Displacement and Photography: practices for slowing down

We live in a profound spatial crisis: the world has never been so well mapped as it is now by imaging technologies, at the same time that we have the strange sensation of not knowing exactly where we are. And if we are not able to “read” or mentally map the space where we live, we cannot act on the world, building an alienated and alienating experience, contrary to any responsible notion of citizenship. With this concern, photographer Tuca Vieira created the Photographic Atlas of the City of São Paulo, an extensive photographic exercise of urban perception using one of the largest cities in the world as a laboratory. The work is the result of a photographic mapping of the metropolitan region of São Paulo and consists of 203 large format photographs, one for each page of the city’s Street Guide. This strategy sought to answer two questions: What exactly is São Paulo? How to represent this immense and complex territory in its extension and diversity? As the name suggests, the Atlas is closely related to the universe of maps, guides and other cartographic objects, and intends to be an orientation tool for this vast territory. While raising important questions about the contemporary city, the work is also part of a tradition of photographic documentation of the city that began in the 19th century.