In the video Cura, the Brazilian creative collective Bijari performs an urban intervention in which abandoned cars on the streets and deserted lots of São Paulo are transformed into micro-gardens, where nature thrives. The video is the latest in a series of performances that began in 2007, capturing these maverick acts of renewal, leaves sprouting from rusting metallic bodies, and the routines of city days upended with these sudden detours into green moments of relief. The work is a mirage of another possible city, of rethinking what our cities might recover to become better places to live. The project underpins urban issues such as the need to reimagine urban ecology—flows, resources, territories, histories, and rhythms—and the speculative dynamics of sprawling urban growth.
Cura is a direct comment on how urban morphology was configured, based on the technological imperative of exclusive, individual, and unfortunately polluting means of transportation. The impact extends beyond urban design and transportation infrastructure—the carbon footprint of heavy construction and the dependence on internal combustion engines and their rippling effects as they embed themselves not only in our cityscapes, but in the health of our bodies and communities. Healing performs the action of cleaning a wound of the city. The car as a paradigm of urbanism conceals the very idea of nature, while it instills ideas of economic hierarchies and veers away from a sense of common health and shared wealth that are precisely what nature offers each and all of us. Bijari believes that the upheaval of the current crisis gives us the chance to reinvent what “urban” can and must mean. The surprise of the green car symbolizes this need to rethink and re-educate, to depressurize, to slow down, and finally, to heal.