Brasilia

I am in Brasilia, the capital of Brazil, which was built from nothing in the end of the 50’s and “opened” in the 60’s. I had never been here before. Gabi, my friend who studied with me at the Lse, seats next to me, she is writing a report. People around us study to pass the exams to get a governmental career. It is one that pays well, and is stable. it is one that non public workers usually condemn.

Brasilia is a strange place. Wide open, full of concrete, green, disconnected. It feels to me to reside stereotypically in the Autism spectrum. It is mechanic, functional, and deprived of “theory of mind”. People are not seen walking in streets and to go anywhere it seems to take ages inside of a car in endless roads. There seems to be not that many corners, to change sides I feel we are always taking rounds and crossing under roads. It is like people don’t cross each other, they go round.

I am no specialist in architecture and I am not a visual person so all I feel here is the absence of emotion in the streets. It looks soviet. I wonder what would my dear friend Michele say seeing all of this. I actually wonder whether he has ever been here when in Brasil. When I was in Rome he had the brilliancy of inventing a way to tell me about architecture. He told me (invented) stories of the people behind the buildings he showed me. He realised within minutes I would never be able to focus that much in architecture alone, so he adapted and brought people into it, he brought stories. And in Rome architecture is so full of life that it was probably not a difficult task. Mic what would you say here? I keep wondering…

Most people would conclude from these lines that I am therefore not liking Brasilia. That is actually not really accurate at all! I probably would have not liked had I not known Gabi… but Gabi took me to Beto, and he played the bass, and Beto took me to Oswaldo, and then they took me to a house party. Oh, yes apparently people are bored here with their bars and so they have house parties where everybody knows everybody.

Brasilienses are a new people. They are the children of people who came from everywhere in Brasil to live in a constructed city in the middle of nowhere.

I look around and I see people who study. They want stability. As Gabi puts it “they want no challenges after the exam”. But Gabi is not like that, nor is Felipe, nor is Beto. I guess here in Brasilia inbetweeners and rooted are more seeable than most people in other places. The stability that seems to have been so inorganically built attracts some. It also drives others out. others that come back and no not how to adapt.

And Brasilia is surrounded by a world of esotericism I am yet to discover. So many cults, and groups and villages. It seems truly like polar manifestations. Brasilia feels concrete, these villages sound non material. In the houses of the people I met here I feel warmth. The time, thanks goodness, passes slower than in Sao Paulo.

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