On 12 May 2022, the European Southern Observatory (ESO) and the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) project presented to the world during a press conference, live-streamed on YouTube, the first image of Sagittarius A*, the black hole at the center of our galaxy. As a celebration, from the other side of the world, the Canadian indie rock Arcade Fire performed songs from their new album WE, including “End of Empire IV (Sagittarius A*)”.
“Sagittarius A. We'll see one day. What's on the other side.”
– Arcade Fire
I had arrived once more in Amsterdam some days prior to that, 27 April, when in Netherlands people were celebrating “King’s Day” this year, an event in between Brazilian carnival and a purge day where everyone is allowed to sell stuff in the streets without paying taxes for that. Yes, since 1814, Netherlands has been a constitutional monarchy so the king is the head of state and together with the ministers he makes up the government. I am trying to painting a detailed picture here for you so I'll provide more context.
Still finding my place after three months abroad I gave to myself. I ended a 8-year relationship last year. There is still love, but we realized we are climbing different mountains of life So I travel to Brazil. Socially and politically, things are definitely not in the best moment in my country, but there are some hope, since elections are coming. This was a time when I decided to do something unusual: to wait. Wait for the order and balance that one’s life can bring, both in matters of work and relationships. I disconnected, to live in the now, to feel what I needed to feel, allowing the natural course of events, without interfering. Waiting for the events to make important decisions only in the next quarter. What will happen is already happening, I said.
I didn’t do any long-term plan although I have accomplished great things while there, just following the synchronicities in a pilgrimage around almost 20 cities from north to south of Brazil. From a ceremony to Yemojá, the mother of the waters in the yorubá cosmovision, I attended on the beaches of Bahia to study how our relationship with time connects to ritualistic art in the countryside of Rio Grande do Sul, I still will tell you more about what I experienced and learned there. An ecosystemic constellation of life with my family and closest friends. Meanwhile, Russia started a war, the global pandemic continued at a different pace, and so did life. It was my time to cross the Atlantic ocean and come to organize life once more.
During the Sagittarius A* press conference I was already living as a guest in a friend’s house, a charming bedroom in the attic of a restored old building in Amsterdam West. By my side in the bedroom was one of these big Earth globes that we can spin and point to a random location with one finger, which I do sometimes. The bedroom has also a poster with a quote from Neil Armstrong.
“It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn’t feel like a giant. I felt very, very small”
– Neil Armstrong.
While seeing that first, blurred, image of the center of our galaxy, I cried. "Saudade" is a word in Portuguese that doesn’t have a direct translation. But, at that moment, I was missing home without knowing precisely where home is. I will always belong to Brazil, but my next steps are out there, still presenting themselves in front of me. Suddenly, a massive celestial body almost 26.000 light-years far from what we call here and now was my warmest place.
I am feeling like closing a cycle and starting a fresh new one. Indeed we all are. And to write, freely, and openly, was the way I found to register an experimental and independent journey that I started in 2013 when I started studying time. I want to tell you more about temporalities, Brazil, Latin America, and the perspectives of someone coming from the global south, experimenting with other possibilities of existence, and trying to find where are my next places to be in Europe. I also want to tell you more about how that connects with the yellow cosmic sun in our galactic center.
Three days ago, 15 May 2022, it was a total lunar eclipse. It created a 'blood moon', as it is called. On social media, I follow an astronomy profile from a Brazilian physicist who shared that this year we will have 5 lunar eclipses. – A side note I learned about it, since I also did an astronomy observation online course with him: from the year 2000 to 3000, 70,8% of the years will have just 2 of it, 17,7% 3 lunar eclipses, 10,8% 4 lunar eclipses and only 0,7% or the years will have 5. 2022 is one of these few years of the millennia with 5 lunar eclipses.
Some people were observing the sky with telescopes, and others doing cacao ceremonies. I decided to go to the movies. I really wanted to watch "Everything Everywhere All At Once" since I love Michelle Yeoh and it was announced as a movie playing with some concepts around time and alternative realities. The actress also portrayed a different approach of the same topics in a recent Star Trek series. She can do it all: action, comedy, drama. But it was more than that. I should first tell you, to go to the movies in a foreign country is not always the easiest thing. The dialogues of this specific one are half in Chinese and half in English. And, since in Netherlands, the subtitles are in Dutch. I laugh by myself right in the first scenes, curious with how I would manage to understand. But language goes beyond only words and we always do. Said that, it is the most relatable movie I watched in the past months.
The main character, a chinese woman played by Michelle Yeoh, is having a hard time organizing life, work, and family issues in the US. But, in a twist, she is presented to fragments of other realities, as a door to access skills from alternative versions of herself. Sometimes I feel that my mind is like that. I am here, there, and somewhere else. The movie, when you look at it now, was made by someone with ADHD. In fact, many people have come up to the director Daniel Kwan after screenings and said, "This feels like you're in my brain.". Recently I started a treatment with CBD that helps to stay in regular linear time when I need it. But, back to the movie, it also approaches – in a really poetic, artistic way – subjects like depression and suicide intentions and how hard is to deal with them, individually and collectively.
