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History: cannon 46 - SIGA nº 015490

  This cannon was found buried near the Portão da Minerva, which is now the entrance courtyard of the Historical Museum. This is also where Marechal Carlos Bittencourt was stabbed to death by a soldier who, two months after being arrested, was found hanged in his cell. Bittencourt, then Minister of War, had just arrived in Rio de Janeiro from the Campanha de Canudos, where he was responsible for the death of hundreds of prisoners of war, including men, women and children.


   The Canudos War (1895-1897) was an armed conflict between the Brazilian Army and members of the community led by Antonio Conselheiro, in Canudos, in the interior of Bahia. In 1890, the region was experiencing a crisis due to the arid climate and enormous unemployment due to the recent end of slavery. Around 1895, about 20,000 people settled on an abandoned farm and started to subsist, creating a kind of commune. Antonio Conselheiro becomes a central figure who stars in the formation of the legion of followers as a kind of religious leader.


  The big farmers in the region, annoyed, joined the Catholic Church, starting a pressure group with the recent Republic, creating rumors that justified an attack on the group. This group was composed of Karimbé and Kariri Indians, but mostly of ex-enslaved blacks who had long wandered through the sertões in search of work and better living conditions. Three military expeditions were defeated by the community so that, in the end, the entire village was destroyed, the houses burned and the survivors beheaded. It is estimated that nearly 20,000 sertanejos and 5,000 soldiers were killed.

  The resistance that took place in Canudos happened through the union of those who were marginalized. The descendants of the peoples of the African diaspora continue to struggle to survive with dignity.

  In Brazil in 2020, the rate of lethal violence against black people was 162% higher than among non-black people. Structural racism is preserved by the growing role of authoritarian governments that encourage inequality and violence.


smell Mouth of Death PB00014JB

  We begin by asking, What is the smell of death?


  Science's answer is a surprise, because it tells us that soon after dying the body emits a fresh odor, hexanol, similar to freshly cut grass. As the days go by, the decomposition causes other, very different odors somewhat like nail polish.

  This research, developed by the University of Huddersfield, in England, raises the theoretical possibility that each body, after death, may develop a unique, characteristic odor, related to the liberation of its unique combination of chemical substances and released as a kind of fingerprint or olfactory digital impression.


  For this installation, we started the process of smell development by simulating the odor of a body at the beginning stages of decomposition, since for ethical reasons, access to Cadaverina and Putrecina is restricted. Hence, we added the animalistic, carnal Castoreum chord arrangement, a musk and amber note with strong, pungent characteristics reminiscent of leather. The accord also includes a damp, gray and cold side of death as well as a narcotic and opulent florality derived from the use of white flowers.

Note:  It was common to bury cannons under the soil of fortifications for the purpose of safeguarding them, that is, hiding them for some urgent situation. This was found in a demolition made at the Museu Histórico Nacional in 1922 for the occasion of the centenary of Brazil's independence.

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