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    Blueprints of power



    Born in Madeira, Portugal in 1988, Tiago Casanova studied Architecture at Faculdade de Arquitetura da Universidade do Porto, where he was one of the founders of Scopio - International Photography Magazine in 2010. He was also one of the founders of the XYZ Books Publishing house and Bookshop in 2013, A ILHA (Gallery and Art Space) in 2014, and Estúdio Bulhufas in 2017.


    He has been exhibiting his work regularly in solo and group shows since 2006. Besides the work he produces in the context of his artistic investigation and practice, he also develops a professional career as an editor, book-maker, curator and exhibition designer.


    In 2012, he was the recipient of the BES Revelação Photography Award and of an Honorable Mention at Novos Talentos Fnac Fotografia. In 2014, his work was mentioned for the best work selection at Plat(t)form - Fotomuseum Winterthur, and in 2015 he won the Jury Award at Festival A3 Bandas in Madrid.


    He is represented by Galeria Carlos Carvalho (Lisbon). He is currently based in Lisbon and Porto. 




    Base Camp turns Ground Control


    Or the emergence of the emergency: Where do we go from here?


    Part III


    Ground control to Major Tom
    Ground control to Major Tom
    Take your protein pills and put your helmet on

    Ground control to Major Tom (ten, nine, eight, seven)
    Commencing countdown, engines on (six, five, four, three)
    Check ignition, and may God's love be with you (two, one, lift off)

    This is ground control to Major Tom
    You've really made the grade
    And the papers want to know whose shirts you wear
    Now it's time to leave the capsule if you dare

    This is Major Tom to ground control
    I'm stepping through the door
    And I'm floating in the most peculiar way
    And the stars look very different today

    For here am I sitting in a tin can
    Far above the world
    Planet Earth is blue, and there's nothing I can do

    Though I'm past one hundred thousand miles
    I'm feeling very still
    And I think my spaceship knows which way to go
    Tell my wife I love her very much, she knows

    Ground control to Major Tom
    Your circuit's dead, there's something wrong
    Can you hear me, Major Tom?
    Can you hear me, Major Tom?
    Can you hear me, Major Tom?
    Can you?

    Here am I floating 'round my tin can
    Far above the Moon
    Planet Earth is blue, and there's nothing I can do

    David Bowie (Space Oddity)



    The hyperobject is here, the Climate Crisis as the biggest challenge humanity has ever faced. Why? Because it comprises the possibility of the end of our own kind. That’s the very definition of an existential threat - a threat that can lead to an extinction, our extinction.


    Quite surprisingly, after settling out what could have been seen as a decades long debate about the origin of such a crisis, and despite the current scientific consensus around the anthropogenic origins of the Climate Crisis, a significant part of the world have transitioned from denying it altogether (or in the best case scenario it’s human centered origins), to claim that whatever crisis is out there, there isn’t much we can do about it. “F*ck it, the world will end anyways, so why should I move out of my comfort zone?”


    This idea is becoming terrifyingly mainstream. From the denial of the very existence of a problem, people now claim that the problem is beyond a solution. It’s quite a dramatic, radical change. But one thing is kept constant though, the denial that assures our hands stay off the problem. The rational being: (1) “if there is no problem, then I don’t need to do something about it.” But the same holds true: (2) “if there is a problem but there are no solutions to it.” In either case, I am only assuring that I am staying put, comfortably enjoying whatever life I have in front of me.


    This denial is the ultimate form of violence, the violence of doing nothing, of having our hands tied (or simply resting in our pockets) as we walk into the abyss. This denial is ubiquitous and is the underlying violence of contemporaneity.


    In “Blueprints of powerTiago Casanova brings us details of photos of hands of criminals showcasing them in a “freedom blue”. These are the hands of crime, of violence. Of power. Hands. But hands can do and undo. Hands build. Hands destroy. Hands create and disintegrate. Hands can write the most beautiful poem or equation, as well as press the switch that launches a nuclear warhead. Our hands, the same hands that commit a crime, will be the ones finding the solution. Because hands are action. All that is humanly made is, at some point, made by hands.


    Can we still reverse entropy?, as Isasc Asimov asked in “The last question”? “Entropy, little sweet, is just a word which means the amount of running-down of the universe. Everything runs down, you know, like your little walkie-talkie robot, remember?


    Base camp turned ground control asks you, where do you want to be? Among those that claim that nothing can be done? Or among those that wanna put their hands on the future that lies in front of them?


    You, your hands, have the power to do nothing, and the power to do all.


    Rui Soares Costa

    Lisbon, September 2023