DescriptionThe installation Medida (Measurement) by Brazilian artist Letícia Parente (1930-1991) opened to the public in the Experimental Area of the Museum of Modern Art in Rio de Janeiro in June 10, 1976, at the height of Brazil’s military dictatorship (1964-1985). Presented for the first time in the United States forty years after its original installation, Medida was recreated in the University of Pittsburgh Art Gallery as part of the exhibition Data (after)Lives: The Persistence of Encoded Identity (September 8-October 14, 2016).
At the UAG, this installation reproduced the original layout of Medida and faithfully recreated it to its fullest possible extent. The larger space where gallery visitors first entered was dedicated to the collection of data from visitors in eight different stations and invited them to compare the resulting data with average results of such measurements. The exhibit’s smaller space, located towards the back of the gallery and separated from the main space by a partition, was dedicated to data visualization and presented the original images of Parente’s slideshow O livro dos records (The Book of Records, 1976) as it exists today in the artist’s archive, alongside historical, photographic documentation of the original exhibition.
Throughout the recreation of Medida, gallery-goers in Pittsburgh could experience the mechanisms used by Parente to create an ambience of control within an artistic space during the mid-1970s in Rio de Janeiro. To this end, participants were invited to follow the stations’ instructions to temporarily subject their body to the artist’s measuring designs, and to record the results in the provided individual and collective databases. By directly engaging with Parente’s work one is able to critically approach the nature of measuring devices and unveil, through one’s own use of them, the relationships between individual bodies and institutional practices as encountered in daily life.
The accompanying photograph is an installation view of the first and larger space of Medida as recreated in the UAG. The stations’ instructions are available along with individual photographs of each station.
Researcher: Paulina Pardo Gaviria