18 August 2009

Learning to swear, carioca style

Fluminese 1 x Coritiba 3
Campionato Brasileiro, Serie A
16 August 2009

For many years, when I told people that my research was "stadiums in Latin America", the inevitable response was, "Have you ever been to that huge stadium, I can't remember its name, but it holds, like, four hundred thousand people, that must be crazy." The name of the stadium is Estádio Mario Filho, aka Maracanã. Yes, I have been there, many times, and it doesn't hold nearly as many people as it used to. It can be crazy though it’s also just a local stadium where people go week in, week out to watch soccer.

The Maracanã is arguably the most famous stadium in the world. Built for the 1950 World Cup, the original capacity was somewhere between 180,000 and 190,000. The Brazilians were so sure that they were going to win the 1950 World Cup that they offered to paint this colossus, the biggest stadium in the world, the grandest stadium since Imperial Rome’s Circus Maximus, the stadium that was to represent Brazil’s emergence as South America’s post World War II industrial, technological, and cultural leader – in the colors of the winning team. On 16 July 1950, 220,000 people witnessed the unthinkable. To this day the Maracana is celeste, the sky-blue of Uruguay a continual reminder of the folly of hubris. It is surprising that so few Brazilians know the story behind the colors.

Despite the infamy and drama, going to the Maracanã is really just an ordinary thing to do on a Sunday afternoon in Rio. I arrived late to the game but there were so many others doing the same that I wondered if the kickoff hadn’t been delayed. I bought my R$20 ($US 12) ticket for the cadeira comum and hustled into the stadium. Fluminese were a goal down after fifteen minutes and the fans were clearly angry. There wasn’t much to recommend in the play of either team – Fluminese entered the game second from bottom and Coritiba third from bottom. This was a mid season relegation battle.

Before half-time, I moved from behind the goal to behind the player’s benches and below the media cabins. This is usually the most crowded section of the stadium as the fans are within earshot of the coaches and players. When I first started going to the Maracanã in 2003, this area was known as the geral, an open area where young men ran back and forth screaming at the players, coaches, and referees. The geral was eliminated in 2006, reducing the capacity of the stadium to 87,000 (from an already diminished 119,000) . Families have taken the place of the ruffians and it is no longer possible to watch the game form the railings as Military Police shunt everyone into seats before kickoff. This hasn’t stopped the streams of vitriol flowing from the stands to the pitch, but the police are omni-present.

One of the other changes that has come with the architectural modification is that prices have increased from R$5 to R$20. It literally goes without saying that when you put people in seats they become more sedate. But there is plenty of evidence to suggest that the former geral, now cadeira comum, continues as a place where the norms and mores of Brazilian society are transferred from one generation to the next. I can’t decide if it’s funny or not, but hearing dozens of pre-teen voices fill the air with “Oi juiz, vai tomar no cu!” (Hey referee, go take it up the ass!) is pretty funny.

One of the main differences between going to a stadium in Europe or the USA and Latin America is the amount of information about the event. At the Maracanã, there is a scoreboard but no game clock, no game day programs, no stats, no player profile magazines, nothing. People just know these things. There is also no place to buy souvenirs, and no half-time show. There is half-time entertainment, though it hardly compares in Lolita-esque sensuality with the RailHawk dancers. I hope to get an interview with this guy in the coming weeks. He goes the length of the pitch and then returns to midfield, which takes him about 15 minutes.

Fluminese went 2-0 down mid-way through the second half, thanks to some shocking defending and even worse goal-keeping. The newly reinstated coach, Renato Gaucho, clearly had nothing and no one to bring off the bench and paced the sideline with his head in his hands. Somehow, a long ball out of defense combined with a lucky bounce and a bit of pace to pull a goal back for Fluminese, but hope was short lived as Coritiba killed the game on a counter-attack. Once the result was beyond doubt, the fans spilled into the old geral to take up their swearing positions. There was nothing the police could do but let the abuse wash over them and onto the coaching staff and players.

