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Cidade da Garoa

Vila Madalena, São Paulo, Brasil – April 2015. Poor freedom

Cidade da Garoa, photo essay by Luca Meola.

In the city of São Paulo a lot of couples kiss in public places, especially in the subway. It is an intriguing phenomenon, frequently observed if you are lost in the city – center of this megalopolis estimated at 20 million people.

In fact, São Paulo is the largest and most populous city of the southern hemisphere; it is also known as the Cidade da Garoa. The Garoa is a fine and quite invisible drizzle. It seems that the drops are floating in the atmosphere rather than falling down from the sky. For this reason the majority of its inhabitants point out weather, deslocamento and segurança as the main problems of the city. The deslocamento (displacement) concerns the time spent moving from a place to another, for example from home to office.

In order to live happily in this megalopolis, a person should work and find a girlfriend in the same neighborhood where he lives. For this reason, some areas of the historical center of the city that once had a bad reputation, now are going to be repopulated of people: especially commuters of the emerging middle class, tired of spending most of the day on public transportation.

However this phenomenon of redevelopment and repopulation of the city-center is relatevely new. Probably, for this reason,a lot of couples usually give passionate kisses in the subway because they are not so sure if they will have another chance in the future. Furthermore, São Paulo is perceived as a very dangerous place: assaults and robberies happen every day; being attacked is so common that this practice has almost become ritualized, even if it is rare to be hurt. However, the subway is perceived as a place where you can let your guard down and get involved in a passionate kiss, as if the world outside does not exist. Obviously safety is linked to a very unequal society: walking down the streets of downtown, you can realize not just how many people live in the street, but also how many helicopters fly through the sky.

“And you were a difficult beginning
I get away of what I don’t know
And those who sell a different dream of a happy city
Soon learn to call you reality
Because your are the other side of the other side of the other side of the side”

A verse of “Sampa”, a song of 1978 by Caetano Veloso. The author is singing as a Bahian immigrant just arrived in the city and surprised by the tricky city of São Paulo. With an estranged eye because foreign, as with a voyeuristic and personal approach, this project wants to tell about the Cidade of Garoa.

Parque Trianon, São Paulo, Brasil – January 2015. Meeting at the park
Avenida Paulista, São Paulo, Brasil – June 2015. Proud to be different
Praça da República, São Paulo, Brasil – May 2015. The gun
Avenida Paulista, São Paulo, Brasil – January 2015. We are safe
Bairro da Libertade, São Paulo, Brasil – April 2015. Lunch time
Metro Vila Mariana, São Paulo, Brasil – April 2015. Don’t let me go
Parque da Luz, São Paulo, Brasil – May 2015. 78 years old
Parque Minhocão, São Paulo, Brasil – April 2015. Play area
Rua Oscar Freire, São Paulo, Brasil – May 2015. Legacy of the past
Bairro da Luz, São Paulo, Brasil – June 2015. Sucos natual
Metro Bras, São Paulo, Brasil – April 2015. As the city burns we stand up
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