The art of Daniel Steegmann Mangrané hinges on the natural and the geometric, often splicing the unfathomable dimension of the forests of his adopted home, Brazil, with the clear lines of abstraction and man-made order. His work of the last decade has incorporated chromatic watercolor studies, kaleidoscopic collages, photography, as well as sculptures with etched leaves and citrus fruit. His recent film and augmented reality projects seem to suggest that a fascination with a kind of organic cinema has been ever-present.
His works often derive from an ecological understanding of the complex webs of interdependence found in the Atlantic Rainforest of Brazil (Mata Atlântica). Such dense tropical forest would have been the first habitat Portuguese colonists encountered on their arrival in the year 1500. Panther Dreaming (2020) is a cinematic installation of potentially infinite duration that derives from a self-generating online animation presented on st_age. Always experienced differently, it conjures the viewpoint of a large feline walking in reverie through a forest. The panther’s dream is persistently interrupted, the forest collapses, and the spell is broken. Confused and drowsy, the panther yawns and stretches, only to find herself inside a similar dreamlike scenario once more. She then starts to explore again, continuously acclimatizing to finding herself in yet another cycle of dreaming and wakefulness.
This work is inspired by indigenous peoples’ perceptions of the forest and of the entities that inhabit it beyond the human: the divine characters of animals, rivers, plants, as well as the xapiris, the shamanic master spirits of the Yanomami people of Brazil. Panther Dreaming layers different forms of knowledge and knowing— indigenous wisdom, the images and sensations of sleep, and the artificial intelligence of a computer processor—and calls for new ways of being in the world.
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st_age, is a digital platform launched by TBA21 as a response to the Covid-19 crisis to present newly produced works. It aims to offer refuge and support and at the same time to establish ground for discussion and collaboration between different disciplines and generations in order to build the foundations of a new cultural space.