Picture Generation exhibits part of the archive of the early years of Maus Hábitos documented by photographer Daniel Pires from 2000 to 2006 when the cultural intervention project functioned as a permanent artistic residence. It is part of the continuity of the project Ao Monte (Felícia Teixeira, João Brojo 2017) that registered the work developed by collectives and informal groups of artists that have marked the city of Porto since the end of the 90s.
“For me, everything began with the name. Bad habits had always seemed to me be an expression to be treated with affection, rebelling against the good habits that someone (normally someone with the irritating intention of judging others) seeks to impose on us. After this, it was the discovery of the building, a genuine treasure of modern architecture in the heart of the city. And then there was my encounter with the energy of Daniel, that ability that he has to join people and ideas together and invent moments and situations that would not exist without him. Initially, Maus Hábitos (Bad Habits) seemed to be a project of artistic residencies with a bar, operating in such a way as to create the possibility for things to happen; and then there was the success and the huge number of people attracted by the place and by what was going on there. This meant that the night superimposed itself on the day, without the day ceasing to happen, and the bar turned into a surprisingly polymorphic space gradually constructing its own identity through the programmes that followed on from one another, through the people who met one another there. If the institutions of a city where art and culture are presented must preserve a relaxed atmosphere in which the unforeseen can happen, then the relaxed places of a city must also preserve that openness and generosity that make them institutions by default, in the absence of whatever it is that might afford them an institutional format. Today, Maus Hábitos is this kind of institution, leisurely and unpredictable, always generous about what may be found in its spaces. Many artists have presented their work there for the first time, many unforgettable and unrepeatable shows and performances have taken place there, a lot of music has been listened to, with a lot of dancing, lots of people have met (and failed to meet) one another on days and nights of drinking and talking, complete with tasty snacks and delicacies, discoveries and re-encounters. Every day and every night witnesses the cultivation and the rebirth there of one of the human qualities best suited to bringing people closer to what artists have to offer: curiosity, or just simply the art of being with others, accepting the challenge of discovering what may be unique in each of us. One day, a project brought Maus Hábitos to the Serralves Museum, where I was working at that time, in an exhibition that was being presented in several places in the city with a title that was as symbolic as it was symptomatic: Squatters. All of us who go to Maus Hábitos occupy the city and we find there a unique squat, which we occupy as much as it occupies us. You can’t get to know a city without discovering its bad habits... You can’t get to know Porto without discovering and returning to its strangely peculiar Maus Hábitos.”
João Fernandes, 2019