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History: cannon 17 - SIGA nº 015903

  This howitzer — one of those manufactured in an Italian workshop and intended for use against the Central Powers, Austria and Germany and in northern Italy during the First World War — was part of the Italian pavilion at the Commemorative Exhibition of the Centenary of Independence of Brazil in 1922 and was donated by the king of Italy, Victor Emmanuel, to the National Historical Museum.


  Its obvious cranks and gears show that the piece is of rough manufacture, suggesting its reduced fire range. The cannon would have to be positioned close to enemy lines, leaving its crew exposed and susceptible to close combat and enemy fire.

  The First World War (1914–1918) was a conflict initiated by European countries that involved an unprecedented proportion of nations outside the continent in the dispute for colonies and areas of influence. According to journalist and writer José Francisco Botelho, "The 1st War was truly global - between 1914 and 1918, 65 million soldiers of different languages and ethnicities faced each other in a monstrous Tower of Babel erected amid trenches and barbed wire. No military conflict in history had brought together so many combatants and so many nationalities at the same time. Tied together by an intricate web of alliances, like a group of climbers groping for the edge of the abyss, almost all the countries of Europe plunged into the carnage . . .”


  The four years of conflict turned death into a mathematical equation. The effects of witnessing a battlefield are often not overcome, assailing soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or war trauma. This emotional situation creates paranoia, flashbacks of combat, and delusions, often preventing  its sufferers from participating in ordinary social coexistence.

  Our current context, in which more than 6 million people died from the coronavirus, can be understood somewhat similarly, as a state of biological warfare. The virus, initially known to attack the respiratory system, has been acquiring new symptoms, one of which is delirium – a serious neurological syndrome linked to many adverse outcomes of Covid-19. Complications linked to delirium include the need for longer duration of mechanical ventilation and longer stays in hospital, in addition to a higher mortality rate.

smell Delirium PBX00014JK

  Delirium, in Freudian theory, can be a way to fulfill a desire or sensory awakening. In the elaboration of this smell, we could not fail to find a way to include the first colonizers’ thirst for economic power as they sought their fortune in this land.


  Creosol, a phenolic scent, dry and dominated by the clove that sharpens taste and smell. Hallucination of the ylang-ylang flower. Drunkenness. Alcohol. In Cistus labdanum from Spain, we find the sweetness of honey and the bitterness of propolis as a boosting agent. It can burn. Jasmine, a fragrance that takes us into the darkness of delirium. We added the deep essence of isobutyl salicylate to include strong masculine notes of leather, which would have been present in the colonizers.


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