History: cannon 6 - SIGA nº 05913
Cannon 6, being the oldest in the Museum's collection, is viewed with affection by historians and researchers. Because of the fish-like rattlesnakes carved into its handles, it is believed to have been used on boats in the 16th century. These handles were used to hold the vergueiro, a thick cable that attached the cannon to the ship. Cannon 6 was also located at the Arsenal de Guerra da Corte, which provided military protection of the colony following the Portuguese royal family’s arrival in Brazil.
In 1762, Jose Antonio Gomes Freire de Andrada, then governor of the Captaincy of Rio de Janeiro, ordered the construction of the Casa do Trem, a place for the storage, protection and repair of weapons and ammunition. The reference to "train" meant the equipment necessary for the pursuit of war, also called "war train". Today, the Casa do Trem is managed by the National Historical Museum and is used for special exhibitions.
As symbols of power, capable of winning battles, weapons such as cannons can tell the story of nations. Given the cannon’s symbolism of death and violence, we explore how to raise a discussion nowadays within a historical museum that exhibits a collection of these objects. Will this present moment be an opportunity to propose other meanings in thinking about History? Can the sense of smell lead us to a discussion of the emotions surrounding these objects of power?
Consider this: What if the muzzles of cannons exploded bombs of condensed milk or chocolate candies?
smell: Affection LAGO067799/00
Because this is the oldest cannon in the collection of the National Historical Museum and because of historians’ affection for the beauty and preciousness of the collection,
I imagined a pleasant fragrance, with sweet notes of coumarin, maltol, and amber. It is a smell that reproduces family moments of childhood. Burnt sugar, condensed milk, and balsamic notes take us into fond memories.
I asked whether the soldiers, consumed by fear and waiting for the enemy, remembered moments of childish joy? Affection, an intense and persistent caramel smell, approaching exuberantly through the nose. Provocation of a desire and an appetite.
A smell that incites curiosity. A smell as intuitive as affection. What else does it elicit? What memories of affection do we retain? Grandma's cake, party sweets, or the possible end of a life?