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A L T O is an Art Residency held in Brazil within the mountains of Alto Paraiso, 230km from Brasilia. It exists as a container for self-directed artists who wish to nurture their work through embracing the particularities of Alto Paraiso, surrounded by abundant raw nature, jungle & fauna and a powerful and ever–changing landscape, which can inspire, or set new work production, within an evident context of our connection with the land and sustainability.
A L T O provides a space for critical observation of the project, conceptually and technically. It is held at Mariri Jungle Lodge, a creative home and permacultural project space, where as an add-on to the residency there is also the possibility to cooperate with local sustainability by working in the orchards, organic veg patches, recycling, healthy nutrition and bio-construction, providing further connection to the land and its residents.


Alto Art Residency seen through the eyes of a kolibiri
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Deviation to the Chapada

A L T O artistic residence, in Alto Paraíso de Goiás, seeks to create an alternative for production and reflection in the middle of the region considered an ecological sanctuary. Fabio Cypriano - April 1, 2019


It was thanks to the film Stanley Kubrick's "Eyes Closed" (1999) that Finnish-born Brazilian Marianne Soisalo created one of the most radical art residencies amid the exuberant nature of the mountains of Alto Paraíso de Goiás, 230 km from Brasilia, in the Chapada dos Veadeiros.

Living in London in the 1990s, Mari, as she is called by her friends, was one of the owners of the cabaret Madame Jojo, who was rented by Kubrick to record one of the scenes from her film when the character played by Tom Cruise meets his musician friend.

"With the money from the rent, she bought the land where the residence now operates," says artist Rodrigo Garcia Dutra, who since last year has shared the responsibility for the A L T O residence with Mari.


Although the film was shot at the end of the last century, the land in Alto Paraíso was acquired only in 2008 and construction began in 2011. In the meantime, Mari, an environmental activist with a master's degree in zoology from Cambridge University,  would sleep at 'Bruce', her Landrover, when she was going to the land.


In the place she built two houses on separate trees, planned and carried out by a German specialist, one of them have 30 meters of height. The view from there is breathtaking, with blue macaws flying over the area. These homes are the main atraction of the Mariri Jungle Lodge, a creative home and a permaculture project space. It was along with the artist Karolina Daria Flora and the Spanish artist Rafael Perez Evans, currently living in London, that she created A L T O, receiving artists both by subscribing to and by invitation, which has been organized by Dutra and Mariana Bassani.

Dutra went to live in Alto Paraíso in 2017 to work at the Art and Education Institute of the Goiás Department of Education and work with art in public schools and a settlement of the 'Landless Workers Movement'. "After five months in the public service I decided to leave, and since I was in contact with Mari, I ended up getting involved in the residence," says Dutra. Having graduated from the Royal College of Art in London in 2014, he returned to Brazil to attend and exhibit his work at the 'Mestizo Stories' show the same year at the Tomie Ohtake Institute, and eventually became involved with the Huni Kuin Indigenous, who were there for a ritual of ayahuasca in the art piece of Ernesto Neto. "Because of this tea, I decided to go back to Brazil," explains the artist.

ALTO is a very private residence, with an open stay, because it is aimed at artists who are involved with the land and with sustainability. This is the case, for example, by the English writer Olivia Sprinkel, who will spend some time there in the coming months, writing about global warming.

However, it is not only activists who are invited, but also those interested in the theme, such as the artists Manoela Medeiros and Romain Dumesnil, who spent two weeks there last year at the invitation of Dutra. Together, they have the Atoms, an autonomous art space, in Rio de Janeiro. The artists Marcia Ribeiro, Julie Beaufils, Daniela Fortes and Bia Monteiro have already passed through the residence at the invitation of Dutra, and in 2019 the artist Ivan Grilo is scheduled to arrive.


"I think it is important to move the spaces of production and reflection in art out of the big urban centers", defends Dutra.

One of the works created by Medeiros in the residence is a re-reading of 'Caminhando', emblematic work created by Lygia Clark, in 1964, in turn an appropriation of the tape of Moebius, where inside and outside constitutes the same space. While Clark's work is on paper, Medeiros's review is with Bananeira tree leaves.

While on the one hand the experience in Alto do Paraiso is dazzling because of the diversity of the region's forests and waterfalls, it is also challenging in the face of conflicts with agribusiness. This practice was probably responsible for the fire that occurred in October 2017, which destroyed 35,000 hectares of savannah vegetation in the Veadeiros National Park, soon after its expansion by about three times. It is speculated that the fire, started at the same time in many different places, would have been a counter-offensive of the farmers.

With this situation of polarization, which is the portrait of Brazil today, ALTO becomes an experience of immersion in an ecological sanctuary that, far from being mere tourism, is, after all, another way of experiencing the most central conflicts and dilemmas in the country.

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