Blind Spaces, Brazil: Seeing is Revealing

March 2005 -

Visual artist Greg Streak (South Africa) worked on the 'Blind Spaces' project in Belo Horizonte (Brazil) during the month of February 2005, together with other artists from South-Africa, Brazil and Lebanon. How does he, through his 'foreign eyes', look at the city of Belo Horizonte and what are blind spaces?

Structured as a video project in and around the cities of Durban and Belo Horizonte the essence of 'Blind Spaces' is to look at the spaces of in-between'. Blind spaces refer to a marginalised situation, space or person that, by virtue of its relegated position, finds itself existing outside of the framework that society has structured; this despite the fact that they are such vital components within the matrix of the whole.

Blind spaces are discovered by 'feeling' with our eyes, by looking differently and beyond what we normally see. Through it, around it, between it. For example, it is not about looking at the buildings of a city, but rather at those spaces in between buildings: vacant lots, deserted alleys, on flyovers, underground, above the clouds, under your feet (all the time).

Belo Horizonte, like most cities or towns, has many blind spaces. The notorious Favelas or slum areas are on the outskirts of the city. These are not blind spaces in the sense that they are not visible, but they become blind because they are ignored - 'out of sight, out of mind'.

Standing on a crowded evening bus observing the intimacy between a mother and her son becomes a blind space. The son, holding his mother’s hand was stroking the length of her fingers in a loving way. She in turn had her arm around his shoulders, comforting and protecting him. That small moment of warm emotion between mother and son in the context of the hustle and bustle of everyday life at the end of an exhausting week, becomes a blind space. Viewing the situation from a short distance places my gaze in a blind space. A space that is not identified because of its position of secrecy. This act of voyeurism becomes the blind space by virtue of its anonymity. This particular exchange between mother and son becomes the subject of the blind space.

'Blind Spaces' will manifest itself as six films and a comprehensive publication that will document some of the notions of Blind Spaces in Durban and Belo Horizonte. This project is a joint initiative of PULSE (Durban, South Africa) and CEIA (Belo Horizonte, Brazil), both partners in the RAIN Artists' Initiatives Network.

February 2005, Belo Horizonte