Wednesday, 26 February 2014

A study of selfies in São Paulo

Selfies from São Paulo
Using a mix of theoretic, artistic and quantitative methods, a group of researchers this week released their findings on the internet phenomenon of selfies (self-portraits). Studying 3200 selfies across 5 major cities the research from the site  gives us some interesting conclusions about selfies in São Paulo.

To locate selfies, 120,000 photos were randomly selected (20,000-30,000 photos per city) from a total of 656,000 images collected on Instagram. Depending on the city, 3-5% of all images analysed were identified as selfies giving us a sense of the prevalence of the so-called masturbation of self image

In keeping with global trends 65% of selfies are in São Paulo are taken by women.

Women also tend to take more extreme poses in selfies. Overall the average amount of head tilt is 50% higher than for men: (12.3° vs. 8.2°), São Paulo being the most extreme - here, the average head tilt for females is 16.9°!!

Selfies are also far more common among the young. The average age for São Paulo selfie takers was found to be 22 for women and 25 for men.

Selfies often mirror historical poses
The research also confirms other studies which show that selfies in general show the left cheek of the selfie-taker ore often than the right. Interestingly this is the same trend that can be seen in portraits by professional painters from many different historical periods and styles, which may mean left cheek bias is due to the cognitive neuroscience theory of asymmetries in brain lateralization 

And if you want an even deeper analysis check out the rest of the demographics on São Paulo selfies:

Monday, 24 February 2014

A look inside Walmart's Brazilian offices in São Paulo

Walmart's offices in São Paulo occupy the last four floors as well as the rooftop of a ten storey building in the West of the city.

Developed by Estudio Guto Requena, the corporate headquarters has colour coded floors, each of which uses a distint dominant wood type. Most of the furniture is the work of local Brazilian designers and there's even a mini golf course on the terrace .

Check it out:

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Victor Nunes; the artist who uses bits of real food in his drawings

Victor Nunes is a 63 year old, retired art director, from São Paulo, Brazil. Last year he opened a Facebook account and started posting sketches in which food and other household objects becoming part of his art.

He claims to draw every single day and he certainly updates his page with a lot of drawings.

Below are some examples of his light-hearted work:

Chocolate hats 
Playful scissors

Bread crumb hats

Coffee foam

Popcorn art

Lettuce as you've never seen it before

The versatile pen cap

Thursday, 13 February 2014

VIDEO: The Conditioned. Raimundo Arruda Sobrinho's story

One of 10 stories celebrating Facebook's 10th anniversary is from São Paulo, Brazil

It is Raimundo Arruda Sobrinho's story. He lived as a homeless man for almost 35 years on a street corner in Alto de Pinheiros, São Paulo, sitting in the same place every day and becoming a well known local character due to the poetry he would incessantly write.

One day in 2011, a woman called Shalla Monteiro stopped to chat to Raimundo and they became friends. He told her of his dreams to publish a book and shared some of his poems with her. She was so touched she created a Facebook page to showcase his poetry. 

In the words of Facebook "neither could have expected what happened next"  Below is the film which covers his story and features a before and after video portrait of Raimundo.

The Conditioned from Facebook Stories on Vimeo.

Raimundo´s facebook page, which is updated by Shalla already has 30,000 fans:

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Guest Post: Brazilian Diglossia

Brazilian Diglossia is not a scary a new disease sweeping through South America, nor is it the name of one of the football teams popular in Brazil. Brazilian Diglossia is a theory regarding Brazil’s national language that is exceptionally important for any individual considering learning Portuguese. Brazilian Portuguese (BP) is diglossic, meaning that two dialects of the language are used by the same community. Within this theory, the two forms of Brazilian Portuguese are labelled as High (H-variant) and Low (L-variant). Which sounds tremendously boring to read about, it actually is, I know because I had to research it for this blog. Keep reading, this difference is critical if you want to actually learn Brazilian Portuguese, and I’ll try to keep it interesting.

The L-variant is also called Brazilian Vernacular. The Brazilian Vernacular is the spoken language that Brazilians use in everyday life. It is the language that is learned at home as a child, and the only language that some Brazilians truly master. This is the version of Portuguese that you will find in telenovelas, song lyrics, essentially any form of communication that is not considered formal. What’s interesting is that this form of the language differs so much from the H-Variant of the language that many Brazilians would have a hard time understanding someone speaking the H-variant.

The H-variant is the formal version of the language, it is also considered to be much closer to modern European Portuguese. H-variant is what is taught in school, used in most literary works, utilised during government proceedings, and at times used as a way to exclude different social stratifications. Some like to say it is the ‘prestige’ form of BP. What is interesting about this is that no one actually uses it in Brazil. This form of the language isn’t even used by the upper-classes as it’s seen as a sign of arrogance.

