Parangolés & Penetráveis
Parangolés and Penetráveis. The former consist of a series of complicate capes that only reveal their intricate nature to the viewer when the person who wears one moves and dances. The latter are labyrinth-like constructions waiting for the viewer to penetrate their boundaries and get lost in a series of tropical colourful panels. Hélio Oiticica’s works from 1960s Brazilian avant-garde contributed enormously to the world of interactivity. A Parangolé is both an object and the representation of its own movements; as long as the fabric waves in the air, it turns dancers’ changing trajectories automatically visible. They are able to visualize unstable spaces. As Simone Osthoff beautifully describes them:
<[Oiticica] created interrelations around the sensual body and the many spatial forms it interacts with. His participatory creations were based on two key concepts that he named “Crelazer” and the “Supra-Sensorial.” Crelazer, one of Oiticica’s neologisms meaning “to believe in leisure,” was for him a condition for the existence of creativity and is based on joy, pleasure and phenomenological knowledge. The second concept, the Supra-Sensorial, promotes the expansion of the individual’s normal sensory capacities in order to discover his/her internal creative center. The Supra-Sensorial could be represented by hallucinogenic states (induced with or without the use of drugs), religious trance and other alternate states of consciousness such as the ecstasy and delirium facilitated by the samba dance. For Oiticica, the Supra-Sensorial created a complete de-aesthetization of art underscoring transformative processes.
Oiticica’s work fused formal investigation with leisure activities, inviting viewer participation in the creation of “unconditioned behaviour”. In the cultural context of “the country where all free wills seem to be repressed or castrated”, the concepts of Crelazer and the Supra-Sensorial directly defied a pleasure-denying productivist work ethic, subverting it through activities that embraced pleasure, humor, leisure and carnivalesque strategies. Reverie and revolt were never far apart in Oiticica’s work, as Brett has pointed out. Leisure for him was first and foremost a revolutionary anti-colonialist strategy.
Oiticica described his relation to the popular samba, making reference to the intense experience provoked by dance: “The rehearsals themselves are the whole activity, and the participation in it is not really what Westerners would call participation because the people bring inside themselves the “samba fever” as I call it, for I became ill of it too, impregnated completely, and I am sure that from that disease no one recovers, because it is the revelation of mythical activity…Samba sessions all through the night revealed to me that myth is indispensable in life, something more important than intellectual activity or rational thought when these become exaggerated and distorted.”>