From the 4-6 of November, the Mediterranean Real Estate Fair, URBE 2016, featured an installation by São Paulo architect and urban planner Guto Requena. The public artwork, entitled “Can you tell me a secret?” is a collection of temporary street furniture: a phone booth that records visitors’ stories and plays them back randomly into five wooden benches. At night, the pieces transform into light sculptures that use warm colors and movement to coincide with the volume and tone of the audio recordings. LED lights are mounted inside the furniture pieces, amplifying the installation’s presence in Coronel Fernando Prestes Square and developing a dreamlike landscape. The site is an energetic public square within the Bom Retiro neighborhood in São Paulo, which is now populated largely by immigrants but served as the site of torture and repression during Brazil’s period of Military Dictatorship. The work is one component of Estudio Guto Requena’s ongoing investigations into the nexus between emotion, memory, design, and digital technology. It encourages viewers to engage reflectively with their everyday urban surroundings, looking deeper into the transition between private and public spheres.
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