Série Carnavalesca (Carnival Series)
In 1972 Vilém Flusser starts the Posto Zero a column (something like surveillance post) in the newspaper A Folha de São Paulo. As his assistant at the time, we met to prepare classes and exchange ideas about action plans, one of them Posto Zero. To Flusser, the title indicated the necessary distance from reality to understand it and to formulate paradigms.
One of the subjects, in February 1972, was carnival, that became a series. Serie Carnavalesca (Carnival Series): Sintese (Synthesis) published on February 12th, Saturday; Máscaras (Masks) on February 14th, Monday; Festa (Festivity) on February 15th, Tuesday; Cinzas (Ashes) on February 16th, Wednesday. All four accompanied by my drawings.
In our conversations, Flusser animatedly exposed the topic and how he would treat it and I, from there, before even knowing the text, prepared the drawing to be used in the column. It was not about illustration and as you see the drawings do not illustrate them in terms of content. They are abstractions arising from the excitement caused by the title and the comments in conversation.(the content, the rhythm, the intonation and the accent) Of this series, delivered to the newsroom, I kept only two. Festa (Festivity) and Máscaras (Masks).
Recently, in 2020, Baruch Gottlieb from Vilém Flusser Archive, Berlin, noticed a relationship with drawings by Mira Schendel. In fact, it was these drawings, on that occasion, that led Flusser to introduce me to Mira, of whom I became a friend and admirer.
There were other articles that I have little memory of and I don't know if they were published or not. Bengala (Walking stick) and Floresta (?) (Forest), Bosque (?) (Grove) Without remembering if there were two titles or if I am confused by the similarity of the inner content: walking in the forest, you should use a stick, a cane... And he commented, more than once, that it is said, in Latin, becil for cane and whoever has no cane is an imbecile. The reasoning takes a few turns: the Latin imbecillus (weak) is composed of in (without) plus baculum (cane). The use led imbeciles to mean weak of the head. But the linguistic joke can go further: baguette (bread format) from Italian, originally bacchetta, or miniature bacchio, came from baculum. Is an imbecile a poorly fed?
After the Carnival Series Flusser considered the theme of the brazilian flag, Order and Progress. He commented that there is an order to destroy and progress towards the end. I drew something in comics format with four frames. An anthropomorphic stain, Samson Flexor inspired, growing from one frame to the next, showing the last one completely black. Black, here, I would say, without light...
But we didn't get there. On the street 7 de Abril, downtown São Paulo, we had coffee at a bar and Flusser went up to the newsroom to deliver the column of the day. It would be attended by the editor-in-chief Claudio Abramo. I waited at the table. On the way back, he told me that the column was canceled at the request of the social columnist on the same page who did not like the company. I think it was called Tavares de Miranda. He told me details of the conversation that are beside the point here.
Gabriel Borba, 2020