Brasilia: Misses and Misfits in the Satellite-cities



Readers acquainted with architecture and its master narratives around the globe are aware of Brasilia and its “Plano Piloto” (Master Plan). The Project envisioned by Lucio Costa and engraved into the Cerrado landscape by Oscar Niemeyer is indisputably considered a watershed by modernist enthusiasts and by its detractors. No one denies that it has been a powerful experiment of imagination. Designed to cope with the future, the Plano Piloto is an intervention towards utopia: to make Modernity tangible by producing a grid for both space and time. More than 60 years have passed since the Plano Piloto project was first sketched, and many lives have experienced the effects of this modernist matrix on their bodies and minds. How have their notions and emotions been influenced by what was intentionally planned to shape them? Despite the amount of thought invested the Plano Piloto’s leading role in rational urban living, there is a consensus about the fact that preserving this almost immaculate modernist world heritage site has led to segregation. Instead of talking about space, I will focus on the notion of time, a lesser discussed but nevertheless central analytical framework for understanding how Brazil’s capital city functions until today as a laboratory where future forms of living are built. My source of inspiration is some recent art projects developed by two filmmakers, Dácia Ibiapina and Adirley Queirós whose main concern is the racism and segregation that pervades this modernist city.