Leonardo LlecLronlc Almanac. lL's on llne rlghL now. Anybody LhaL
subscrlbes Lo Leonardo, lncludlng llbrarles, and LhaL has access Lo Lhe lnLerneL can read abouL
lL and can see lL. 1hls ls a plece LhaL ls an lnLeracLlve navlgaLlonal vlsual LexL based on Lhe
SeflroLlc Lree of Lhe kabbalah. So from kabbalah Lo Copacabana, you have Lhe whole klL and
caboodle. (laughs)

C- WhaL do you Lhlnk Lhe poLenLlal for Lhe lnLerneL ls as a venue for arLlsLlc lnvesLlgaLlon?

k- l Lhlnk Lhe poLenLlal ls greaL. Cn Lhe neL you already have arL gallerles wlLh shows and
lndependenL pro[ecLs Laklng place. AL Lhe end of hls llfe, Moholy was complalnlng abouL Lhe
sLaLus of fllmmaklng aL Lhe Llme. Pe felL LhaL ln Lhe 1930's and 40's, fllmmaklng was no longer
a medlum Lhe lndependenL creaLor, Lhe lndependenL arLlsL could work wlLh. 8ecause clnema
had become such a corporaLe-domlnaLed medlum, by Pollywood and many oLher fllm
companles around Lhe world, Lhere was baslcally no room for dlsLrlbuLlon of lndependenL
fllms. 8uL Lhls ls Lo say LhaL we musL prevenL Lhe same Lhlng from happenlng wlLh Lhe
lnLerneL. We have examples from hlsLory. AnoLher example LhaL comes Lo mlnd lnvolvlng Lhe
lssue of communlcaLlon and LelecommunlcaLlon comes from 8erLold 8rechL. 8rechL wroLe a
magnlflcenL, shorL essay on Lhe problem of communlcaLlon. Pe was complalnlng abouL Lhe
facL LhaL radlo was unldlrecLlonal. Pe sald LhaL by belng unldlrecLlonal, Lhls medla would be
domlnaLed by Lhe producers. Pe sald LhaL radlo musL be bl-dlrecLlonal. 8adlo musL empower
people. 8adlo musL be a means for soclal LransformaLlon, soclal change.
And of course, Lhere's also Lhe lssue of censorshlp. l Lhlnk LhaL Lhe lnLerneL Loday has Lhe
poLenLlal of reallzlng 8erLold 8rechL's dream of belng noL only bl-dlrecLlonal, buL mulLl-
dlrecLlonal. And mulLl-dlrecLlonal hopefully, also on oLher levels, culLural levels, allowlng for
expresslon of mulLlple, uncensored, polnLs of vlew. 1haL would allow people Lo share all klnds
of lnslghLs abouL all klnds of aspecLs of culLure. 1here ls a loL of garbage Loo, buL LhaL ls Lhe
prlce of freedom and democracy. Powever, Lhere always ls Lhe fear and Lhe danger of Lhe
##
lnLerneL becomlng corporaLe and becomlng absoluLely commerclal. 1he lnLerneL sorL of grew
ouL of a mlllLary neLwork, whlch ls klnd of scary by lLself, buL has become a glganLlc moLher of
all neLworks. Anybody can vlrLually Lransform hls or her own compuLer lnLo anoLher node on
Lhls neLwork and share. So l Lhlnk LhaL Lhere ls Lhe poLenLlal for redeflnlng Lhe soclal role of
Lhe arLlsL. l Lhlnk we musL do everyLhlng we can Lo prevenL lL from becomlng Lhls corporaLe-
domlnaLed commerclal enLerprlse. 1he lnLerneL should be a place, or a space-less place, LhaL
allows everybody, anybody, anywhere ln Lhe world, Lo move around, Lo share lnformaLlon, Lo
have access Lo lnformaLlon, so lnformaLlon becomes decenLrallzed. 8uL when we Lalk abouL
Lhls lssue, of course we run lnLo Lhe problem of 1hlrd World counLrles. lf you look aL Lhe map
of Lhe lnLerneL, you see LhaL Afrlca and SouLh Amerlca do noL have Lhe same denslLy of nodes
you see ln Lurope and norLh Amerlca. eople LhaL llve ln Lhese conLlnenLs are belng
underprlvlleged, lefL behlnd. 1hls ls anoLher very lmporLanL problem because you're Lalklng
abouL new Lechnologles and communlcaLlon medla on a global scale. 1hlnk of 8razll for
example. ln 8lo, lf you plck up Lhe phone, you don'L know wheLher you're golng Lo be able Lo
geL a llne or noL, and lf you geL a llne, you don'L know lf you're golng Lo geL a connecLlon or
noL. ln many underdeveloped counLrles, even a baslc Lhlng, llke Lhe phone, ls a very complex
problem. l Lhlnk Lhere are layers and levels of meanlng LhaL Lechnology has ln our llves LhaL
really haven'L been addressed. And l Lhlnk LhaL's Lrue from a pollLlcal vlew. lf you look aL lL....
1echnology has Lhe poLenLlal Lo empower people ln many ways. lf we leave Lechnology
behlnd ln arL, lf we don'L quesLlon how Lechnology affecLs our llves, lf we don'L Lake charge, lf
we don'L use Lhese Lechnologlcal medla Lo ralse quesLlons abouL conLemporary llfe, who's
golng Lo do LhaL?