Curated by Sylvia Chivaratanond
Escola das Artes - Universidade Católica  - Porto
14.October - 17.December 2021

“The future belongs to those who understand that doing more with less is compassionate, prosperous, and enduring, and thus more intelligent, even competitive.” Paul Hawken, environmentalist and serial entrepreneur  

explores the vast structures of the VCI, an intricate map of highways and circular rings that connect to the bridges of the center of Porto to the outskirts of the city along the Douro River.
Originating in 1960s and expanded in 1989, the VCI is described as arteries leading in and out the city and has had a vital role in the formation and development of Porto. Coinciding with its growth, Cortes grew up using the VCI as a teenager and draws an intimate portrait of its pulsating system as seen through his lens.  
As with all of Cortes’s work, these photographs evoke intimate moments that are uncanny and personal, almost as if the VCI is a character on its own. So much movement and people pass through this system on a daily basis it’s hard to imagine that it ever slows down, as if Cortes is reminding us that humanity may be on the same trajectory- a metaphor about contemporary culture, perhaps lack thereof. Or perhaps he wants to point to the mere transgressive acts that have occurred on these roads. In contrast to nature, the VCI is man-made and serves the needs of the capitalist in terms of manifesting commerce and trade.  Yet the irony remains that we must get into our cars and use these roads in order to get out to nature or as Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote: Adopt the pace of nature- her secret is patience; indeed it's something we must all adopt to be able to weave in and out of the VCI.

Sylvia Chivaratanond