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Abricó de Macaco

History: cannon 18 - SIGA nº 15902

  This mortar was manufactured on an emergency basis in Juiz de Fora, Minas Gerais, to be used in the revolution of 1930, an armed coup led by the states of Minas Gerais, Paraíba and Rio Grande do Sul. Until then, the republican parties of the states of Minas Gerais and São Paulo monopolized the presidency. It was a period known as Café com Leite (coffee with milk), which ended with revolutionary troops taking power in Rio de Janeiro, the capital of the country at the time. The coup deposed President Washington Luís and prevented the inauguration of President-elect Júlio Prestes, ending the Old Republic in Brazil.


  The movement was led by Getúlio Vargas, an ambiguous figure who, despite maintaining the country for 15 years under an authoritarian and dictatorial regime, created populist labor policies. For example, in February 1932 the female vote was guaranteed by the first Brazilian Electoral Code, though with some restrictions. In 1934, the restrictions were eliminated and that same year, the physician and feminist Carlota Pereira de Queiroz, the first Brazilian federal deputy, was elected.


  The advances of women in politics have been small since then. In 2011 Brazil elected the first female president, Dilma Rousseff (2011-2016), who was then deposed by impeachment. Many argue that this process of removing the incumbent president from office was manipulated — a political maneuver. Today, in 2022, women occupy only 17.7% of the seats in the Chamber of Deputies and 17.28% in the Federal Senate, exemplifying misogyny and lack of gender representation in government positions.


smell Cannonball Tree PBX00014NN

  The monkey apricot (Couroupita guianensis) is a tall softwood tropical tree in the Lecythidaceae family, native to northeastern South America. It has also existed for at least 3,000 years in other regions of the world, such as India, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. Hindus consider it a divine tree because the flower petals resemble the hood of the naja, a sacred snake.

  This tree grows up to 35 meters tall and is notable for its large, sensual flowers and large, spherical woody fruits that resemble a rusty cannonball. When a fruit falls, it opens on the ground, making a heavy, explosive noise and giving off a pungent smell. Animals that feed on the pulp scatter the seeds in their feces, and the cycle of life continues.


  To produce this smell synthetically, it was necessary to extract it directly from the fruit because it has not yet been archived. Scent Trek was used, a technology developed by Givaudan do Brasil, an exclusive method that makes it possible to access aromas from nature without causing any damage to the environment, since it is not necessary to open the fruit for the scent to be extracted.

  The smell is not just a representation of the memories of this cannon but also a metaphor for the overall concept of this installation. Contextualized in today’s realities, it comments on the binary and socio-political polarization present not only in Brazil but in the world as a whole.


- A mortar is a large gun or a cannon with a short, wide barrel that fires bombs
or explosives very high into the air.

- The “Coffee and Milk” policy is named in this way because Minas Gerais is
a state of milk production and São Paulo a producer of coffee.

- In Portuguese, this tree is named abricó de macaco (monkey apricot) because monkeys love the fruit in spite of its smell, which humans find unbearable.

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