In the movie clip below, there is an impressive diversity of ages, all screaming “Frangeiro” which can be loosely translated as “chicken shit”. Those familiar with Monty Pyton will be surprised to see a cameo by the “It’s” man. Just another Sunday at the Maracanã.

07 August 2009

World Cup 2014 Memory Project

“A Copa é nossa, a memoria é global”


The FIFA World Cup is one of the world’s most powerful sources of collective memory. Every time a World Cup Final occurs, it is the most watched event in human history. World Cup games define national and personal histories, stimulate exchange between distant and disparate cultures, and renew rivalries that resonate through time and space. Since 1930, the quadrennial World Cup has marked time for billions of people, connecting generations and cultures through a shared memory.

The World Cup is a global event that occurs in local stadiums. These stadiums function as stages for sport but also serve as repositories of global memory. Players, coaches, dignitaries, residents, tourists, and television audiences share the emotional and cultural space of the stadium, remembering what happened there long after the floodlights dim. Despite the importance of the game and stadium in peoples’ lives, there are very few mechanisms through which they can build upon, share, and connect with the memories and events they helped to create. Long after the World Cup has passed, the stadiums and the games they host occupy a permanent position in the global memory of sport.

Twelve Brazilian cities will host the 64 games of the FIFA 2014 World Cup. Incredibly, there are currently no stadiums in Brazil that meet FIFA (International Federation of Association Football) requirements for the month long event. Therefore, the Brazilian Football Federation (CBF) in conjunction with national, state, and city governments have embarked upon an ambitious stadium building program. The minimum projected cost for seven renovated and five new stadiums is in excess of R$4.3 billion (US$ 2.15 billion). The estimated investment in transportation, communication, and tourist infrastructure is a staggering R$100 billion. The historic nature of the World Cup and its profound impact on Brazilian cities call for a project that can contextualize and memorialize these monumental projects.

The mission of the 2014 World Cup Memory Project (2014WCMP) is to document, enhance, and catalogue the histories and events associated with the stadiums of the 2014 World Cup. This unique project will serve as a resource and archive for laborers, project managers, government officials, residents, tourists, researchers, and policy makers. Multiple forms of public engagement will allow a diverse cross-section of Brazilian society to interact with international tourists so that the experience and events of the 2014 World Cup can be preserved as a living history.


