SAO PAULO – An interactive installation by Estudio Guto Requena invites you to reveal your inner-most thoughts. The enactment is as simple as the premise: passers-by are encouraged to share a story – spoken into a white booth featuring an old-style telephone adorned with text that translates to 'Can You Tell Me A Secret?' – which is then replayed through hidden speakers in the five colourful benches located nearby.

Shortly after Brazil declared its independence from Portugal in 1822, immigrants began to arrive in Sao Paulo. Bom Retiro is a neighbourhood on the outskirts of the main city, which has served throughout history as a popular point of entry for immigrants who either settled or continued their journey towards the coffee plantations. In the past century, internal migration to the area has also increased, as Sao Paulo has become even more of a desirable location thanks to its prosperity and non-skilled labour opportunities.

This temporary installation is part of the URBE Public Art Exhibition 2016, a collection of works on the streets of Bom Retiro that explores the concept of public space in the context of the urban environment. The exhibition’s curator Alssandra Marder explains, ‘Requena’s work ruptures the borders between design, architecture and urbanism by using digital technology to reframe the stories and emotions of urban life.’

Requena, himself of Brazilian descent, reveals his intention that the project acts as ‘an invitation to reflect on the invisible and symbolic limits of the private and the public spheres’ - essentially, he is encouraging new ways of living together in a very diverse neighbourhood. By attracting attention to the square, Requena is re-opening the dialogue between the residents of the area.

Photos Leonardo Finotti
Location Coronel Fernando Prestes Square, Sao Paulo, Brazil


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