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Adriano Machado | Alumiação

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Brazilian photographer and writer Adriano Machado develops stories that follow a central Black character who travels between the world of the real and the imagined. For each story, he intuitively captures images from the natural world that give voice to the supernatural elements he has created in the written form.

This short story and photo series, entitled Alumiação, is one of his many. 

Alumiação *

“I tried to understand the motive for the search. I did not succeed. Previously, I had decided to search for the unknown, if such a category exists. Perhaps my soul exists only for the act of investigation. The only certainty I had is the objective of this endeavor: madness. But what am I looking for, you will ask me. I will try to answer. One uncertain day, I don’t remember if it was sunny or rainy, but given the scale of the reverie which occurred it can only have been sunny at that moment when the sun is equidistant to your head and appears to want to set, to pass through my shaven neck and grill my thought

It must have been that! This idea which I pursue and by which I am pursued horrifies me. It is third degree sunburn; sunstroke to my thoughts.

On that named day, the atemporal figure of a creature whom we entitle man sprouted from the crevice which we call mind or the image named thought. An actual carressible human being, it would seem. From that day on, this creature, whom I call man, has appeared to me; glimpsed, as though arising from nothing, showing itself in parts, I see it through fragments of places, among the rubble of something which is no longer there.

The presence of this man, in contrast to what it may seem, is not like a visit, but a visage; but let us forget the magic incantation invoked by that word, let us dismantle a little it’s transcendental power and try to be skeptical and scientific for a moment, maybe then it will be possible to take in what I am trying to tell you, just how palpable and ethereal such illumination of man is.

The figure appears to me from reveries, many times it arrives at such fleeting moments it almost appears to be invention. Perhaps I am part of a physics experiment, in which I travel through space at an enormous speed; through a gateway I access another place, I see an image of this being and return. ‘Like a divinity which raves¹, I permit myself and let the edges of the world turn.

I became fond of these meetings to contentment, such is the power of the creature’s presence when he arises. And, accepting that the image was of someone and deserved a title capable of distinguishing him, I thought perhaps by naming him that his presence would gain so-called reality. I decided to call him Prince, after all an alias of nobility inspires vanity in beings.

I learned later that Ollomê, Camaféu, Testóstenes and Duniisai were some of his many names. So, remnants of Prince pursue me a long place ago; I no longer know how to contain him. When I dream, a kind of desire controls and forces the anonymous faced creature to contemplate an unknown world. Slowly I came to see more. My eyes were filled with a light born of fog: the Prince comes with the aurora. I accepted his apparitions and stories, I saw him riding his albino horse drawing a circle around a patch of clay.

Among the vestiges of a house I spied his desperation and incomprehension. Unribbed creature. Twisted man. Another time, I spotted something similar with arms, and on them I saw the marks of a war in which the Prince had engaged when he was the governor of arid territory. His mark was the score in Circumference.

‘I am the invisible’, shot out the Prince in the words of a still-born language. Then he promulgated a silence.

Many things he did, as can be seen from their remains. The Prince was truly a man lost between lands and eras, two things misunderstood by him. The only certainty he had was of his horse. One day I was able to see his feet; I began to realize that his shape was similar to mine. His man’s blood was like an immaculate sap through vegetable walls; his body was made in part of stone, tile, wind and dew, and his shadow, was I.



* Alumiação means: to light up; make it shine; take notice; light up from inside.


Referência | Reference
¹ BORGES, J. L. Complete works by Jorge Luis Borges. São Paulo: Globo, 1999. (v. 1).


Originally published in the book: Future outside time: poetics, photography and uncertainties / Fábio Gatti (org); translation: Simon Johnson.- Salvador: EDUFBA, 2018.





Brazilian photographer Adriano Machado (Feira de Santana, Brazil;1986) lives and works in Feira de Santana and Alagoinhas, Bahia. He received her Master’s Degree in Visual Arts from Universidade Federal da Bahia – UFBA and develops artistic projects in photography, video and objects that discuss issues about identity, territory, fiction and memory, investigating life policy processes. His works point to the human condition between living spaces and Afro-inventive territories. He has displayed his work at several exhibitions such Casa Aberta: Passagens, Rio de Janeiro (2021); Bienal de Cerveira, Cerveira, Portugal (2020); Valongo Festival Internacional da Imagem, Santos, São Paulo (2019); Concerto para pássaros, (Goethe Institut, Salvador, 2019); Panapaná “Vamos de mãos dadas”, João Pessoa (2018). And won the main prize at the Salons of Visual Arts of Bahia in 2013 and special mentions in 2011 and 2014, and also Prêmio Funarte de Residências artísticas in 2019. He join artistic residencies at Pivô Arte e Pesquisa Ciclo III / Beck’s, São Paulo (2020); Fluxos: Acervos do Atlântico Sul, Salvador (2019) and VerdeVEZ, CAMPO Arte contemporânea, Teresina. (2019).

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