[ISEA2002] Artist Statement: Josely Carvalho – Book of Roofs & Page/tile #0114: Xetas

Artist Statement

BOOK OF ROOFS is a medialinstallation project that includes an interactive website and print/video/sound installations. The project’s foundation is built on the traditional colonial-style clay roof tile, basic in the construction of Brazilian dwellings. Beginning as a conceptual sculptural book art, it consisted of a video installation using a truckload of 3,000 clay roof tiles, arranged in repeating circular patterns upon which video images were continuously projected. The Internet is now the site of Book of Roofs. It is an interactive montage, organized through a database process to collect a non-linear narrative of historical associations, information of architectural roof structures, individual/collective memories and facts on our basic necessity of being sheltered, at a moment in history when the sense of home has been shifted by ethnic and religious wars, increased migration, the global economy and new virtual addresses. With no true beginning or ending, the website architecture of BOOK OF ROOFS simulates the continuous backbreaking labor of tile workers. The turtle, as an interface, guides the user in the construction of a cybernetic roof.

Page/tile # 0114: Xetas, a real-time two channel video installation portraits the extinction of an indigenous tribe from Southern Brazil. My father, a coffee farmer with a large number of japonese families working on it, used to tell me stories about the day he first saw a group of indians, not yet colonized. At that time, late fifties, the Xeths were first identified by the scientific community as a group of indians living in a stone age state. I went back to the Paran region and most of the Araucaria pine trees, a hard wood tree taking 150 years to mature, were also not there anymore, I captured only the cattle grazing on an empty land. Today, forty years later, the Araucaria pine trees are scarce and the Xeths are extinct. The video monitor broadcasts the short news left from this vanished culture. I remember as a child, to look for hours the tall and lonely Araucaria Pine trees in southern Brazil. I have heard there is one member of the tribe still alive and living in a mental hospital of a small town in southern Brazil. This installation inserts the presence of this individual, perhaps, a female, through a video projection. The digital image constructs the labyrinth of this woman’s psyche as I find, working in the computer, the maze of our isolation.

  • Josely Carvalho.┬áBrazilian-born intermedia artist Josely Carvalho lives and works between New York and Rio de Janeiro. Her works range from paintings, sculptures, book art to silkscreen, video installations and most recently the internet. Her installations incorporate varied technology in the construction of both digital and physical environments. She has exhibited extensively in the U.S. and Latin America and has also been awarded prestigious grants including the NYSCA (2001 -02); Harvestworks Media Lab Artist-in-Residence in 2001; Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio International Conference Research Center residence in Italy (2000); Creative Capital Foundation (2000); NYFA (1 999 & 1987); NEA (1996).