Gathered by their belief in transmutation as disobedience, the artist Castiel Vitorino Brasileiro and the interdisciplinary performer and pastor Ventura Profana converse about the faith that allows recognizing routes of escape.
Ventura, I’m not sure which biblical moment interests you most at this time of your life. The New Testament tells us: “Faith is the assurance of what is hoped for and the evidence of what is not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). At the beginning of this century in Brazil, the singer Jamily ignited a national evangelization project with his song “Conquistando o Imposible” [“Conquering the Impossible”], also the name of the album. The album and song affirmed the power of faith in God to help us overcome any impossibility. It was an enormous hit in Brazil. Sixteen years later you and PODESERDESLIGADO released the album Traquejos Pentecostais para Matar o Senhor [Pentecostal Paths to Kill Our Lord], on which you are listed as a songwriter. In the song “EU NÃO VUO MORRER” [“I WILL NOT DIE”], you write, “The old ladies will have dreams / The young women will have visions.”
How can we put the brakes on the enemy’s impetus to loot, destroy, and murder? What paths can we take to fully detach ourselves from this hidden and cursed time we live in?
With eyes of faith, I am able to detect the escape routes that almost always appear camouflaged in front of me. Innumerable signs reveal themselves to us: what pace to walk at, what shoes to wear for the journey, whether to crouch, crawl, jump, or swim. I dream of the time when the face of the abyss will be covered again in darkness. However, our spirit will not move over the face of the water, but within its intimacy. May our physical, spiritual, emotional, and affective thirst be sated, day after day, until the government of evil men comes to an end.
The intelligence strategy Saul adopted was essentially one of infiltration: he himself “converted” to Jesus’s teachings, becoming the very target of his campaign (the proverbial wolf in sheep’s clothing) in order to administer and implement his plan from the inside out, a necropolitical liturgical plan of domination and sovereignty that came to be defended and crusaded for by the Apostolic Roman Catholic order. In fact, he was responsible for writing about 2o percent of the Bible’s texts, almost half of the New Testament. Taking control over Jesus’s image, legacy, and icon status, he elaborated on Jesus’s memory to produce a servile theology based on submission and sacrifice, reinforced by the genocidal mission “to save = to whiten”: “Come now, let us set things right, says the Lord: Though your sins be like scarlet, they may become white as snow; Though they be red like crimson, they may become white as wool. If you are willing, and obey, you shall eat the good things of the land; But if you refuse and resist, you shall be eaten by the sword: for the mouth of the Lord has spoken!” (Isa. 1:18-22).
It is Saul who imprisons Jesus in the figure of the Lord, as the “lamb of God,” the sacrificial lamb, erecting a shield of sanctification to protect and hide the barbarity that whiteness advances, decorating it with the qualities of the lamb and the lion, endowing it with free and exclusive access to contradiction that exempts the heirs-elect of all responsibility and shifts the blame to the shoulders of others. He eradicates the possibility of contradiction for anybody else, characterizing it as diabolical when it is not used in his service. In this way, the enslaved are convinced that the same Lord who has condemned them to the worst fate does it out of love. And that in return for this love, they must offer the Lord eternal gratitude, sincere devotion, and faithful servitude.
Taking this into account, I believe that the enemy’s interest is focused on the eradication of any possibility for disobedient organization. In this case, to disobey is to assemble and propose ways of thinking and imagining that emerge from, embrace, produce, and feed off of contradiction. In a place of time (which I argue continues to be the time of Jesus), congregations that disobey are persecuted with the edge of the sword. However, the mandinga demon who never dies renders the enemy concept of false resurrection completely useless. In the realm of the supernatural, these dodges and deflections have earned the nickname “miracle,” but they are actually capoeira. It is through malandragem (mischief) that we are able to widen the breaches that allow us to breathe. Coming together, we bring with us memories of how to live the impossible, reintroducing into our midst that which is incomprehensible to the colonizer. The memory comes to us with the sound of the fiery and swift wind that fills the whole house and which bursts into tongues of flames when it touches us. Despite having crossed an ocean of death, everyone who arrived here was filled with the spirit of life and spoke in many different languages.
The colonizer, stunned and perplexed, asked himself, “What does this mean?” and he called us crazy and drunk (Acts 2:13).
The Pentecost (Acts 2) is a tale of disorientation and disobedience. Coming together allows us to forget the language of the Israelites and remember the maternal tongues of our Mothers. One cannot intercept the crossroads. It is the spiritual rebirth of the crossroads that fulfills the prophecy that tells us that the old women will dream and the young women will have visions. It is in this place that the sun becomes darkness.
