Clarissa Tossin


Clarissa Tossin Biography

When two places look alike is a series of photographs that juxtaposes two Ford company towns, Belterra, a rubber plantation village in the Amazon Forest and Alberta, a sawmill town in Michigan.   Built concurrently in 1935 with the supervision of Henry Ford, both towns share similar housing typology despite the very different locations.   The photograph was made by superimposing Belterra’s cutout cards to equivalent houses in Alberta and vice versa.  Her work continually explores the effect of the Modern Utopia that, being a native of Brazil, she experienced first hand. Tossin also has a strong connection to the MFA, Houston; she was a fellow at the much lauded Core Program also affiliated with the museum.

Tossin has a few other series that utilize imagery from the internet, most notably Google. The series Brasilia by Foot incorporates a Google Earth satellite image of an area in Brasilia showing the pathways made by pedestrians in contrast to the planned avenues for the automobile.  The series consists of an enlarged photo of the area and then some outlines on vellum with the soil as the medium.  In the outline she traced the steps of each path and recorded the amount of steps it took to walk the path.  

Study for a Landscape is another series that utilizes a Google Earth satellite image from Brasilia and one from Mars.  For the Brasilia image, Tossin folded the work to a car paper folding pattern and then unfolded adding a layer of pathways - the car was central in the planning of the city of Brasilia.  The satellite image of Mars is folded according to a pattern to make an origami rocket with the idea that modernist approach to building a city implied that they were also building a new society.