For the second part of the Air Max 270 project we called Vivi bacco. She works with photography, video and audiovisual experiments. Caiçara and gender terrorist in São Paulo for 13 years. She talked to us about her work with photography and video, her tattoos and about abolishing gender in sneakers culture.
“Meu nome é Vivi Bacco, tenho 29 anos. Nasci em SP mas morei desde os 5 anos em Iguape, uma cidade minúscula, colada na reserva ecológica da Juréia/Ilha do Cardoso, fui criada no mangue. Até os 5 anos vivi boa parte da vida numa “comunidade” – não dá nem pra chamar de cidade porque não chegava a 100 habitantes – em um esquema bem roots, sem luz elétrica e água encanada. Fui parar lá porque meu pai (atualmente com 85 anos) queria paz, sair do caos de SP, e viver pescando. Eu também pesco até hoje.
Trabalho com fotografia, vídeo e experimentos audiovisuais principalmente na moda.
Me considero uma pessoa não binária de gênero, mas ainda não gosto desse termo, porque acho que ele atrapalha um pouco, prefiro usar o termo que a Mc Linn usa que é “terrorista de gênero”. Sou pansexual, que significa que posso me interessar por pessoas, apenas pessoas, independente do sexo e identidade de gênero.
No dia do ensaio com o Kickstory conversamos um pouco sobre tênis feminino e masculino e pontuei que não sei de onde tiraram isso de colocar gênero em tênis se “É TUDO PÉ”. Foi engraçado porque o tênis “feminino” não coube no meu pé mesmo sendo a minha numeração e tiveram que pedir o “masculino”. O que prova que chega né? Parou! Estamo em 2018 e pé não tem gênero! Odeio quando chego numa loja e falam “os tênis femininos são ali daquele lado”, você olha lá e tem um monte de cor que não te agrada, um monte de designs duvidosos, uns shapes quase infantis de tão apertados. Os masculinos variam de combinações de cores legais e shapes confortáveis. Está na hora das marcas pararem de pensar dessa forma. É tudo pé.”
How did photography become part of your life?
viviIt was very organic, so organic that I’m not even sure how. I was about to finish high school and I was really into visual arts, but I wanted something that was also connected to arts – and photography just came up. I already did photography but professionally it was like this.
I graduated in arts and photography culture, but during college, I almost changed to arts because I already did a lot of alternative photography processes like albumin, photo revelation on handcrafted papers, cyanotype, Van Dyke, all those processes. I worked at a color and black & white lab and I started enjoying the handcrafted process more than the photography its self. But then I came back to photography when I was able to join the two things, so that’s why I like the analogic format so much, for photography and video.
Now I’m trying some stuff out with a Super 8, which is something I’m not fully used to yet but I’m really involved exactly because it’s an analogic process, because to me it’s as if the process is also a part of the result. It’s something I really like and I fill like it gets a little bit lost in the digital process, I can get those results with digital by working with different lenses and experimenting with light – which is something I’ve been experimenting a lot with.
Which format do you prefer, digital our analogic?
viviWhen I’m doing commissioned work I always prefer working with digital because I have more control, the client likes to accompany the work, I work plugged on the computer, it’s more because of those reasons. But for personal as well as commissioned work, when the results depend on me because I have more freedom to work, I prefer analogic because I have complete control – no one needs to approve or unapproved anything.
What are your references in life?
viviI’m caiçara, so I really like the organic process of things, from tattoos – that’s one of the reasons I chose to tattoo with Jun, because it’s a really organic process, from the stokes and lines to the way he tattoos, on not using a stencil – to photography, art, music. So my influences come from the raw, what comes from the earth, when you feel like something has its roots, you know? For example, I like pop, but I can’t like it too much unless it’s like old or something original. I don’t usually get attached to that really fast stuff.
So about references, I really like oriental stuff, the cultural, the way to look at things, the pragmatic way of solving things – and that’s something I’m not, I’m very prolix, messy and confused and I try to learn from them. I’ve been a couple of times to Japan and I hope I can live there one day.
What made you mark your body with Tattoos?
viviThe first one I got when I was 11, I got a bugs bunny on my back, you know that moment when you are forming a personality? That you’re still a child, but you don’t want to be a child, that you want to be seen as a semi-adult. At that time I already liked some alternative bands, I liked some nationals back then and I still do – and I would see those bands all tatted up, so I thought “this is the way that I’ll get respect”, just a kid’s thought you know, I was 11 years old (laughs) I asked my mom, and she was always really chill and opened, so I went to the studio and they would only do it with a permission, so my mom went with me.
I started marking myself just like that and then it just went with the flow naturally, like, “Oh, I’m going to get a tattoo today.” It came to a point were I started to regret some drawings, not Bugs because I think it’s funny and still have it, but my right arm, for example, I had a lot of drawings that were nothing at all, in the end, it was a lot of lack of personality, it was desperation to get tattooed and I decided to start covering it. On my legs, there are several of those as well. Sometimes I auto-tattoo too, there are some that are done by me that I do it in hand poke or in Ink.
What was the process to close both arms?
viviOne was just a coverup, the right arm, which was Roger Marx who did it – he didn’t even know how to cover because it was very complicated, there were drawings on my wrist, elbow, inside and outside, on the shoulder, if you would have let me, I would have done an entire black sleeve. We did it slowly, it’s not even finished yet.
For Jun’s I spent years wanting to tattoo my left arm, but I waited until I could do it with him. I already knew his work, but at the time I wanted to tattoo, he wasn’t in Brazil. Then when he came back, it was kind of hard to get to him but in the end, it went down. I had a friend who was very close to him, he was not even tattooing anyone at that time. My friend insisted a lot and I ended up sending Jun an email with a picture of my black arm, then we sat down for some tea so we could talk about it.
From that moment on the process began – it was quite long because we came up with an idea and it wasn’t happening. In the end, we moved to another idea, which is kind of a life story. His process involves capturing your personality, of what you are at that moment and trying to turn it into something. I was in a moment that I don’t think he was able to see, so it was not flowing. Then we sat down again to talk, we stayed for hours and he asked me to tell him something, it was like therapy (laughs). In that process, he liked what I said to him and in the end, it was like this: we built the idea of this tattoo being a fish, a fish called Robalo because I am caiçara and my father was a fisherman. This is one of the fish that he caught the most and so did I.
The tattoos I had underneath, I covered it up because it was just someone coming up with the stencil and me saying “I want this one” – to me, this is not the process, it has a whole construction and now I can see that.
When and how did your relationship with sneakers begin?
viviI wanted a mustard yellow all star, which has already been around everything and everywhere. When I was a teenager, I came to São Paulo and I asked people to take me everywhere to look for it, like Galeria do Rock, and I didn’t find it at the time. I found some yellow ones, but they were like a chick yellow, you know? The one I saw the punk wearing was a mustard yellow one! It was the first time I really went a run for a sneaker. Later on, I found it, but that need had passed.
I started to like New Balance, but they positioned themselves in favor of Trump, so that didn’t work out, right? Several homophobic speeches, so I really boycott them you know? Anyway, I’m enjoying Fila’s retro releases, the classics, they’re looking super cool.