“When a Michelangelo with a camera captures David fighting Goliath in action.” http://bit.ly/2D5vfpd

R(existence) guide in arduous times

By Gustavo Nogueira (Gust), Rodrigo Turra and Victor Hugo Barreto

Leia aqui em Português

Even though we live in hard times, yes, there is progress — extreme poverty and hunger have fallen. Child labor is declining, as well as child mortality. Life expectancy grows and in developed countries, everyone has more leisure time. The number of homicides is the lowest on record, more people are going to school for more time. Technology continues to evolve nonstop, we have more access to the internet and the solar energy is becoming cheaper, just to mention some optimistic facts and data.

Amplifying this perspective, since we boarded on this trip called Holocene along the last 12.018 years of the history of humankind that we have registered, what preceded was an overwhelming glacial era, and since then, we have developed certain progress.

“Be realistic, ask for the impossible” Paris, May 1968

Still, the present brings us to some matters of priority.

Beyond the constant care with environmental issues and the preoccupation with the continuity of natural resources, we need to take a closer look at the continuous growth of conservative and authoritarian forces. The “neo-fascism” is already a fact in many countries.

Roger Waters in his concert in Brazil: https://abr.ai/2q9jeXv

The Brazilian presidential elections in 2018 surpassed the dispute of “left” and “right wing” governmental projects. In the last instance, the continuity of democracy in this country and the survival of minority groups is now into play.

“Nothing changes instantaneously: in a gradually heating bathtub you’d be boiled to death before you knew it.” ― Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

We have realized the rise of fascist forces that have come together around a narrative of dissatisfaction and generalized crisis that are used as a lead argument in campaigns in a conservative moralist, militarist, and safety discourse, proclaiming the “salvation of our homeland.”

“These red-skinned marginals will be banned from our homeland,” says Bolsonaro

This salvationist discourse has no fear of separating people into the ones that “deserve” to be recognized, the “good citizen,” from the ones that are guilty, dispensable or just don’t matter. And then those who are “the others” — black (poor in their majority), women, Brazilian northeasterners, LGBTQs or any person that stands against fascism — seeing their rights and lives in deep danger.

We’re in the shadow of a threatening future

The African thinker Achille Mbembe calls this regime necropolitics. Governments with the power to dictate who should live and who should die, by depleting individuals from their political power. By creating politics of death. This diagnostic is not exaggerated when we notice the growth in cases of violence against minoritized groups in the country, just by the sensation that hatred is authorized, opposed to the democratic rights. Times of exception.

“Hatred lay on my couch”

Fear, anguish, and insecurity start to fill our routine. Necropolitics happen not only by the institutionalized extermination of certain populations but also in the ordinary life. Not only through physical aggression, but in the everyday acts of violence, like a mom asking for her son to “be less gay-acting on the street” worried about his safety.

“A nation without memory is a nation without history. And a nation without history is bound to commit, in the present and in the future, the same mistakes of the past. “- Emília Viotti da Costa

If a future of neo-fascism is frightening, the past also becomes obliterated.

If Orwell in his dystopia “1984” already alerted to a fact that an authoritarian government legitimates itself by manipulating the past, the memories and history, in recent facts, for instance, Bolsonaro’s voters claimed that the Holocaust never existed, the German Nazi government was “left wing”, that we should not call “coup” the action that installed the military dictatorship in the country (1964–1985) but “Movement of 64” and wants “alternation” of the political model in power “for 30 years” (period of the existence of the constitution in Brazil.)

“How to resist in brutal times”

Times of “self-truth”, according to Eliane Brum, in other words, “appreciation of a personal and self-proclaimed truth, the truth of the individual, a truth determined to “say everything” on the internet.”

To resist is to express yourself. To (r)exist.

It’s a moment to feed the alternative lines of escape and flight so the focus is not fixed on a unique road. It’s a moment to surround yourself with allies, value good meetings, build support and exchange networks to our strengthening, produce other existential territories. A moment to direct energies and efforts to the future we believe in.

It looks abstract, but it’s not. It’s important to pay attention to how you care for yourself every day, that goes from loving who we love, giving space in our day to day life to moments of happiness and comfort, doing things that we like together with people who add us something, building a routine that allows positive mental health and the redirection of forces to activism.