An understanding of this separation between most writing and common speech is integral to finding success when Brazilian Portuguese is essential for you. If you are only able to speak European Portuguese or the H-variant of BP, you may be able to understand the common L-variant but find that your listeners are unable to understand you. A colleague of mine who is Brazilian spent some time in Portugal ran into an interesting problem while trying to buy a sandwich. She was looking for ham on the menu but it was nowhere to found. When asking for it in line they couldn’t understand what she was saying, and kept replying “Fiambre” “Fiambre!” She had no idea what Fiambre meant! As it turned out, this is how “ham” is pronounced in the H-Variant of the language. Other more troubling examples exist but they are not appropriate for this blog.

Ultimately, if you want to spend time in Brazil, you need to learn the Brazilian form of the language. This will help you avoid translation problems like the one above and many more. It will also allow you to enjoy a more thorough cultural immersion by actually conversing with all Brazilians, allowing you to develop deeper relationships with locals. So, catch yourself a case of Brazilian Diglossia and learn the language the right way.

This article is a guest post by Mike Lee, an American expat, originally from the DC metropolitan area now working for BRIC Language Systems, a language school that offers Mandarin, Brazilian Portuguese, and Spanish language lessons for professionals.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Get to know São Paulo's New Airport

It didn't get much news coverage but São Paulo's third airport (fourth if you include Viracopos, Campinas) has been approved by the central government. Here's what we know so far:

  • It's going to be an international airport unlike Congonhas which has had the city grow around it and is no longer considered suitable for larger planes.
  • It will be located in the city of Caieiras. Here's the Google Maps link if you don't know where that is. 
  • Now you've looked up Caeieiras we can agree that it will be a pain to get to and will likely have no train or metro link until long after Guarulhos finally does.
  • It will apparently be christened with the following outlandish and overtly Brazilian name: New Airport São Paulo
  • Total number of runways: 2, both 3,5km long
  • Size of passenger terminal: 340,000 sq m
  • Size of cargo terminal: 70,000 sq m
  • Expected yearly capacity: 48million passaengers per year (for reference Guarulhos is 34 million)
  • Total cost: 5.3bn reais (US$2.25bn). Ouch.

    But before you get excited, you should note that as yet no date has been fixed for its finalisation and, given that in Brazil even when a date is fixed it is an almost certainty that it will move a few years down the line, please don't hold your breath.

    Or, as the President herself eloquently put it ""We will resolve the issue of having three airports in São Paulo. ​It will take place soon but I don't know the exact date,"

    Saturday, 8 February 2014

    Discover Javier Senosiain's organic architecture in Itu, São Paulo

    Located in Itú, in the state of São Paulo, the Amoeba house is just one of the crazy results of mexican architect Javier Senosiain's so called organic architecture.

    It is built on a slope, incorporating itself into the natural soundings with no fences or gates. The colour scheme is largely off white and beige with some copper and gold finishing. Interestingly much of the furniture has been built to form part of the house construction itself.

    Javier's work has been compared to Frank Lloyd Wright, Bruce Goff, Soleri, Hundertwasser, Gaudi and Rudolf Steiner.

    Check out the pictures below:

    Tuesday, 4 February 2014

    Why Biscoito Globo is originally from São Paulo not Rio de Janeiro

    Don't tell the Cariocas but the much loved, iconic and super famous Biscoito Globo is actually originally from São Paulo.

    It's a little known fact but the story goes like this. Back in 1953 three brothers from a São Paulo family left their parental home after a bitter separation and went to live with their cousin in the Ipiranga neighbourhood. Milton, Jaime and João Ponce's cousin owned a local bakery so amongst other recipes they learned to make biscoitos de polvilho (manioc starch flour biscuits).

    A year later in 1954 Rio de Janeiro hosted a large religious gathering and, sensing an opportunity, the Ponce brothers decided to travel to Rio to sell biscoitos in the capital of the neighbouring state.

    They were a huge success. So much so, that the Ponces decided to move to Rio where they were "discovered" by the Globo bakery in Botafogo. And the rest, as they say, is history.

    There are now two variants, the traditional savoury one and the sweet one distinguished by the colour of the packaging (green for savoury and red for sweet) so as to help non-literate street sellers tell the difference. And to this day 150,000 Biscoito Globos are churned out on a daily basis and every single one of them still comes from a single factory in Rio.

    The first biscoito, however, came from São Paulo..

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