VP: When your hands watered me, returning the clay that constitutes my body to a malleable state, a warehouse in Jakarta exploded, six ships on the coast sank, 39 museums in Europe were broken into. I forgot how to speak that morning. I dreamed that we eloped, swinging out over the lake. The ceremony was in a cathedral with the highest of altars. I was wearing clothes, but the feeling I had was of being naked, promiscuous, of striking the entire Baptist congregation silent. It was like the last sip of a ginger-watermelon juice, fucking cold and sweet. I came down to find you. To me, you are like a star that will never be born again. That’s why I know you are a damn old lady. When I was in São Caetano, I dreamed about the color orange and the Calle de Naymare in Cachoeira, where I’m writing you now. I dreamed that it was summer in my thighs and that I wouldn’t have to leave Bahía again. My lips trembled as I prayed for the taste of love that Margarida’s life awakens in me. I believe that I would be capable of provoking a clash between Saturn and Uranus for my father. For him, I would confuse the planetary orbits of at least eight galaxies that I haven’t even seen. I like his tradition that lives in me. I like learning to kiss his kiss. When I pushed off, tracing my anus over the sacred wooden objects of the church where I married you, I almost knocked over the cross, but I put it back in place, cursing it. The swing was made of a truck tire. Mama saw me naked; my whole body was covered with lips and I had a hard cock and wore pink Louboutin heels. Red in color, my hair fell in cascades like sandcastles. I’m learning to build fortresses. I woke up so as not to forget that I wasn’t dying and that the day that I leave this carcass that I am learning to love—this beautiful girl who you married and to whom you are writing—I will see the Japan of yesteryear, laughing at me stuck in the earth.
What is the tantric formula of the instant?
CVB: I also believe that all the vital changes we are making require us to make some sacrifices—offer something of ourselves so that the movement of our lives will continue. Our conversations about negotiation are recurring, and we know that in these negotiations some things must be surrendered in order for others to be gained. But there is something that we are learning together and that is precisely the impossibility of losing certain things. Sacrifices are not negotiations because we don’t lose, rather we feed, we share that which feeds us and feeds the lives that make our lives possible. How are you feeding yourself?
VP: In the old kitchen the color of cunning, where they put the broth to boil. It is at the edge of the lip that one experiences. On the table, the macaxeiras, also known as yuca, are multiplying. The beans that I’m cooking have learned the way to the aroma of those that my grandmother cooked. We harvested chiles in the last decades of autumn that existed because in the depth of my intuition I heard the laugh that they let escape into the air now that it is burning. A glass of agua de umbu, mangaba, and acerola will cure any bad mood. I have spent the last two weeks cutting garlic, pressing sugar cane, and cursing. I understood in the charm of secrets how to keep my toes together until the end of days, unlike my father and his father, from whom diabetes plucked several fingers. Two years of taking Perlutal resulted in circulatory problems so I had to interrupt that cycle in my life, but I miss it very much. They kill us through food. They often kill us, Everlane once said to me. One eats with the mouth, one eats with the gaze, one even needs to feed hearing. One feeds the body, the spirit. Breakfast is my favorite. I like tapioca with queso fresco, honey, and shaved coconut. I’ve been making fewer cocadas lately due to my sugar level, but it was through learning how to make them that I began to appreciate how precious culinary practice is.
VP: It was our courage to kill that brought us here. It was necessary to kill in order to establish an intimate relationship with death, to do sambar bamba on the paths of life. I am trying to nourish this mortal friendship so that I may treat my loves with affection in the time of the crossing. Every night I whisper songs to death so that it will learn them and sing them when it takes us to live on the other side. It is before death that I am a witness of the glory of revival. No doubt, transubstantiation is essential and inevitable. The waters of the springs cease to be springs when they become river water, but they never cease to be waters. They flow, converge, snake, and become other waters when they flow out of the mouth of the river. Some become oceans, others rise up to the clouds and continue their journey by air, and some flows back to the fountain. What is it about the snake that is not willing, out of fear, to shed its skins?
T.N. Travesti is a word used in Latin America to describe someone who is assigned the male sex at birth but develops a gender identity according to different expressions of femininity. Originally a pejorative term, it has been since reclaimed by activists. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Travesti_(gender_identity)
All English Bible quotes have been taken from the website of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. https://bible.usccb.org/bible.
Commonly known as tarantulas.