@NEOCRONICA / Sérgio L Tavares Filho, Brazilian, Senior digital creative based in Helsinki, PhD researcher at the Nordic Digital Culture Network. Media, art, stories and design go together. And only together.

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Notes on style #2

I’ve been thinking lately about some matters about style. Personal style. It seems to be developed as a collage of influences that you embrace throughout life, particularly more intensely in certain sprints of coming-of-age, and those can happen at any point of life, when one decides to reinvent oneself.
But having, composing or creating your own style is often a task of giving up oneself, leaving the shell, leaving the outer skin behind. Some strong-minded people figure out what they are or want to be in early age and live up to that for good. That’s when you have the needy heavy-metal fan with white socks and black shorts in his mid-thirties. Is he strong for sticking to it or is he weak for not letting the zeitgeist in? And those who let the spirit of times come in — are those open-minded or simply letting trends mold them? I changed my style according to my state of affairs with the world. I’ve never had much money when I was a rebel, so style was not much of an array of choices available. Still, I had some choices to make (I tend to think that there is, never, the occasion of opening the drawer and putting on the first t-shirt; for comfort reasons, for adaptation to the day and so on). Later, when started working, I started to make my own purchases. N would go crazy with the kind of crap I would bring from the stores. I then began to evaluate utility, occasions and an overall (or underlying) style to it. When I left Academia and joined business, the undertones also changed. Something had a different meaning then: it made little sense for a researcher living on grants to dress up with Danish overcoats. But one thing didn’t change, and that mounts to my high school scheduler that asked me: what’s your style? I didn’t know how to answer that. I was a bit jealous of a friend who’s sister filled his book saying his style was “the hunk”. On mine I just answered: “intellectual”. Years later, I’ve answered a brilliant personality test that stated I was “a cool, modern nerd; Encyclopedia Britannica type”. Up to date, I keep my style contemporary, but with classy, real vintage overall feel. One important matter may be that I’m a person who never lets style speak louder, although I kind of admire the widespread perversion that puts style first. I leave a grin to the hipsters, I admire their task, although at some point it becomes boring and superficial, despite the intricate depth of their superficiality.

I’ve had diverse influences from my father and mother’s family. My father’s family come from a long-tradition of Portuguese heritage, in the civic and frugal São Paulo of the beginning of the XX Century. My mother’s ancestors on the other hand came from Germany, Austria and Italy to Southern Brazil, working on the country side.
I myself lived in a mid-sized, urban and rurally-influenced city and later moved to Rio and later on to Helsinki. I’ve liked the American country furniture we had, the small motifs, the simple colonial mahogany, the checks, the tiny patterns of teal blue and wine. The sophistication of my grandpa’s library I took to myself, as the admiration for his capitoné mustard-leather armchair and the whole lot of books. Later on, working with architects I’ve learned to like a bit the baroque style that is seen so much in my southern region — made mostly of italian immigrants, there are planta, dark walls and lots of golden ornaments and frames. Moving to Scandinavia gave me a new perspective on minimalism, which I’ve liked already but was more focused on waxed cement and loft-like spaces. In here there is a lot of less is more and monochromatic environments delicately tarnished with a small spot of colour pigment dissolved in water.
It mounts up, well, to religion. That’s how I see it. Catholic styles of opulence and luxurious well being, against Protestants and their elegant functionality built to last.

