Alexandre Mazza | In the desert, we are the oasis

(to my love)

The very beginning comes from language. There was always action, creation and transformation—simultaneously. Even before time, everything was already in potential with a chance of meaning. The Universe was born of the vagina of this language-woman, while she gave birth to another version of herself, delivering a new Universe that then followed the flow of that constant gestation of the Universe, giving birth to the cornucopia of cornucopias. What exists that we use to create meaning? What determines existences? Even with this distance that, secretly, wears me down with longing, is everything well on the other side, where that point shines in the South Atlantic? Does it still shine? Will it shine on?

Many summers before the time of our great-grandparents, Ogum, who would create metal tools for farming and war, stirred from sleep. It was he who helped the Sumerians create the plough that could dig lines in the earth that the Romans came to call “lira”. The word “delirium” comes from a Latin expression referring to when the movement of the plough is dislodged from the rectilinear furrow and creates unexpected curves in the soil. Delirium is thus directly related to the diversion of seed, the flowering in difference.

One afternoon last year, in a traffic jam on the Lagoa-Barra highway, Alexandre Mazza had a vision of a beautiful winged entity, part bird, part angel, part woman, but which could definitely not be defined by comparison. There are many kinds of desert (rocky, sandy, snowy, populated, extraterrestrial, emotional, metaphorical, incarnate, Samarco), but the apparition on the highway chose to reveal itself floating over the ground of a flat mirrored desert. It soon disappeared but not before showing the artist the way to find it again. A few months later, a team of seven would begin its 20-day excursion in the deserts of Latin America, with the mission of investigating the relation between life and mystery, desire and movement.

It was not easy to be in the desert. For a while, we believed that where there was no water, there could be no light, lucidity, fertility or vanity. It is true that we spent days without even seeing insects. At one point, we were in the driest place on the planet; at another, we were 5,000 meters above sea level, struggling for air. On the way, we passed through enchanted valleys, crossing Shangri-la, El Dorado, Neverland; we went from 45ºC to the middle of a snowstorm in one hour; we were between salt lake and the mirror of Oxum, which is the Moon; we fled from the landless workers who surrounded the citadel and threw fireworks at us; we drove for hours in the darkness of a sandstorm; we visited Loucura Peak, we climbed the mast of danger, we bumped into Xangô at the foot of the powerful Licancabur volcano; we thought that we might not return to Rio, go back to normal. But, together, we understood that, in the desert, we are the oasis: we are 70% water, and carry within all the power it contains.

On afternoon, in the shadow of a dune, we noticed that one of our team, Lack, was running a fever. Lack’s body temperature was rising so fast that she was burning up before our very eyes. From her ashes, three shining stone eggs appeared. To keep them awake, we rang bells and licked a high-tech hologram that reproduced the powers of the Universe. When we fell asleep, time did its work and the Dawn cracked the eggs and the entity we were seeking hatched out.

We soon noticed that the entity defined its movements by approaching and recoiling form signs that corresponded respectively to its desires and fears. We understood that, although visible and similar to us in this respect, it inhabited another Universe. We follow it and the footprints we make in sandy part of the desert will only be erased by the next shower of rain. It seems that it has been 8 years since it last rained. In a rocky fragile part of the desert, it takes several thousands of years to develop its fine solid surfaces over the sand. If even a careful step is capable of destroying thousands of years of work of the Universe, we must reflect on the reason for each action.

When transgression is a choice and not a form of servitude, it is more in charge of its own questions, better understands the risk it poses to the surrounding environment. In the desert, we pursue our questions (And life? What is life? Tell me, ‘bro’.), we leave answers blowing in the wind, we are mirages to the unbelieving mountains; we lovingly offer a branch of perfumed angels at the Calle Pachamama crossroads. It is good to remember that Faith is defined as the courage to believe in a mystery and mystery is the substance of the unexplained. Life exists so long as there is attraction to mystery, whose final destination is similar to that of desire: inevitable death ahead, an inexhaustible source behind.

One day, we woke up and the entity had gone. Lack was back with us, following us as part of the group. When we finally got back to Rio de Janeiro, Alexandre Mazza brought with him a series of works, visual translations of enigmatic desert words and of the entity that we tracked for several weeks. These are pieces that explore, relate to and revere ideas of revelation, cycles, time, transformation, desire, life and mystery. In each work, there are echoes of many questions, reflections of many movements and the certainty that, if it is of the Light, it will shine.