The Museu do Falso is a Museum of the Territory, composed exclusively of a collection from contemporary creators and agents, each working in their direct area of expertise and competence, subordinating their creations/contributions to the premise and concept of “Simulacrum”: What if a certain event had occurred in a different way than it actually did?
In this way, it is possible to build “artefacts and documents” that can simultaneously represent a revisiting of History; and, on the other hand, the addition of a direct creative component. The results of this process will exist in a duality between the “False”, evidenced as a construct and materialized in the piece specifically designed and executed; and the “True”, the pre-existing cultural element or asset (of heritage reading), on and from which it is created.
Descriptive Memory & The Explicit Falsehood
Elias Coelho Cintra, was a Portuguese merchant and one of the biggest slave traders at the beginning of the 19th century. XIX. in Pernambuco. Through the slave trade, E.C.C. amassed vast wealth and political and social influence.
It is known, through records found on slavevoyages.org, that Elias Coelho Cintra owned at least 10 nautical vessels, and was responsible for the displacement of more than six thousand Africans to Pernambuco in Brazil, between 1814 and 1830.
In 1824, he acquired a vast property in Recife, giving it the name of Sitio dos Coelhos, nowadays known only as Coelhos. Despite the intense social and political life he played, it is curious how Elias C.C remained unknown — or forgotten, throughout history.
The Diário de Pernambuco began to be published in November 1825, in Recife, and its main recipients were people linked to commerce. The Diário de Pernambuco is the oldest continuous circulation newspaper edited in Portuguese.
The slave ownership document in the name of Elias Coelho Cintra is fictional. As we know so little about the details of their business, I thought it important to question the absence of this information, using as a reference documents related to slave transactions belonging to other less prominent owners, found in the Isaías Alves collection, of the Faculdade de Filosofia e Ciências Humanas (FFCH) of the Universidade Federal da Bahia.
The enslaved people described in the record are, however, real. The article in the Diário de Pernambuco is real and it is through it that we are given an insight into social and political life, and a brief notion about the business carried out by E.C.C.
In several editions of the Diary, Elias C.C. it publishes advertisements requesting information on escaped or stolen slaves, as well as the publication of the entry of boats in Pernambuco loaded with slaves coming from the West coast of Africa, more specifically from Angola. We are also informed by the Diario de Pernambuco that it was Elias C.C. practice to mark his slaves with iron and fire with the letter E, the initial of his first name.
The choice of these objects and the narrative that surrounds them is a critical look at the absence of information written in Portuguese and the absence of spaces in Portugal that honestly portray its relationship with slavery. It is decidedly a critique of the humanist narrative, strongly disseminated, which makes invisible the violence of the political and economic system based on racist ideologies, practiced during the Portuguese Empire.