Engravings, illustrations, letters, maps, pictures, cartoons, and music sheets reveal Rio in its bygone days; records of urban planning ideas that never came off the drawing board; and changes that helped recover what had been ruined. These and over 200 items are on display at an exhibit called Rio 450 anos – Uma História de Futuro (“450-year Rio – A forward-looking past”, in a loose translation), which began Thursday (Aug. 6) at the National Library in central Rio.
Event Curator Marco Lucchesi explained that the items were chosen to be on display in an attempt to convey the idea of Rio as a city that has always looked forward into the future. “Our idea was to think of Rio as a real-life subject, but also as a city that was dreamed of and designed with an eye to the future, and above all, to think about the present, which will soon become past – that's why we can hardly make out faces, only large crowds or figures,” he said.
Ranging from rare works to newspaper photos, the city history is told as reflected on its architecture and urban planning, on the population's political, religious, cultural and sporting life. The demolition of Morro do Castelo (Castle Hill), the construction of Presidente Vargas Avenue, the demolition of Perimetral Avenue are all on display.
Established in 1810, the library is one of the world's largest, but it also has a local flavor. According to the chairman of Fundação Biblioteca Nacional (the National Library Foundation), Renato Lessa, successive changes in the urban landscape shown in the exhibition reflect the city's nostalgia for its own past. The main innovations currently underway in Rio, he points out, are restorations and maintenance work, bringing landscapes back to life and the tram getting back into operation. “This exhibition is an appeal to a creative imagination, it invites us to think about the city with an eye to the future, but also to look behind at the myriad possibilities that have had a place in the city's history,” he concluded.
Translated by Mayra Borges
Fonte: Past, future and imaginary Rio on display at National Library