BijaRi’s working space is located in Vila Madalena. They occupy a small house of two floors entirely, with nine people being the BijaRi collective’s core team. Another half dozen people contribute to their more commercial practice, which apart from art is their second work area. The space looks like a true computer lab. I meet Eduardo Fernandes and Rodrigo Araujo, whom I had seen in Santiago de Chile one year ago during a presentation at the Centro Cultural de España. We descend to the lower floor of the house, passing a car trees grow out from. It is the work “Carro Verde” (2008), which formed part of “Natureza Urbana”, a project connected to the idea of a green city, daring to think differently, and questioning the familiar.
Downstairs, Rodrigo and Eduardo show me a selection of their videos on a computer. We start with “Antipop Galinha”, the documentation of an action which the artist collective made in 2002. They released a hen in two very dissimilar places in São Paulo: One at Largo da Batata, a historical and popular traditional place where people from the less wealthy North-Eastern parts of Brazil come to live, and which is also a place of transition where the poorer bus commuters change for the subway to go to work in the city centre. The people interact with the hen, find it funny and entertaining. In the second sequence of the video, a hen is released in front of the Iguatemi Shopping Centre, a symbol for the rich and upper class of São Paulo. It doesn’t take long until security arrives to pick up the bird – as if it was a danger to the public. In a humourous way, BijaRi point at and analyse one of São Paulo’s most striking problems: the clash between rich and poor and the social division of people that also manifests itself in the physical structures of the city.
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