Inner Space

Peggi with virtual reality headset  at Museu Nacional de Arte Contemporânea do Chiado.
Peggi with virtual reality headset at Museu Nacional de Arte Contemporânea do Chiado.

Today is Republic Day which commemorates the overthrow of the monarchy in 1910. There are no signs of celebration here. Tomorrow the Portuguese go to the polls and are expected to maintain their democratic socialist alliance. 

We started our day with coffee in the room, a canister of dark stuff, and then two cups at breakfast. I still didn’t feel fully awake so we stopped at a café for a café pingado and that did the trick. We were ready for the Museu Nacional de Arte Contemporânea do Chiado where we saw a show called “Inner Space.” The introduction featured a quote from J. G. Ballard that contained the title.

We were entranced by a video installation by the Italian artist, Davide Trabucco,. He explored “the permanence and variation in architectural forms over time” with depictions of the Tower of Babel, aerial views of the Mayan pyramids, Sol Lewitt’s drawings and the Frank Lloyd Wright house in Rochester, New York.

I’ve always been afraid of Virtual Reality headsets for fear they would upset my equilibrium but Peggi appeared to be having so much fun I went for it. Another artist’s installation was all virtual with no reality and it did upset but it was worth it.

We stopped in three churches and they were every bit as good as the museum. Santo António is the patron saint of Lisbon and Portugal (as well as marriage and lost things) and the church built in his name was heavenly. San Roque is as revered in Portugal as he is in Spain. The church with his name had a museum attached to it which included a sixteenth century statue of the saint that had survived the earthquake. And our final church of the day was closer to the center of Lisbon, richer with more gold encrusted flourishes and beautiful statues.

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