2014 World Cup Rio de Janeiro Maracanã FIFA 2016 Olympics 2016 Summer Olympics Eduardo Paes CBF Copa do Mundo 2014 Rio de Janeiro Olympics Ricardo Texeira World Cup 2014 Vasco da Gama 2010 World Cup White Elephants mega-events APO UPP BRT Brazil football Flamengo Lula Orlando Silva violence ANT Aldeia Maracana Carlos Nuzman Dilma Eike Batista Rio 2016 Sergio Cabral 2007 Pan American Games Campeonato Carioca Corruption IOC Jerome Valcke Novo Maracanã stadiums BOPE BRASIL 2016 Brasil 2014 Engenhao Joao Havelange Maracana Policia Militar Vila Autódromo Aldo Rebelo Botafogo Henrique Meirelles Medida Provisoria Metro Revolta do Vinagre Sao Paulo Sepp Blatter World Cup 2010 forced removal Carnaval Elefantes Brancos Fechadao Marcia Lins Minerao Morumbi Odebrecht Porto Maravilha Rio+20 Romario Security Walls South Africa South Africa 2010 TCU Transoeste protests public money public transportation slavery transparency x-Maracana Andrew Jennings Argentina Audiencia Publica Barcelona Brazil Carvalho Hosken Comitê Popular Confederatons Cup Copa do Brasil 2010 Cost overruns Crisis of Capital Accumulation EMOP FERJ Favela do Metro Fluminense Fluminese Fonte Novo IMX Jose Marin Leonel Messi London 2012 Marcelo Freixo Maré Museu do Indio Olympic Delivery Authority Perimetral Rocinha Soccerex Transcarioca bicycles consumer society debt idiocy militarization transportation 1995 Rugby World Cup 2004 Olympics 2015 Copa America Banco Imobiliario Barcas SA Belo Horizonte Bom Senso F.C. Brasilerao CDURP CONMEBOL Champions League. Mourinho Complexo do Alemão Copa Libertadores Cupula dos Povos ESPN England FiFA Fan Fest Istanbul 2020 Jogos Militares John Carioca Kaka Manaus McDonald's Obama Olympic Village PPP Paralympics Providencia Recife Russia Salvador Soccer City Taksim Square Tatu-bola Urban Social Forum Vidigal Vila Olimpica War World Cup Xaracana attendance figures cities corrupcao drugs estadios football frangueiro futebol mafia planejamento urbano police repression porn privitization reforms shock doctrine taxes 201 2010 Elections 2010 Vancouver Olypmics 2013 2018 World Cup 2030 Argentina / Uruguay ABRAJI AGENCO ANPUR ANT-SP Amazonia Ancelmo Gois Andrade Gutierrez Anthony Garotinho Arena Amazonia Arena Pernambucana Athens Atlético Paranaense Avenida das Americas BID Barra de Tijuca Blatter Brasil x Cote d'Iviore Brasileirão 2013 Brasilia Brasilierao Bruno Souza Bus fares COB COI COMLURB CPI CPO Cabral Caixa Economica Canal do Anil Cantagalo Celio de Barros Cesar Maia Chapeu Mangueira Chile 2015 Choque do Ordem Cidade da Copa Class One Powerboat Racing Clint Dempsey Comite Companhia das Docas Copa do Brasil Corinthians Cuiabá Curitiba Dave Zrin David Harvey Der Spiegel Eastwood Edge of Sports Escola Friendenrich Expo Estadio Expo Urbano FGV Fonte Nova Gamboa Garotinho Geostadia Ghana Globo Greek Debt Crisis Greek Olympics HBO Hipoptopoma IMG IPHAN ISL Iniesta Internatinal Football Arena Invictus Istanbul Itaquerao Jacque Rogge Jefferson John Coates Jose Beltrame Julio Grondona Julio Lopes Julio de Lamare Knights Templar Korea Lei Geral da Copa MAR MEX Manchester United Mangabeira Unger Maracanã. Soccerex Marina da Gloria Mexico Milton Santos Molotov Cocktail Mr.Balls Neymar Nicholas Leoz Nilton Santos Olympic Flag Olympic Park Project Oscar Niemeyer Pacaembu Pan American Games Parque Olimpico Pernambuco Plano Popular Plano Popular do Maracana Plano Popular do Maracanã Play the Game Pope Porto Alegre Porto Olimpico Porto Seguro Portuguesa Praca Tiradentes Preview Projeto Morrinho Putin Qatar Quatar 2022 RSA Realengo Regis Fichtner Roberto Dinamite Russia 2018 SETRANS SMH Santa Teresa Santos Sao Raimundo Sargento Pepper Security Cameras Smart City Sochi 2014 South Korea Stormtroopers São Januário São Paulo Teargas Templars Tokyo 2020 Tropa do Elite II Turkey UFRJ/IPPUR URU USA USA! Unidos da Tijuca United States government Urban Age Conference VVIP Via Binário Victory Team Vila Autodromo Vila Cruzeiro Vila do Pan Vilvadao Vivaldao Volta Alice Wasteland Workers' Party World Cup 2018 Xavi Zurich apartments atrazos barrier beer bio-fuels bonde capacities civil society comite popular copa sudamericana crack crime dengue dictatorship estádios favelalógica feira livre fiador flooding freedom of information furos geral graffiti guarda municipal host city agreement identity infrastructure ipanema istoe labor rape riots schedule school shooting security segregation social movements stadium state of exception supervia tear gas ticket prices torcidas organizadas tourism traffic tragedy trash trem-bala velodromo wikileaks xingar