Maria Catarina Duncan on PAI dos BURROS, 2016

“We are, at this point, right or wrong, but together. […] If this whole constellation isn’t destined for men’s clarification through the fourth dimension, the dream is only a sleep, cultural numbness, illumination of useless knowledge”

Câmara Cascudo


A culture is born the willingness to tell and the availability to listen. Aboio, Cangaço, Exu, Figa, Ixê, Jurema and Macunaíma are some of the entries described at the Dicionário do Folclore Brasileiro [Dictionary of Brazilian Folklore], by Luís da Câmara Cascudo, these are reborn in the forms of drawings and sounds in Pai dos Burros [Father of Dummies]. Beliefs, myths and characters inhabit us, front to numerous possibilities of being reinvented; they are products of a culture in movement that crosses and actualizes itself. When we believe to be close to a definition, a new layer rises and the truths lapse. “Manage to distrust. All is and is not” – as said by Riobaldo, in Guimarães Rosa’s novel Grande Sertão: Veredas.


With Cascudo’s iconic reference, Teresa Berlinck and Julio de Paula bring what we understand as “folklore” back to the surface of our days. The entries pinched by the artists leave the limits of the written word in order to become a constellation. It’s a work that blooms the stories told in the streets, in the Internet, in oracles, dreams or music. We are all authors of this creation that emerges multiplicity – reality is not navigable by one single form of translation.


Each entry unfolds into new structures. Burro [donkey] can be considered an animal or a kid sitting backwards to her classroom. Boiúna, can be a large snake or a simple vessel. Banzé, a confusion or a cartoon character. Searches, choices and associations between content operate as a throw of dices that informs, induces and confuses, both in the dictionary as well as in the internet. As we believe to control the diversity of knowledge, it slips away, not everything fits. It is necessary for us to accept reality as a frame. Could a single body speak for all?


The voice of others echoes in everything: in beliefs, in lullabies, in television, in the name you gave me, in the fruits you pick. We are what we were told. We are our ability to communicate. We are what we built together. What we think, we don’t think alone. Understanding is only given through time, the fourth dimension, which Cascudo refers to. In a continuous composition between past and present, memory and everyday, a common imaginary, a myth, folklore, a whole culture is created. The elements aren’t fixed. Pai dos Burros relates to what cannot be defined, because it’s alive. Alive and in complete mutation.