Sugar and Speed, Museu de Arte Moderna Aloisio Magalhães (MAMAM), Recife, 22 March–28 May 2017. Curated by Stefanie Hessler. “The history of Recife, the largest metropolitan area of northeastern Brazil and capital of the state of Pernambuco, cannot be told without the history of sugar and labour. Sugarcane originated from Southeast Asia and Melanesia, and was first introduced to Brazil in 1532, imported by the Portuguese, who intended to expand their cultivations beyond the Atlantic islands. The colony soon became the principal producer of sugar worldwide with the majority of its plantations and mills situated in Pernambuco thanks to its warm climate and fertile soil. Brazil’s role in the sugar trade weakened in the mid-17th century, after the departure of the Dutch governor Mauricio de Nassau and rivalries between the Portuguese tradesmen of Recife and the sugarcane farmers of the neighbouring Olinda that resulted in the Guerra dos Mascates during the early 18th century. The ensuing Caribbean sugar boom, propelled by the expelled Dutch, led to declining rates of exports from Brazil. While the country never ceased to produce sugar, it regained its leading market position only in the 1970s, during the time of ‘spectacular growth’ and endorsed through subsidies for sugar-derived alcohol by the military regime, who aimed to achieve energy independence following the oil embargo – developments that were accompanied by an increased concentration of personal income and social segregation. Fast forward to today, despite forfeited growth since the 2008 financial crisis, Brazil is one of the largest sugar exporters and the world’s lowest cost producer. […] Sited in the museum in the capital of sugar, the exhibition relates to the intertwined web of forces that reverberate across time and space into the present, such as economic growth rates, physical and immaterial modes of work, technological and metabolic acceleration, productivity and yield set against depletion, and processes of commodification in Recife and beyond.”