I am finally able to start the block in a more appropriate manner, after recovering from the summer Brazil’s trip and a recent loss of a friend just right after I was back in the United Kingdom.
This portrait above of Rafael was taken by me in 2018, when we did a fashion shoot together, as he worked as a stylist and ran an online shop of pre-loved items. Rafa was one of my best friends and a victim of a rare cancer. Just as me, he was original from the countryside of Sao Paulo state in Brazil, and came to the UK just shortly after me, in 2005.
Just as me, he struggled sometimes with the cultural differences, and the difficulties in engaging in new relationships and on their maintenance. We both moved to this country as a free will act, but not because we could not have stayed in Brazil. The urge to travel, to revel the unknown, to learn more about the world and to evolve as a human being. If we had stayed, we would probably have better jobs that what we have here now, as we both were graduated and had a path that we could have followed.
As suggested by Surfaces and Strategies feedback, I have been reading some writings of Vilem Flusser, and they did indeed resonated “strongly with my thinking”. Describing his experience of losing his home of Prague as “A life in bottomlessness”, and that he experienced an “intoxicating sense of freedom” (Flusser, Vilém. Writings 2002. P.xx). Sometimes having too much freedom is not beneficial, as it can get someone to lose the direction. Too much to choose from is not necessarily a good thing, as it complicates more than solves.
Vilém says that all homes are equal, and they do feel equal. They become just a new home in an adopted place you chose to go. First, birth decides out homeland, and we have no choice on that. He describes the chains that he bounds to his neighbours, as placed on him. After the move of countries, the “hard-won freedom”, he is bound to the new neighbours by free will, and he describes that these ties are not less emotionally charge, but as strong and more independent. (Flusser, Vilém. Writings 2002. P.xxi)
It is interesting to see that he also started a project for his new homeland, for Brazil, where he analysed the culture and his “Search of a new man”. Vilem describes himself as lost and without direction and describes in this piece his path of transformation as being a European intellectual immigrant in an underdeveloped country. These thoughts happen practically automatically, and to allow that he had to apply phenomenology, where one leaves concepts and prejudices behind, before moving on. On the piece of writings “Femenologia do Brasileiro”, Flusser describes the social layers and the cultural backgrounds found in Brasil, and he uses the metaphor of islands that are dissolving to describe them. As a consequence of multiple divisions and oceans, he describes as: “easy to live as an immigrant, but desperately difficult to integrate” (Flusser, Page 10). He gave up on this project and on the country after the military coup in Brazil in 1964, as the situation changed, and Brazil started to become a dangerous place to be. He left in 1967.
This last piece of writing is very interesting to me, as it is a cultural, historical and philosophical analysis of my first homeland, and it is still very relevant on current days, but not every chapter is relevant to the theme I am exploring here.
Edith and Vilem Flusser took the South of France as their last homeland, before his death in 1991 in a road accident.
On the next post I will be talking about the piece “Taking up residence in homeleness”, also by Vilem Flusser. I am finding these writings of great importance to me and to the development of my project.
Flusser, Vilém. 2002. Writings. University of Minesota Press.
http://www.iphi.org.br/sites/filosofia_brasil/Vilem_Flusser_-_Fenomenologia_do_brasileiro.pdf (Accessed on the 22 October 2019).