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berlinerförderp rogramm künstle rischeforschung


Barbara Marcel

Pau-Brasil: from colour to sound

Pau-Brasil: from colour to sound takes as its starting point the tree that lends its name to the country of Brazil, its first resource exploited by Portuguese colonisers in the Americas. Beginning in fifteenth-century Europe, the wood became widely used in the production of violin bows worldwide. Due to its historical and current overexploitation, it is a highly endangered species. The dependence of traditional violin bow production on the endangered species Pau-Brasil and the increasing mass production of bows have led to an international socio-environmental conflict. It seems to me that the case study of this specific material, as well as its history of circulation, use and risk of extinction, can raise important and poetic connections for the writing of an alternative history of the wood and some relations between Brazil and Germany. Moreover, the two year artistic research also proposes a critical dialogue with the centenary of Brazilian modernism from 1922, and one of its most famous manifestos: the Pau-Brasil manifesto.

Barbara Marcel (b. 1985, Rio de Janeiro) is a visual artist, filmmaker and researcher interested in the cultural roots of nature, in the epistemological crossroads between Brazil and Germany, and in the various colonialities that to this day extractively pervade the territory of Latin America. Parallel to her individual research, she works regularly with other artists, researchers and activists on projects around ecological relations and processes of thought and practice in times of environmental collapse and increasing social inequalities. She has been living in Berlin since 2009 and is currently one of the 12 Berlin Artistic Research Grant Program Fellow 2022-23. Since 2021 she teaches in the MA programme Ecology Futures at the Academy of Art and Design St. Joost. Her videos and installations have been shown at ifa gallery, Stuttgart (2021), Bienal de Artes Mediales, Santiago de Chile (2021), Yango Biennale, Kinshasa (2021), ZKM, Karlsruhe (2020), Berlinische Galerie (2020), Savvy Contemporary, Berlin (2019), Broad Art Museum, Michigan (2019); Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin (2018); V240, Amsterdam (2017), Omonoia Athens Biennale (2016), Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst, Leipzig (2015), 175 Gallery, Seoul (2015), among others.