I was always passionate by life, I am. But I believe is important to talk about death, fear, uncertainty in life to find our way to find meaning. And the movie shows that you only can deal with some feelings, feeling it. After the movie, I stopped with my bike alongside a canal in Amsterdam and I wrote on my phone: the difference between sympathy and empathy lies in feeling together both the love and the pain of Earth. Everything, everywhere, all at once. I hope this can also make sense to you after you watch it.
I have an unfinished project to share about what I learned about temporalities from the media industry perspective, since, from dystopia to utopia, fiction is able to shape our culture and our lives. And who we will see in the future. Afrofuturism, for example, is so powerful because of its message to the present: there are black people in the future. And also the reconnection with indigenous movements and their cosmovisions and cosmoperceptions saying loud: the future is ancestral.
From other ways to see reality in fiction, back to our reality here with a lunar eclipse, a black hole, and everything in between I mentioned until now, I don't want to try to make sense out of all of it. It's just our first date. But it is also a love letter since I know I've been postponing to write more often here and you deserve attention. Thanks for waiting.
I would like to tell you that in 2019 I started an experiment on my time studies. A radical one. I decided not only to study other temporalities but to experience them. An experiment in time that connects with versions of myself on 12 July 2019. 29 March 2020. 31 August 2021. Today, 18 May 2022. And also many days ahead. In fact, one experiment that, I started intending to last for 13 years, at least, but it has been done by many others for longer than I can count. Based on a different temporality, beyond calendar and clocks, as we know it, all of these days are interwoven through the same information: Yellow Cosmic Sun. An archetypical data package that repeats every 260 days, a pattern from a cosmic cycle called by the Mayan people the Tzolk'in.
I don't want to make it feels harder than already is, since it challenges our worldview and understanding of time until here. But I can try to make things easy with my experience with it in the last few years. The first time I heard about it was from one of my students during a class of "Fractal: new protagonists of our time", my course with the creative school Perestroika in Brazil. Around 2016 I would say. This student asked me if I knew about my kin, about the Law of Time, the Tzolk'in, and, really, any of these words rang a bell. But it clicked something. After that moment, I started to notice these words subtly more present, hidden in topics I was already studying about time.
Since that day, I had studied in different schools about it, with people from all around the world, first by myself, when I also started to invite closer friends and other friends of friends that have arrived to be part of this experiment with me. Since that day, I organized small events to not only invite people to hear about it but to also experience it. To feel their time in a different way. And, since today is the end of a cycle but also the beginning of a new one, I decided to share this story with you.
I realized how unique is what we are building. A safe space to experience other temporalities, yes, in plural. People from different cultural backgrounds started connect around kins, orixás, cycles of the nature, medicines of the forest. Those who allow themselves to meditate and talk about the chakras are connected to temporalities of the east. Only here I identify already a lot of original temporalities: Yoruba, as the root of Candomblé and which derives from Umbanda; indigenous Pindorama (Pindorama was the name of Brazil from the cocar before the crown), I have learned from and with so many guardians – Huni Kuin, Guarani, Krenak, Yanomami, Maya. Indigenous and native from the Earth, but also connected to the stars and the galaxy itself. Yes, we all need to be more connected with the deep time of the Earth itself.
In addition to that, I also see in the experiment many digital temporalities because we are doing this remotely on WhatsApp and on social chats, using cards and stickers that I create using Illustrator, Keynote, Stickerly. And that are our own collection of 260 "NFTs like" digital images that only have those who live, open up, and connect. Try it one day at a time.
Afro-Brazilian, Mesoamerican, Amefrican, Digital, Transcontinental temporalities (this community is also across different time zones), Terrestrial, Galactic.Fundamented by scientific and academic temporalities but not limited to that. Have you noticed? In the middle of the chaos, it is possible to live in harmony an experiment of Temporal Diversity. It is something that only a laboratory and school of time travelers would be making in the midst of a war within a pandemic within a humanitarian crisis within a climate crisis... Today, I consider this opportunity as something very special. Now you are part of it.
We are learning to reframe the way we look at and connect with modern science, the business market, the society itself, since the temporality of capital is very strong in all of us (making the question I hear the most “and how do you make money working with it?” 🙃). Once, a friend that is the founder of an amazing curatorship company in Brazil said she wanted to invite me to give a lecture to anthropologists and other academic researchers doing masters and doctorates but who are unable to enter the job market on “how to make themselves interesting and relevant and sell your job in the market even if your subject is time travel.” This invitation alone made me honored.
For today, I will stop here. I imagine you are just like me watching a half chinese, half english movie with dutch subtitles: very curious and very, very confused. But we will get there. During the press conference about the black hole, I was texting with another dear friend that told me: "to the Tzolk'in, the black hole at the center of our galaxy is Kin 260, the farthest point from the Kin 1, but also the closest". So for now I invite you to feel so far from everything I just wrote, but also so close. You can write me back if you want. I will write you again tomorrow.
NS184.108.40.206, May 18 2022
Kin 260 Yellow Cosmic Sun