People – People
Exhibition design for Fundação EDP, with António Pedro Louro and Gonçalo Prudêncio
Lisbon, 2010

Photo credits: António NascimentoPhoto credits: António NascimentoPhoto credits: António Nascimento

The PEOPLE are peaceful

What do we talk about when we talk about the PEOPLE? Such is the starting-point of this exhibition, which invites us to travel across the manifold meanings of this concept and the word that names it. In spite of the term’s millennial history, it was only during the last three centuries – from the emergence of liberalisms, nationalisms and socialisms to the present time – that the contemporary notion of PEOPLE developed itself. Such is the subject of the present display.
PUEBLO, POPPOLO, VOLK, 人, PEUPLE, PEOPLE, POVO, ΔΗΜOΣ, etc.: in all languages, the concept transverses the realms of politics, culture, society and economy. It is the foundation on which political power constitutes and legitimizes itself. On the other hand, defiance to that same political power often rises in the name of that same PEOPLE, which in turn inspires speeches and texts that create, warrant or put into question tradition and history. And we only need to enumerate its synonyms – population, plebe, proletariat, mass, multitude – to understand the magnitude of its social significance.
In Portugal, over the last decades, with the advent of democracy, the generalization of consumerism and the new processes of internationalization, we became used to speak of such terms as civilian society, middle classes, mass and pop culture, instead of the people’s will, popular classes or culture. Yet, these are only different names for the PEOPLE. 

Photo credits: António NascimentoPhoto credits: António NascimentoPhoto credits: António NascimentoPhoto credits: António NascimentoPhoto credits: António NascimentoPhoto credits: António NascimentoPhoto by António NascimentoPhoto credits: António NascimentoPhoto credits: António NascimentoPhoto credits: António NascimentoPhoto credits: António Nascimento

This word, at once revolutionary, radical, conservative and reactionary, has been, in accordance with its use and appropriation, blessed and cursed, sacralised and desecrated, desired and feared, asserted and denied, defended and betrayed. It breeds love and hatred, vows and perjuries, wars and agreements, discords and alliances, heroism and martyrdom. For it men and women, individuals and whole peoples have lived and died. It is one of the most dreamed-of, silenced and shouted-out human words.
This exhibition looks at the history of the PEOPLE from this concept’s present. It looks at its passage from object to subject, from particular to universal, from serf to sovereign. To do this, it resorts to various media and codes. It is made of images, ideas, sounds, words, objects, memories and the lack of them, desires, readings, answers, questions. It combines the individual and the collective, the erudite and the mainstream, the symbolic and the imaginary, the body and the mind. It picks up the marks left by major social movements and the traces of minor popular struggles, but also the signs of change in work, leisure, consumerism, culture, communication – in life.
It is open-ended in terms of time and space. It deals with the past from the standpoint of the present – and contemplates the future out of both of them. It considers Portugal from the perspective of the global World – and the global World from a Portuguese perspective. Our chronology travels from today to yesterday, from the 21st-century crisis-stricken Greece to the same country at its apogee, in the 5th century BC, when it invented Democracy, government by the PEOPLE

Photo credits: António NascimentoPhoto credits: António Nascimento
Photo credits: António Nascimento

The exhibition does not finish at its end. The PEOPLE is a moving target, ever trying to escape the image that crystalizes it or, in other words, identifies, symbolizes, celebrates, displays, processes, explores and classifies it. It is a game in which reality and its representation meet, avoid, dodge, outwit, attract and repel each other.
This exhibition about the PEOPLE is a way of reminding the Republic, now commemorating its centenary, that it must never neglect its commitment to a name inseparable from its own. The PEOPLE shown here await the PEOPLE that come here – one is the mirror of the other.”

from the exhibition catalogue

Coordinating Curator
José Manuel dos Santos

Artistic Curator
João Pinharanda

Scientific Curator
José Neves

Audiovisual Curator
Diana Andringa

Exhibition Design
António Pedro Louro
Gonçalo Prudêncio
Pedro Ferreira
Rita João

Graphic Design
Marco Balesteros

Interaction Design

Assistant Curatorship
Joana Simões Henriques
Margarida Almeida Chantre

Andrea Dionísio
António Soares
Deolinda Ferreira
Fernando Ribeiro
Francisco Soares

Audiovisual Team
Diana Andringa
Bruno Cabral
João Dias

Editing Assistant
Rui Pires

Sound Research
Armanda Carvalho

Sound Mixing
Tiago Matos

Arquivo RTP – Rádio Televisão Portuguesa
ANIM – Arquivo Nacional de Imagens em Movimento

Documentary Research
Beatriz Pinharanda
Frederico Ágoas
Manuel Deniz Silva
Pedro Cerejo

João Pinharanda
José Manuel dos Santos
José Neves
Pedro Cerejo

José Gabriel Flores
Sarah Bove

Cátia Bonito
Margarida Almeida Chantre

Construções Sampaio

André Lemos
Laurindo Marta
Nelson Melo
Sérgio Gato
Construções Sampaio

Audiovisual Set-up
Aires Duarte
João Chaves (Technical Director)
Bazar do Vídeo


Press Adviser
Paula Vilafanha

António Manuel Santos
Mádia Griva