“Fundação Lar do Emigrante Português no Mundo” is a photographic and research project conducted between 2016 and 2020 on the Foundation Home for Portuguese Emigrants in the World (Fundação Lar do Emigrante Português no Mundo), a small satellite city built in the 1980’s on a forested area in the north of Portugal. The institution, planned and partially constructed by an emigrant returned from Venezuela, was intended to welcome others who, like him, had returned to Portugal. However, due to the megalomania of the private initiative and to a lack of funding, the enterprise failed.
The place is abandoned and there are the usual traces of vandalism, but also evidence of use by extreme right groups. The project brings together photographs taken over the last few years and documents found at the site – photographs, illustrations, posters, architectural drawings, texts, correspondence – as well as stills from the documentary “Portuguese House, House of Foreign Influences: The Dream of the Emigrant” (RTP1, 1988) which included an interview with the foundation’s mentor. In fact, recalling the aspirations of this personality, who seems quixotic to us nowadays, we are led to the visual essay. The images confront the documentation, showing a process of erosion that, as well as disturbing the material, also acts biographically and ideologically.
The iconographic dialogue, which develops, prompts a reflection on the permeability of the concept of Utopia, and ends with an irony that seems to exemplify the scale of the social crises, which are being faced in many countries and which particularly jeopardize the integrity of the European Union and its assumptions.
Text by Vera Carmo
Inkjet print on paper Fine Art . Different dimensions . Edition: 5+1AP