Change of Plans,
Plans of Change

July 12nd, 2020

Four months ago, I thought that in August I would be packing, literally with plans to move to another country; more: change of profession, from architecture to architecture + graphic design, going back to school, changing everything. And then everything changed: in January, a fire in Australia made a cloud of smoke that darkened the sky in São Paulo. In February, the Brazilian people were shocked, saddened, by the impact of covid in Italy. In March, the reality of the pandemic in Brazil collapsed (and today the same saddened people are wearing masks on their necks and going to happy-hours in Leblon — if the president says that everything is fine then it's fine!).

The quarantine begins, and under the pressure of apocalyptic news — it was Saturday and the roads would be blocked next Monday — I drove for more than 500km to my parents' house in the countryside (the agricultural west bunker). I thought I would stay for a month, or a month and a half! I almost didn't bring any winter clothes.

Brazil has since been the stage for the largest possible socio-political circus, while in the USA protests for black lives explode. From inside the bubble of everything that protects me, from the that's-easy-to-say, these were especially terrible days. Here where I am, I feel alienated from everything. The TV antenna has not worked for years and the internet-instagram has become the main source of information. I read what I could, and took a lot of things in my head that I thought I already knew. A week ago a bomb cyclone passed through southern Brazil. In the last month there was a record of deforestation in the Amazon in June.

And then I can only think: what is my role in all of this? I question my career, which I mistake for my existence, which I also question.  Everyone had to change plans this year. I need to understand! What does it mean to be an architect in a time of collapse?

The noise is systemic, unhealthy, global. Noise is an understatement, it is a deafening crash. Everything collapses, because it was supported by slender pillars made of stacked green paper (whoever has the biggest stack gets a cover at Forbes). What can design do? It is time to change plans and plan changes.

A cruel, irresponsible, denialist (mis)government is a reflection of a handful of people who think they can eat money and that the high walls of their houses, farms and factories will prevent the fate to which they doom the world from reaching them too.

Handmade animation with 33 frames.
December, 2020