Possible activisms in brutal times

Mourning becomes a verb of action related with what we want to fighting for; and activism arrises yet more powerful, like the examples that follow:

The “Me Too” Movement that started through the organization of women in the USA, during the Trump government, and has spread as a support network across different countries. It’s about public exposition, mainly through social media, cases of sexual abuse and harassment that these women have gone through in many different scopes: professional, domestic or personal.

Some apps were also created and developed for situations of emergency and violence to be solved or avoided. These complaints look not only to expose the aggressor as well as the judgment of the case, with the motto: “You are not alone”.

Black Youtubers and content creators are the most potent and creative that has been done in activism for racial issues. Knowing and following these channels that “discuss in a serious way issues about race and present important information to deconstruct the racist structure that still defines the relations in the country — in and out of the internet” is (r)existence.

The LGBTQIA+ issues are the center of activities developed by TODXS. This social non-profit start-up from Brazil develops projects like the app that supports and helps victims of violence, as well as a program to train young LGBTQIA+ leaders from Brazil to become transformation agents in their realities and communities.

Brands and the social responsibility of the political positioning

All these projects also get our attention to the importance of brands not reproducing hatred and exception discourses and politics. The cause communication is a tool to be used beyond marketing, but also as an education and inclusion tool in corporations, as transformation agents are necessary for activism in this very moment. Businesses are managed by people with the power to act, and this is not the time to fear.

Art resists

However, beyond the market, resistance gains traction in artistic interventions and the social fabric around it. Art had always had its pioneer role in questioning normativities and criticizing authoritarian and moralistic political regimes. The example fo the Russian group “Pussy Riot” is one of the most representative, known for producing “guerrilla performances” in the fight for feminist and LGBTQIA+ rights during Putin’s government.

Curatorial activism in another good example. It’s about the practice of organizing and including in art exhibitions and interventions or works and content with the goal of “giving voice to the ones that were historically silenced or completely omitted — and also focus exclusively in works produced by women artists, black artists, non-europen-american artists, and queer artists.”

The examples of two recent exhibitions in the Art Museum of São Paulo are pertinent memories to this moment. The “History of Sexuality” in the peak of debates that took the country with censorship to exhibitions like “Queermuseu,” in other words, what can or cannot be shown in museums starting from a criterion of offense and morality, just like censorship in social media to the reproduction of classic paintings that represent nudity or erotic situations. Also, the “Afro-atlantic Histories” with a proposal for an exhibit composed of work made by black artists.

What is curatorial activism?

“If it threatens my existence, I’ll be resistance.”

The fight and resistance do not happen only in macropolitical terms. It’s also important for us to engage in fights that compose micropolitics. It’s in our daily lives that the effects of this cloudy times present its most perverse faces: emotional wearing out, paralising fear, slow destruction of our subjectivity, hijacking of our vital power.

And, therefore, it’s also in our daily lives one of our main possibilities of (r)esistance to these times. It’s where love is needed the most. Of us not leaving our present be poisoned by this threatning future.

Fruit and seed of time around us

We are, by nature, time travelers. Our actions are the result of the present time and, at the same time, nourishment to the time that comes. As we experience the time we live in, we also transform it. Miracle and paradox. Self-actualized profecies that, as we believe, cause its materialization.

On the streets on online, #viravoto (#turningvotes) http://bit.ly/2SgTwx4

Accelerate transformations in the present time

At Torus, we study time continuously.

We develop studies that promote the awakening of a wholesome view of time. We question. We invite you to understand the Zeitgeist by dialoguing with many voices. We help to see through different possible lenses.

If you’re interested, we invite you to learn and to teach. To travel through memories of humanity and the possibilities that are to come. And to find, together, what we need to materialize in the now.

Temporal is the flow to exchange learnings about the present by Torus.

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We are TORUS, a global movement based in São Paulo and Amsterdam that promotes changes in how people and companies connect with time. We want to transform the way the world connects with time: helping social initiatives, brands and people to use it as a resource in their favor.

Gustavo Nogueira (Gust)

Written by

founder, creative director and temporality hacker at @toruscx



We are TORUS, a global movement based in São Paulo and Amsterdam that promotes changes in how people and companies connect with time. We want to transform the way the world connects with time: helping social initiatives, brands and people to use it as a resource in their favor.