The four churches that appear in Transbarroco are among the most significant examples of Brazilian religious architecture of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries: the Church of San Francisco in Salvador, Bahia; the Third Order of Saint Francis in Rio de Janeiro; the Church of Saint Francis of Assisi in Ouro Preto; and the Cathedral of Mariana in Mariana, Minas Gerais. The film work unfolds across four screens in scenes entitled Gold, The Blue, Sky and Earth, and China.
The soundscape for the installation is a collage of text, voices, ambience, and contrasting rhythms. Within the mix that combines the drumming of the Bahia-based collective Olodum, the music of the Mariana Church organ, and sounds captured during the filming—voices of church guides, children playing, bells, and samba music—the Angolan writer José Eduardo Agualusa reads an excerpt from Gilberto Freyre’s Casa—Grande & Senzala (The Masters and the Slaves), which addresses the influence of the vernacular language of endearment used by black nannies towards the children in their care on the evolution of the Portuguese language in Brazil.
Artwork © Adriana Varejão. Co-direction: Adriano Pedrosa; production: Lula Buarque de Hollanda; soundtrack: Berna Ceppas; installation footage: Clarice De Veyra; special thanks to Louise Neri, Kelso Wyeth, Miriam Perez, PerryDuke, Deborah McLeod, Ronnie Gunter, Courtney Raterman, and Amanda Stoffel