Replacing Pessoa, 2012

Toppled by a tree branch during a storm, the bronze portrait of Fernando Pessoa had left an empty pedestal.

I’ve spent the day on it, replacing the sculpture with my physical presence, observing and taking notes.

By virtue of its historical consistency, the monument bears two sorts of memory: that which it transmits and constitutes its reason for being; and that which it partakes in because of its material existence.

Both narrative and narrator, subject and object, I was observing and being observed at the same time.

Suddenly a lady came up to me:
“Hey mister, I hope you’re at least writing in Portuguese!”
“No m’dam, unluckily I can’t.”

By means of this joke, she was the only person to take me seriously.

Some time after that, the sculpture was relocated on its pedestal.