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A micro-edition of Poe's tale in Portuguese, distributed during the investigation
Public conference, Porto Alegre, April 2013 Photo Cristiano Sant'Anna
The pollution of lake Guaíba, related to the history of the anti-floods protection system
The archive table in the exhibition Photo Cristiano Sant'Anna
Museu do Porto Alegre, september 2013 Photo Cristiano Sant'Anna

> investigation: Into the maelström
> projects: L’assemblée maelström, Festival Les Urbaines, Lausanne
Into the maelström, Swiss Art Awards, Basel
> texts: The Lithographer (edition inserted in the catalogue)
Sarah Demeuse on Surfando no Dilúvio (catalogue of Weather Permitting)
Le maelström par Grégory Quenet


Do you think most people would recognize that shape? –No, I don't think so. –Why? –Because... Most of us don't have this image in mind. We don't experience it, we don't use it.
This is really the kind of positivist view, the linearity! / É a gente que tà no lugar errado / Usually, I call it a lake
The Guaíba watershed, as the shape of a new assembly gathering the concerned people
Porque tambem eram pescadores para eles aqui melhor / It looks a bit like a battlefield / Perdi o controle do corpo e tremia absurdamente / Notou alguma alteração na agua?
A soccer fields located in the center of the city, also conceived as an emergency water-storage basin in case of heavy rain
Embankments, canalization, floods: the shores of Porto Alegre as an always shifting frontier

Surfando no Dilúvio (Maelström Porto Alegre)
Sandrine Teixido / Aurélien Gamboni

9e Bienal do Mercosul, Porto Alegre, september – december 2013

This projects takes place in the context of a long-term investigation led by Aurélien Gamboni and Sandrine Teixido, based on the Edgar Allen Poe short story "A Descent into the Maelström" (1841). Considering this tale to be a powerful conceptual tool, allowing for an interrogation of the perception of environmental changes, Sandrine and Aurélien have collected narratives that profoundly resonate with Poe's story.

Through a series of investigation residencies in Porto Alegre, they collected numerous testimonies that shed light on some of the complexities and diversity of the inhabitants' relationships with their natural environment, more specifically in relation to the spectacular floods of 1941. Witnesses and survivors, but also researchers in hydrology, geology and climatology, and members of communities more deeply affected by this major event – such as the fishing community of Vila Guaíba – have been invited to appropriate Poe's maelström in relation to their own experience, to share a new common object able to shift the usual perspectives and objects of controversy.

Following this investigation, a new fictional text, "The Lithographer," has been written and inserted in the Biennial's catalogue, offering a re-composition of the people, places and issues encountered. Certain of the emblematic locations evoked in this narrative – such as the little tower of the Museo do Porto Alegre, or the shores of Vila Guaíba – also hosted micro-assembly situations, collectively gathering the concerned persons. In the exhibition, a series of drawings and documents from the investigation were presented next to the archives of all the transcribed interviews. A recording of the tale in Portuguese, read for this occasion by one of its Brazilian translators, João Paulo Silveira de Souza, could also be consulted on the site.