Notes on style #2

I’ve been thinking lately about some matters about style. Personal style. It seems to be developed as a collage of influences that you embrace throughout life, particularly more intensely in certain sprints of coming-of-age, and those can happen at any point of life, when one decides to reinvent oneself.
But having, composing or creating your own style is often a task of giving up oneself, leaving the shell, leaving the outer skin behind. Some strong-minded people figure out what they are or want to be in early age and live up to that for good. That’s when you have the needy heavy-metal fan with white socks and black shorts in his mid-thirties. Is he strong for sticking to it or is he weak for not letting the zeitgeist in? And those who let the spirit of times come in — are those open-minded or simply letting trends mold them? I changed my style according to my state of affairs with the world. I’ve never had much money when I was a rebel, so style was not much of an array of choices available. Still, I had some choices to make (I tend to think that there is, never, the occasion of opening the drawer and putting on the first t-shirt; for comfort reasons, for adaptation to the day and so on). Later, when started working, I started to make my own purchases. N would go crazy with the kind of crap I would bring from the stores. I then began to evaluate utility, occasions and an overall (or underlying) style to it. When I left Academia and joined business, the undertones also changed. Something had a different meaning then: it made little sense for a researcher living on grants to dress up with Danish overcoats. But one thing didn’t change, and that mounts to my high school scheduler that asked me: what’s your style? I didn’t know how to answer that. I was a bit jealous of a friend who’s sister filled his book saying his style was “the hunk”. On mine I just answered: “intellectual”. Years later, I’ve answered a brilliant personality test that stated I was “a cool, modern nerd; Encyclopedia Britannica type”. Up to date, I keep my style contemporary, but with classy, real vintage overall feel. One important matter may be that I’m a person who never lets style speak louder, although I kind of admire the widespread perversion that puts style first. I leave a grin to the hipsters, I admire their task, although at some point it becomes boring and superficial, despite the intricate depth of their superficiality.

I’ve had diverse influences from my father and mother’s family. My father’s family come from a long-tradition of Portuguese heritage, in the civic and frugal São Paulo of the beginning of the XX Century. My mother’s ancestors on the other hand came from Germany, Austria and Italy to Southern Brazil, working on the country side.
I myself lived in a mid-sized, urban and rurally-influenced city and later moved to Rio and later on to Helsinki. I’ve liked the American country furniture we had, the small motifs, the simple colonial mahogany, the checks, the tiny patterns of teal blue and wine. The sophistication of my grandpa’s library I took to myself, as the admiration for his capitoné mustard-leather armchair and the whole lot of books. Later on, working with architects I’ve learned to like a bit the baroque style that is seen so much in my southern region — made mostly of italian immigrants, there are planta, dark walls and lots of golden ornaments and frames. Moving to Scandinavia gave me a new perspective on minimalism, which I’ve liked already but was more focused on waxed cement and loft-like spaces. In here there is a lot of less is more and monochromatic environments delicately tarnished with a small spot of colour pigment dissolved in water.
It mounts up, well, to religion. That’s how I see it. Catholic styles of opulence and luxurious well being, against Protestants and their elegant functionality built to last.

Moving and living

We have been wondering about moving to our own flat. Actually, we just want to get out as soon as possible from our cute one-room rental. Te small refrigerator drives me crazy everytime we go to the market. We have no dishwasher and no microwaves oven either. We’ve developed dishwashing turns in the most liberal fashion: one can do the dishes whenever one wants, and the accumulation sets the tension between doing it and delaying this annoying task. It works, and we are considerate enough to count as a washing round only after a meal has been prepared.
When considering a rental, our price limit is considerably high, but we only want to live there for a year. It has been for me a feeling of defeat not moving to something of our own, again. There is little difference in practice, since the bank will own it for twenty years, but perhaps it’s a Generation Y thing of a pre-cloud culture. We agreed that the re rental would last for a year, until we sell my family’s state in Brazil and then get something of ours. And then the question comes:: city center or suburbs?
Traveling back by train yesterday with a client we’ve talked about this decision. Moving away from the e center sounds just so terrifyingly permanent. The comfort you arrange for your nest is what traps you in, perhaps. Space, garden, working office. Some sort of excitement is lost, a sense of improvisation and spontaneity that you have when living in the city. We don’t make so much use of that, or not that often, but it is still there; the bars, the cafes, a film festival or a museum that we visit only a few times a year. It is not the museum itself, but being impacted on your everyday life by the tram ads, the street signs telling about a new exhibition. This is a feeling I missed hen living in smaller cities; the feeling of being part of something — your opinion counts as a member of the audience, the producers count on the coins in your pocket to attend, participate, share an opinion about it. Perhaps it was when spending the first days in New York that I most felt this vibe: everyone had some sense of awareness of the going around the town, and incredible feeling of a small town or community, something in common, that may still be there in smaller places. But in smaller places I cannot connect to the drift for, maybe, a blatant lack of interest. In bigger cities you are part of the things you love, even if only passively participating. The two-way impact keeps you going and even the chaos is a common enemy to you and the city. Helsinki has no chaos, that may be reason enough for me to enjoy living here so much. The tram, on time, is a loyal friend.

