About the project
Our installation project assumes the condition of people in the world as belonging everywhere, and thus taps on the concept of mobility. The physical, haptic reality of the object, like Candombe itself, only truly manifests when in movement, and human action is the source of energy that the mechanical musical instrument we are proposing is powered by. We envisage a sort of twisted hamster wheel, resulting in two twin wheels joined by a ruled surface, with a cylindrical inner core split in 3 sections that mechanically reproduces the percussion rhythms of each of the 3 drums used to play Candombe. The very existence of Candombe, born during a time when African slaves were allowed to gather at the foot of the city walls, on the fringe of town, is a feat of resiliency and a surprisingly early expression of pride of an oppressed community.
We want to invoke that spirit to give us strength in the face of contemporary challenges, that go deep with what makes us human: other humans. The notion of otherness in culture is double sided. In a way, it is by understanding ourselves as part of a social kinship that we find a frame of reference that helps us underpin who we are and how we perceive and think of ourselves. On the other hand, that same understanding of kin can turn dark when others outside are perceived as a threat. Mass migration is shaping the lives of generations of fractured social groups, and this has happened before. In the centuries spanning from the European imperial expansion that led to the colonization of Africa and the abolition of slavery, millions of African men, women and children were forcibly displaced to profitable extractive and agricultural operations in South America.
In Montevideo, a large group of Bantu tribe slaves as well as members of other tribes ended up developing a distinctively local version of a blend of African rhythmic patterns, and the cultural artifact bloomed into the social practice of celebrating with dance, costumes and performing characters. This cultural expression grew in relevance and popularity even among white people, who painted their face black as a sign of respect to play the drums alongside Africans. Candombe is a core element of the Uruguayan black community's identity, but it's also undeniably a big part of Uruguay's national identity as a whole. Black, white and native people have walked peacefully together to build the Uruguayan nation since 1842, slavery was abolished only 12 years after Uruguay became independent from the Spanish empire in 1830.
In a similar way, the proposed large-scale instrument is a double wheel in which people walking on either side are linked by a ruled surface of planks that nod to the drum-making techniques and can be seen both as a sound amplifier and as the material manifestation of the interconnectedness of the destinies of cohabiting cultures. At the centre of this connecting geometry lies the beating heart of the device, from where the ancestral rhythms of Candombe will ripple out. The parade is the natural way in which Candombe comes to life, and the practiced pace, rhythms and dances, along with traditional colorful costumes and hats as well as face makeup, will all come together as a culmination of 5 days of communal preparation for an explosive celebration of life and the enjoyment of the result of a massive collective effort. We will be what we make together, and we will be us because we made together.
Architect director at Propio architecture and visualization, photographer at Festival de la Madera - Campo Abierto, 2018 (Uruguay), Photographer at Visual Media department at Facultad de arquitectura, diseño y urbanismo (UDELAR-Uruguay).
Architect director at HMOZ and founder of YAFU: the first collective of young architects in Uruguay, Project professor and researcher at Facultad de arquitectura, diseño y urbanismo (UDELAR-Uruguay), Archiprix finalist 2013 Moscow, Russia, Professor at Universitário Ritter dos Reis (2005 - Porto Alegre, Brazil).
Architect and keen on visual media, Fab-academy 2017, Fine Arts School, Project professor at Facultad de arquitectura, diseño y urbanismo (UDELAR-Uruguay).
MSc Architect (University of Edinburgh, 2016). Exhibition at London Design Fair 2016 by invitation of Craft Scotland, visiting at the Architectural Association School in London 2018.
Our social media:
Instagram: @_thepropio @ahrbust @hmoz_arquitectos #tiago_vera
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