I originally wanted to explore Rio amidst the hype and activity of the games, but more importantly, I wanted to hear from people who had no voice and visit places that were far from the limelight. The city's notorious favelas have been examined extensively for some time, but the focus is almost always on the photogenic hillside communities that form the backdrop of the wealthy south zone, with its world-famous beaches and throngs of tourists.
The peripheries and suburban areas have long been abused or ignored by authorities. Violent and impoverished, these communities are largely invisible to the outside world. I continued visiting and speaking to residents throughout 2016 as media attention evaporated and the games left the city with a hangover of debt, broken promises and the worst recession in the country's history.
In the beginning of 2018 I moved to Rio to document this period of its history show how it is affecting its more vulnerable residents. The city has been wracked by violence. Infrastructure is crumbling and projects lie abandoned as waves of corruption allegations helped political turmoil take hold. Now, the country has just elected a hard-right presidential candidate from Rio. Many fear a return of law-and-order policies and few expect any sympathy for the poor and marginalized, who already suffer immensely. The new governor and mayor are of similar inclinations.
The project title comes from a chapter in Juliana Barbassa's 2016 account of the seductive and chaotic city on the brink of the games. In that same spirit, I aim to shine a light on what has happened now that the the dust has settled. A lot has changed since Barbassa wrote her book, and things will likely get worse before they get better. One of the world's most impressive cities is cracking at its very foundations. What will become of the 'cidade maravilhosa', beautiful and broken?