Blue collars, white Mercedes

Filmings in the morning were icy cold, cloudy sky, merciless wind to the point of cracked mouth. A few hours later and a warm sun would open up and even blue sky. We filmed a young factory worker. I could see how proud, nervous and terrified he was at the same time. Yesterday there was a transport strike, and that got me Marx at the top of mind: the factory worker, the fear, gratitude and hate towards white collars and how, at times, I would feel that our filming crew would be faced by them with indifference and bitterness, as if we would take them as motifs to make more profit to done one else. I remember once in Berlin, I tried to film a drunk peasant with a pocket camera and he reacted fiercely: “I am… People!” I’ll never forget that; it was the moment I understood the very core of the European concept of we, all of us, the People. So different in Brazil: people is always the other. A couple of days ago I went to watch History of Fear in Love & Anarchy festival in Helsinki. I loved it. So many issues I could relate to since ever. The audience yawned. Some staring at phones, checking the remaining time. I can se why. The young factory worker took us to his car, we wanted to show his hobbies. He drove away on his shiny and sleek, all white, brand new sport Mercedes. I had a punch of satisfaction for the People at that moment.
I had a medium to raw stake at the hotel, with amazed spiced butter. It reminded me of Bibi’s butter in Rio, from Jardim Botanico. Melting, full of herbs. I had to further the conversation on the theme of our campaign, “the idol”. I’ve suggested that we would show old images of superheroes from vintage television. Found even some in public domain. Cool stuff. The discussion went over sorbet, a claim that our first idols are our parents. I had to end the topic with a slightly ironic, poignant provocation: we are showing this to the backwaters of the world, possibly to some generations of inbreed people that have been living like that for ages — the TV doesn’t have a drinking problem; it doesn’t beat your momma up, it doesn’t dismiss or neglect you; it is always there, diverting what it promises, a lot of it, more of it, all the time, unconditional love.

Traveling for work

So once again we’re traveling for work. In the past couple o years there’s been Sweden, Germany and some places inside Finland. Woke up a few minutes before the alarm clock and slept a few more, also before the snooze. I started to healthily dismissing the habit of the snooze button. On Mondays it’s particularly difficult, because I organize the week in my head on Sunday nights an that makes me sleepless. I’m reading three books at the same time, now. Digital Adaptation, which I cannot read before sleep, because it sparkles several ideas related to work. Last time it was past one and I had my moleskine opened and a lot of drafts written. That one is perfect for mornings, not so much for evening commuting when I’m tired. Another is The Circle, lent to me by a friend. It’s basically a Sci-Fi take on Palo Alto, and last night the page 100 gave me a wonderful insight on a project I’ve been working on. *I have done an underpaid freelance job that led me to polish it in this project, and the book has helped further. Just making a point on how underestimated or simple things, when taken to the same broad yet similar direction, may build from each other.* The last book I’m reading now is Sartre’s The Nausea. It was funny because I bought it months ago in Stockholm and just now started it, after reading some of Camus’ essays. I went through the first pages thinking I was reading Camus, only to remember later, hey, this is not a different style, but a different author! They had their quarrels between each other, but I started seeing them as two sides of the same coin. They probably thought themselves like that, too. While Camus, aka “the Don Draper of philosophy”, has a much more, uhm, exploratory take on his surroundings, while Sartre can delve for pages on the ripped surface of a poster on some shady street of Paris. And I love it. There is some fantasy too, such as imaginary absurd characters, radically different from the worse fully ordinary characters of Camus. So I’m guessing Sartre is more of the McCann of philosophy right now …

Recent movies to watch in 2014 →

Some are not there, some not there yet. But this is a comprehensive list of what we want to watch at home in the next months. Those include some Asian voices, Spanish movies that we historically love, some French, Russian, American, Nordic and Latin voices as well.

My 2014 Reading List, Reading, Writing, Doctor Sleep

I always have my reading lists privately sorted out, and they usually change a bit along the year as I discover new things. Generally, discoveries are not of new authors (not even new works of authors I appreciate).

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O Mundo Segundo os Brasileiros: Minha parte! →

A rotina no Instagram (Pt)

image

Tentando entender o código visual atual do faça-você-mesmo, aparecem diversas contradições que só ao longo do tempo acabam por se cristalizar. Instagram e filtro não são novidades, mas a sua assimilação cultural não é pontual, mas contínua.

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