The Re-evolution of Dimas Reis

Dimas Reis is like river water, in an agitated movement towards an ancestral future that he constructs with his chest, heart, and hands. He exists for action for so many years that he no longer remembers who created whom: whether he was born from his projects or if it was the opposite.

He started inventing paths and ways of walking, all across Brasilândia. It’s  one of the peripheries of the north zone of São Paulo. The world calls it projects, but he once said he found a better name for what he does: technologies. Like Preto Império, which touch the world now.

Born five years ago, it’s a collective that seeks to make  the dream  of Black, Indigenous, traditional, and peripheral populations viable. For this, it combines income generation, socio-environmental, and cultural return. One way to explain it is like this, but another is even easier to understand:

“We take people and put them on the trampoline to jump. We whisper in their ears that if something happens, we’ll be here.”

Preto Império is the place of leaps of imagination, self-confidence, and ideas to transform this world into a radically better place for all beings. A sort of home for practical utopias.

We know little when things start happening. Before we realize it, we’re already doing what we do, being who we are. But a timeline that Dimas made for Preto Império helps to understand how ideas are born and grow, inside and outside of us. It’s like many branches of the same tree, which is our purpose: in 2009 Dimas was in GSA.

The following year, he already brought to the world the Guardiões Griô, his first creation aiming to preserve and spread the intangible heritage of his community, Vila Teresinha. Since then, it’s hard to keep track of all the things he has built and continues to build. One idea leads to another, he argues:

“In the Re-evolution, we take everything we’ve achieved and project new futures with it. That ‘s how we gaze at people in Preto Império. People are already potential, they have achieved a lot. Here is the place for the bigger leap. For many bigger leaps”.

But how do we know when it’s time, how do we know that we need to take the next step, to expand? He replied to me like this: “Things are made of networks of interest. When the network of interest makes certain specific movements, it gives us comfort, security, and certainty to move forward.”

With this, Dimas draws attention to our surroundings. He invites us to perceive what the world asks of us, but we also need to bring to consciousness what conditions we need to advance: do we have them? What is our next precise move to change everything around us?

“We need to mix the time of things with the time of methodology,” he explained about how they chose to work at Preto Império. ”People arrive carrying many baggage: emotional, psychological, social. And this needs to be considered.”

Inside and outside: how does this next step connect with something powerful inside me, strong enough to keep me in a  permanent state of movement?

“The idea is for people to become so big that they no longer fit here. We are just an amplifier”, he almost concludes, to defend this idea that sews everything together: the world asks for expansion when we no longer fit inside ourselves. And the ideas and desires that brought us here.





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