I'm going. I'm gone.

On the Exhibition: Daredevils | Exploradores Audaciosos


I'm going. I'm gone."Daredevils - Exploradores audaciosos", exhibition text for 0,0º (João Dias + Pedro Pires) exhibition at Biblioteca Camões, Lisbon

I'm going. I'm gone.


"Daredevils - Exploradores audaciosos",

0,0º (João Dias + Pedro Pires) at Biblioteca Camões


One decade after the March 1889 opening of the Tour Eiffel, the audacious Franz Reichelt, Austrian-born French tailor decided to jump from the most famous monument at that time, wrapped in his own design: a wearable parachute. The parachute failed and Reichelt died February 1912 in front of the Tour Eiffel. Innumerable drawings, sketches, photographies and even a film fragment (shot on spot) document his death. He has been integrated into the history of aeronautics, appropriated by design history in honour of his flamboyant fatal costume and by performance history maybe due to the imaginary intensity of his act.

Another Parisian character, André-Jacques Garnerin, had already successfully invented the first parachute back in 1797, when he jumped from a montgolfier 900 meters high and landed safely in the parc Monceau in Paris. But his memory seems to have been met with less passion.

People were running to the Tour Eiffel to watch the strangely dressed little man, as the daredevil's world is always connected with the necessity of staging demonstrative acts. It counts with a witness, a viewer, it is exhibitive. In fact the daredevil associates himself usually to the grandeur of universal natural forces or even that of architecture, it needs to surpass the human scale: he flies against the wind, he swims the ocean, he jumps, he is unbeatable. We go to watch, as we also want to become part of a zone of being where the possible and impossible loose frontiers.

For 0,0º it is precisely the inconsequential quality of daredevils' acts, with their deviant, astonishing, remarkable qualities, but also with their simplicity which aliment this show at Biblioteca Camões.

We are met in this show with minimal elements that witness the monumentality of objects, states or qualities 'on the verge', in between this or another state. It is in this failed or 'almost failed' condition, in this missed conjunction that we actually start to grasp the tragism of the governing forces of our existence - like gravity, balance, energy, movement.

In fact from Franz Reichelt's story, as well as from all other daredevils' histories, we learn that what makes them extraordinary is not their overpassing of the possibilities of the 'real', but the daredevils' perception of the possible, which brings them either to death or to the surpassing of their condition.

In this sense, this condensed show at Biblioteca Camões spins around some key elements which mark these mechanisms and powers of changing the 'real' by perception: the magnifying glass which redirects the forces of light, perpetual movements of a tennis ball which defy gravity, a hammer which sustains an impossible balance. In these small incongruities, in which the most banal objects and human gestures become marionettes for the outplay of super-human deviant forces, lies the amazement of the viewer.

In their little cabinet, 0,0º play with the necessity of being oneself, of standing naturally in the world according to one's own laws of the possible.

In this sense, we are faced in this show also with the principle of muzeification of the 'extraordinary' – which is specific not only for the daredevil's desire to change history by being himself, but also in the dedication of any collector invested in building his own universe – constructing a personal cabinet of curiosities, which has relevance only for himself. These two somehow similar impulses are maybe the blatant and internalized sides of the same coin.

0,0º's show seems to allude even formally to a cabinet or lab – a personal micro-universe of the impossible: a mix of science and art, connoisseurship and amateurism, the bizarre and the banal.

The actions and practices of the daredevil and of the collector of curiosities remain both in alternative histories, as they remain singular acts without continuity and have no relevance beyond a purely subjective one.

On the other hand they also dispose of a monumental character which originates from the fact that small ideas, gestures, the accident, the aleatory character of life are treated as universally important, existential happenings for which one can give his life-time or his entire life.

Unnecessary for daily life, acquisition of curiosity and irrational acts of courage suppose nevertheless (with eclecticism, precision and untamed forces) an orientation towards the future.

Like the curiosities collector, the daredevil seeks to ever expand his discoveries of the possibilities of the world. The more I understand the properties and qualities of the world - the more I want to posses them.

The daredevil's cabinet of curiosities of João Dias + Pedro Pires expel a climate of purity of belief that the world extends infinitely its laws according to personal needs, no matter in which direction.

Marta Jecu