For some time the word ecology has settled in my mind. Not as a consequence of warnings of global warming and the call for sustainability, but, for taking knowledge of works from Boaventura de Sousa Santos and Andrew Abbott. Coming to front with works by Marcone Moreira present in the exhibition Peso à terra (Weight to the earth), this presence came to life. I will explain. The first author cited sketched an Ecologia de Saberes (Ecology of Knowledge) which seeks to recognize knowledge derived from other rationalities and to recover knowledge and practices from social groups, which, due to capitalism and colonial processes, were historically and sociologically placed in view of being simply objects or raw material derived from dominant knowledge – which were considered the only valid knowledge during the last four centuries. Without denying the asymmetry of knowledge and the complexities involved in operations of translation and dialogue, Boaventura points that, "since each knowledge only exists within a plurality of knowledge, none of them may comprehend themselves without referring to other knowledge.” He further exclaims: "The limit and possibilities of each knowledge resides, thus, in a last instance. In the existence of other knowledge and, therefore, may only be explored and valued in comparison to other knowledge.”
What he has called Epistemology of the South is an attempt to include the maximum amount of experiences of knowledge of the world. This includes, after being reconfigured, the experiences of knowledge from a hegemonic North themselves since it precisely deals with subverting modes of understanding of the world in which a binary logic is implicit; combative, intolerant and with universal pretensions. The conversation between Sousa Santos and Marcone Moreira establishes itself in a transit practiced by this artist in between the instances of knowing and of making multiples. The violence from the clashes for the right to land in Pará, a discussion that may be relocated to various other parts of the planet, is evidenced in some of his photographs. In Ecuador and Tordesillas, we find a double epistemic violence: the mediation of the planet and the partition of land by colonizing instruments. The formal solution for many of his pieces go through an ingenuity of few resources and a minimum gesture in order to reach a sophisticated result that refers to a genealogical tree of leafy and complex reference. They extend themselves from Duchamp to constructivism and abstractionist instaurations (from matrixes from the Amazon, North America, Russia, and Rio de Janeiro), and the objects rebel against easy categorizations (in particular in attempts to frame them as paintings or sculptures). This artist has an attitude to interchange visuality, codes, and processes of construction from a constellation of knowledge.
Now the battle between Marcone and Andrew Abbott, the sociologist who coined the term linked ecologies to observe the interdependence of the social world. Instead of visualizing a particular ecology as being an ensemble of fixed points, Abbott reconceptualizes the social world in terms of linked ecologies in which each one of the points acts as a (flexible) surround for the others. The sociologist develops an argument around a particular ecological analysis; of professions and the dimension of their interrelations, but his analytical methodology may be understood as a study of other dimensions of social life, like the art world. This would mean a visualization of not only a fixed and stable art world, but of various art worlds that touch each other, repel each other, collide and come into friction and convergence at moments during inherent and unpredictable periods. Artists may be seen as carriers of double, triple, poly belongings, activating simultaneous or subsequent dynamics depending on their transits. I believe that this image is closer to what happens in the art world today. Marcone is one of those artists who experiences discrepant artistic environments. He lives in Marabá and acts in a cultural scene that has a weak institutional support, and has its own dynamics. He attends large art events through either the exhibition of his works or thought his presence as an artistic agent. I kept thinking that if he was from New York, we would not highlight his origin since in the conventional conception of a univocal vision of the art world, New York is the "universal.” Therefore, the misconception does not reside in locating Moreira, but rather, in locating artists coming from, and who reside in countries and hegemonic artistic scenes. It is urgent that we review a planned vision of the world.
Nonetheless and lastly, Marcone Moreira’s work still makes emerge the traditional sense of the term ecology, that is to say, the study of the home or the Science that studies the interaction between organisms and their ‘environment,’ for we cannot ignore his context: the Amazon. His practice is inscribed in a place that is of concern to the world, but that carries very peculiar experiences in the natural/material dimension as well as in the symbolic. The artist appropriates refuse from his surroundings and plastically reconfigures them, re-writing Lavoisier’s maxim: "in culture nothing is created, nothing is lost, everything is transformed.” His archeology is a clear response to his environment and to various crossings generated by contemporaneity, but in regions of the Amazon they are exponentialized. Ecology brings us this dimension of where there seems to be only beauty and harmony, there are conflicts, unbalances, asymmetry and collision. But, breaking with the classical automatism of associating beauty to good, we shall notice that beauty may be bad, tragic, and destructive. And, that many times things must be destroyed in order for life to keepexisting. Giving weight to the Earth, as Marcone Moreira suggests, may be situating ourselves in the dimension of the here and now with eyes and mind truly open to understand our unsettling old new world.
Recife, February 2014