Without that kind of sharing and socializing at school, not only did student performance drop, but the actions of the student body did, too. With fewer bodies participating and empty spaces, for many, the school environment has become a “non-place”. And like all bodies that get sick, these places are withdrawn, quiet. For Alvim Silva, “an encounter means the possibility of an explosion”. That’s why he believes the return to school will gradually bring back the liveliness and energy for change for students. According to him, “many students have no desire to go back, they don’t see any attraction there anymore. They don’t see the school’s fighting power, and so they believe it’s better to stay at home. A lot of them had to go to work, and now they can’t stop.” It’s unfortunate that this is the current reality of education in Brazil, but that reality doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It’s symptomatic of the country as a whole, encompassing political negligence and the historic scrapping of public education.
Alvim Silva believes that although this is a difficult time for students, there’s still a lot of fighting energy left in them. “Like in 2015, students are thirsty for transformation and change, for transgression. There’s a live bomb, ready to blow. A few movements are bubbling away, just waiting for the right moment. And if something explodes, we have to be the way we are, crazy, dreamers, making mistakes and then getting it right”. The contained explosion referenced by Alvim Silva is an image that seems to extend to Brazilian society, living like a ticking time bomb. And, for sure, when it blows, ColetivA Ocupação will be there with active bodies to harness the anger and the struggle.
Luciara Ribeiro is an educator, researcher, and curator. She holds a master’s degree in Art History from the University of Salamanca (USAL, Spain, 2018) and the Postgraduate Program in Art History at the Federal University of São Paulo (UNIFESP, 2019). She is a content contributor for the Diaspora Galeria and a lecturer in the Department of Visual Arts at Faculdade Santa Marcelina.
Translation: Zoë Perry