Undeniable came to life for several reasons. The antecedent was my work on seeds and the need of forest regeneration, from 2019. With it, I aimed at understanding the links between landscape heritage, a commons and aesthetical beauty that conforms traditional landscapes of Southern Portugal. These same landscapes are now facing tremendous challenges, due to soil erosion and desertification within the scope of climate change. Forest regeneration is then a solution that mitigates the effects of the warming climate, improves air quality and provides resources and wellbeing for people, as well as habitats for several species, while improving the aesthetic landscape qualities of these rural territories.
At the same time, due to my education in Urban Design, I am aware of how these same climate change issues affect cities locally, in this Mediterranean, warming climate. Planting trees is a solution that brings many benefits for urban areas, such as a decrease in air temperatures until 5ºC, improvement of air quality, creation of visually appealing areas, among others. These are all aspects that, as I wondered around in Faro and caught a small seed of a cypress, were in my mind. During the pandemic, with the limitations of movement more people grew aware of the benefits of living in an area with green areas; how it improves their quality of life. In this small, geometrical, free pod were symbolically encapsulated the solution for global and local issues, improving the lives of many.
Observing the natural rhythms of nature and the resilience of seeds during the challenges brought by the Covid-19 pandemic taught me valuable lessons: unlike animals, plants are limited in their ability to seek out beneficial conditions for life and growth. Seeds stay dormant while waiting for the optimal conditions for survival of the resulting seedling to emerge.
Undeniable explores this universal concept, the innate power of life itself. It represents intelligence, possibilities and care - but also complex issues related to trade, economics, food systems and environmental concerns. It speaks of much needed large-scale territorial interventions, such as forest regeneration; and of small scale, green acupuncture in urban environments. Of organised, institutional efforts; and of seed balls and green guerrilla. Of hunger, social inequality and human potential; of shade, biodiversity, soil richness and desertification.
But mostly, I wanted to transmit the sense of hope that even the smallest things have, even when they are dormant.
Undeniable was also inspired by music, in particular bossa nova and jazz. I was interested in its playful, seemingly spontaneous rhythms, integrating diverse emotional tones; dark and bright nuances forming one coherent art form that brings forward a positive resolution, a hope - a narrative that seems to be more important than ever, in the midst of a pandemic and the challenges related to climate change. During the past Winter, I found myself recalling Tom Jobim’s Waters of March (Águas de Março), in which Nara Leão sings the constant change of seasons, the opposing verses and concepts, in a layered melody with the “life promise” of the changing seasons - a trust that can be cultivated.