Projects & Events

Active Voice: Social Library
Mariana Lanari

Active Voice: Social Library
Mariana Lanari


Open from 2 to 27 July

Tuesday to Saturday, 

2pm to 7pm


Voz Ativa: Biblioteca Social [Active Voice: Social Library] is an inedited installation that proposes to reactivate the Casa do Povo library, a space that remained closed for 40 years. The proposition of artist Mariana Lanari consists of distributing the institution's collection of more than 8 thousand books over a 500 square meters surface during the exhibition period, from July 2nd to 27th, 2019.

The books will be disposed on the floor over a drawing of the map of Bom Retiro, the neighborhood where Casa do Povo is situated. To project the vicinity on the books is a way to remind ourselves of the history of this library, composed by different private collections of migrants who came to Brazil escaping the Second World War in the 1940s and found a home at Bom Retiro. In addition to titles in Portuguese, the collection also contains titles in Yiddish, German, French, Russian, and Spanish, encompassing themes connected with the culture of resistance, economy, politics, social movements, pedagogical avant-gardes, literature, art, and Jewish culture.

Just as a neighborhood without residents does not make a vicinity, a library without readers is nothing but a warehouse. In Active Voice: Social Library, the audience is invited to transit in this library-neighborhood and to take part in a sound performance where seven voices are mixed live by the artist. A sound system, with mikes spread throughout the space, will allow to compile amplified and remixed readings over the exhibition period. “The idea is to invite people to read these books and to mix those recordings live, making it a collective performance that maps the themes of the library, all the while it works as an engine that puts the collection in movement,” explains the project curator Marília Loureiro.

Through the instructions provided by Mariana Lanari, the reader-visitor will also be able to intervene in the installation, moving books in the space based in different and possible cataloging criteria, so as to allow this constantly moving library to become a rhizome, without getting stuck to classical systems of knowledge division.

About the artist

Mariana Lanari is an editor, artist, and researcher based in Amsterdam. Her research is based on cultural translation dynamics, the interactions between policies of access to knowledge, as well as collective memory infrastructures in archives and libraries, both physical and digital. In 2015/2016, she accomplished the project Moving Thinking – the origin of one’s thought is the thought of another, which took place at the Stedelijk Museum library, in Amsterdam, one of the main modern art collections in Europe. For this nine-month performance, the artist reconfigured the collection of more than 190 thousand volumes, regrouping the books and creating new connections, in which the elements found in a title were the point of departure to catalog the following book, thus suggesting a metaphor to the construction of thought and the memory of the museum.

Casa do Povo's programming expands the notion of culture, incorporating a large array of activities beyond artistic practices - from health and caring to community issues. The code of colors, filters and tags on the website helps to navigate through this entanglement of people and initiatives. Porous, mutant and critical, the programming allows the institution to structure itself without becoming rigid, to reinvent itself without growing precarious, to internationalize without giving up its local relevance, that is, in order to experiment with other forms of existence.

Regular activities

We strive to offer a lineup of courses that pique interest in the neighborhood and in Casa do Povo’s groups in residence, based on original and accessible practices (for those who offer, those who welcome and those who attend).

Study groups
In dialogue with the institution's axes, the study groups have various operational modes, some focused on internal processes, discussions and readings and others capable of overlapping into public events programming.


Commissioned works
Casa do Povo invites artists to develop new works, adapting its physical structure and guaranteeing the full operational existence of each project held here.

Each publication is understood as an extension of the projects developed and as a part of the events schedule.

Combining processes and results, discourses and actions, artistic and academic work, Casa do Povo promotes encounters based on specific themes according to the urgent issues of the day.

Hosted events

Groups in residence can promote public activities that become part of the events schedule. Deliberately discontinuous and fluid, these activities establish close dialogues with the institution's work axes and help make Casa do Povo larger than it is, overflowing with community life.

Projects and proposals can be sent to for assessment. At the same time, with the intention of encouraging this movement, an annual open call dedicated exclusively to collective practices has been launched.

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Nossa Voz
Nossa Voz

Nossa Voz is a publication by Casa do Povo. Literally “Our Voice,” the newspaper existed alongside the institution from 1947 to 1964, with texts in Yiddish and Portuguese and an editorial profile aligned with left wing ideals. It was shut down by the military dictatorship, which forced editor-in-chief Hersch Schechter and other contributors into exile. Relaunched in 2014, it continues to dialogue with its historical premises while rethinking its editorial directives.

The editorial committee relies on representatives from a wide variety of areas, meeting regularly to discuss issues concerning the city, memory and artistic practices according to the current political situation.

The publication is distributed free of charge and can be obtained at Casa do Povo during hours of operation, at partner institutions and some commercial establishments in the neighborhood of Bom Retiro in São Paulo.

Access recent issues below.

Click here to see old issues of Nossa Voz (1947-1964)