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Paulistas don’t know their city. It is simply too big.
On top of that, in this urban jungle one does not need to know all. The personal network of places and people determines the web of use that the Paulistas construct of their city. Paulistas live in parallel worlds, each of which is spatially and socially segregated by mechanisms of exclusion. Walls, fences, feelings of peril, feelings of not belonging, unwritten dress codes and entrance fees make it impossible for all to know all. Crime levels are high, but are these feelings of unsafety, threat and the need to segregate not just exaggerated by the unknown world behind the wall? Is it really the best option to rule out any probability of encountering the “other”?
At the start of our research workshop in São Paulo, I realised that I could not understand this city in a few weeks. Most Paulistas don’t even know it. But the eyes of the stranger can view things from a different perspective.
Exploring São Paulo has been my goal these weeks. Attempting to experience the city not from the Paulista point of view (car, bus, helicopter), shutting yourself off from an overkill of visual imput. Instead, walking and drifting have been my tools. Trying to find connections, gradients, events, similarities. Parallel worlds along the road.