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Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Apocalypse Portuguese Style

Costa by José Pedro Cortes is a book of bleak costal landscapes based around Costa da Caparica, a town south of Lisbon. It's a book of such barren sand, worn interiors and low grade vegetation, that it makes a day trip Weston-Super-Mare in February in the rain look like a right, rare old treat.

There are so many different kinds of Scrub, Edgelands, Terrain Vague and Third Landscapes that exist that I'm not quite sure where Costa fits into all this. Perhaps it goes into an apocalyptic sub-category where all life (except for that of a snake and some dusty palm trees) has been eliminated.

That's probably the case because Costa looks like something from The Road - there are footprints in lunar-like sand, but in terms of human inhabitation that's about it. The people have left town and are notable by their hurried absence. And if there are any people around then, as in the Road, you would probably want to avoid them. Everything that could be inhabited is falling apart, it's run ragged by the sea and the sand and the wind. Awnings are frayed, beach huts stripped of paint and everything is covered in a thick patina of dust.

Even the rocks look worn out. Defeated by the climate and the heat, they are mere shadows of rocks, rocks without solidity or soul. How did all this happen? Why the long face? Well that's the puzzle and that's the book.

Buy it here at  Pierre von Kleist Editions

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