What Am I Reading: Mariana Schmidt

STIR looks into the reading habits of leading creatives – Architect Mariana Schmidt of MNMA Studio ponders on the future of Brazil reading Hans Ulrich Obrist’s Entrevistas Brasileiras.

by STIRworld Published on : Apr 08, 2020

At this moment when nature imposes a condition of isolation and deceleration, we can realise that our future is being established now, through all decisions that were taken in the past. In this book, we have the perspective of many brilliant minds talking about the Brazilian culture, so we must be humble and listen to the voice of these great artists. I believe this would help us in our immediate actions and lead us to be more generous with our future, and the future of our country.

- Mariana Schmidt, Principal Architect, MNMA Studio, São Paolo, Brazil

‘Mariana Schmidt showing her pick, ‘Entrevistas Brasileiras: Volume 1’ by author Hans Ulrich Obrist | | What Am I Reading | Mariana Schmidt | Entrevistas Brasileiras: Volume 1| STIRworld
Mariana Schmidt showing her pick, Entrevistas Brasileiras: Volume 1 by author Hans Ulrich Obrist Image Credit: Courtesy of Mariana Schmidt

What is the name of the book?

Mariana Schmidt (MS): Hans Ulrich Obrist: Entrevistas Brasileiras: Volume 1.

Who is the author?

MS: Hans Ulrich Obrist. 

What is the genre?

MS: A collection of interviews.

Why this book - could you please highlight its most notable aspects?

MS:There are 36 conversations between artists, architects, philosophers, anthropologists, musicians, born before 1960 that precede the inauguration of Brasília. When the modernist movement in the country consolidated, these thinkers witnessed facts that became history.

Did you get any significant insights? Did you gain knowledge or did it help you unwind?

MS: Incredible to read in an intimate way about an artist who chooses Brazil as a place of inspiration. At this moment in the world that we are all living in, particularly in my country, the book shows that future is built in the present but without leaving its historical passages that brought us here. At this moment when nature imposes a condition of isolation and deceleration, we can realise that our future is being established now, through all decisions that were taken in the past. In this book, we have the perspective of many brilliant minds talking about the Brazilian culture, so we must be humble and listen to the voice of these great artists. I believe this would help us in our immediate actions and lead us to be more generous with our future, and the future of our country.

At this moment when nature imposes a condition of isolation and deceleration, we can realise that our future is being established now, through all decisions that were taken in the past. – Mariana Schmidt

Is there any one thing that you would take home from the read? 

MS: That the meeting of generations is essential for reflections on the past, in transforming our present and constructing our future.

Schmidt highlights renowned photographer Claudia Andujar's work from the book | What Am I Reading | Mariana Schmidt | Entrevistas Brasileiras | STIRworld
Schmidt highlights renowned photographer Claudia Andujar's work from the book Image Credit: Courtesy of Mariana Schmidt

What is your favourite quote from the book? Why? 

MS: Hard to choose one quote in a book with 36 brilliant names. But I would highlight photographer Claudia Andujar's pioneering and brilliant work, especially with the Yanomami culture and its relationship with nature over decades. Right now in Brazil we are strongly discussing the impact and importance of indigenous land demarcations and the struggle of its people. There is a passage from the interview in which she says: "Yanomamis believe that after they die, their photographs must be destroyed, because they would imprison their souls and minds." And I believe that what imprisons their souls and minds is our public policy that insists on ignoring the right of land of our indigenous people.

What is your take on the book? Would you recommend it?

MS: Definitely. The book can be considered a protest against forgetfulness, and in a way, even though these are individual interviews, they contribute to a collective truth.

When do you read? 

MS: No specific time in my routine. I read in spontaneous moments. 

Look up more such interesting reads from the series ‘What Am I Reading’ here.

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