Wind Caravan Ceará Brazil - On the Dunes Near the Equator

It did not arrive today either. The container with all the sculptures has been stopped at customs for quite a while. I get reports every day, such as "Today for sure," and then another day passes. My anxiety is extreme. It is in the morning two days before the opening that we finally were able to start the installation, and it was far over the deadline. The site in Brazil is the dunes of Cumbuco, located between the ocean and a lake, 30 km away from Fortaleza, Ceará in the northeast of the country. The sand moves like waves here and transforms in front of your eyes. The constant northeast wind is between 6 meters/sec. and 10 meters/sec., and the change in its direction is less than 1 degree. The temperature is about 27 degrees Celsius all year round. The vast dunes burn and there is no shade.
The opening event on 17 November 2001 started at 10:30 in the morning. When the mysterious rhythm played by UAKTI turned into a whistling sound made by the spinning tubes; the children holding colorful pinwheels in one of their hands came sliding slowly down the steep slope of sand, just like "angels," as Jirí Kylián said. It was a breathtaking moment with 50 local children, looking dignified and angelic, completely different from how they looked in rehearsal the day before. They walked under the green sails of the sculptures, planting their pinwheels in the sand. Following the disappearing children, the playing musicians also slowly disappeared over the hill of the dunes. Then the connected kites with Mongolian children's pictures flew up into the blue sky. The whole sequence was somewhat like magic.
Jirí Kylián and I thanked the audience's applause. Jirí Kylián is a genius choreographer who has worked with the Nederlands Dans Theater, making it one of the best companies in the world. UAKTI is a group of five Brazilians who create really unique instruments using ordinary materials such as PCV tubes and balloons. I have been admiring their music for a long time. Both Jirí Kylián and UAKTI had not known each other at all, and it was my dream to have them collaborate. My dream came true on the dunes of Brazil, the other side of the globe when I look from Japan. They all had extremely busy schedules but understood the spirit of Wind Caravan and were happy to participate in this project.
Prior to the opening, we had a symposium at Drag
ão do Mar with panelists Frans Krajcberg, the artist, and Yusuke Nakahara, the art critic, and myself. Jaime Cupertino, the architect, helped us as coordinator for the project. A lot of friends flew three hours and half from São Paulo to participate in the opening; among them were Mr. and Mrs. Umemiya, the director of Japan Foundation. The people from Hermès, Paris, came to help us as well as many friends from Japan.
A part of the daily life in Cumbuco is the tourism brought here by those who visit the dunes. But the main part of the life here is the fishing by way of simple sailboats called "Jangada." They go fishing every morning. The life is simple, but people are open and nice. Both children and adults are full of smiles.
Wind Caravan has finished its tour here on the dunes of Brazil. I wonder how well I could deliver my message through our activities -- to connect the children of these six sites and to communicate with the local people over the period of a year and a half. In any case, it is enormous how much we have learned during the whole time. I am really grateful to all those who participated at each site and to all who helped us with this project in so many different ways.
December 2, 2001
Susumu Shingu