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Yes, somos Tropicalists / Triptyque

We are Tropicalists in many ways.

First, we are not in any discernable way strictly European or Brazilian. We stand for the first definition of tropicalisation, “the condition of Westerners who find it difficult to readapt once back in their native countries”.

Second, we are in the clutches of the problems of the new urban world order and in particular, of one of its most widespread and virulent manifestations: tropical metropolises. Our architecture, almost in spite of ourselves, is bound up with the dialectic of the tropical metropolis, with the challenge it poses to architects and town planners, a challenge that those of us who live in a metropolis cannot avoid.

Third, we have been devoured by tropical modernity. Like artist Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, we have developed a fascination for an “urban landscape charged with sensuousness” where “certain forms of architectural modernity in the field of architecture (but also in literature, cinematography and music), are more alive, more intense, more experimental in a tropical environment, when associated with robust and lush vegetation, with intense lights and skies, with extreme climates.”

Finally, although we feel we have been ingested by Brazilian and, therefore, tropical culture, in return, we like to conceive of the contemporary metropolis through the notion of cultural cannibalism, in particular through the dialectic set up between Oswald de Andrade’s Anthropophagic Manifesto and the concepts of Suely Rolniks’s Anthropophagic Zombie. In tropical cities, how can we create the living soul of cities that are nourished by the world about them, without falling into the facile falsehoods of hybridizing concepts in a context of globalization? How do we escape the twin perils of “symbolic ingestion by the colonialist and his culture” and of “a contemporary anthropophagic experience, doomed to perdition in the jungle of finance capitalism”?

Photo: Triptyque