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Santa Cecilia Sao
A mixed martial arts fighter "working his hands" on a heavy bag (USMC photo)

In June 2003, Brazilian artist Joao Roberto Vieira opened an exhibition of punching bags in Sao Paulo's Santa Cecilia subway station so that commuters could better relieve their frustrations. "The idea," Vieira explained, "is to make people focus on their anger and think about violence."

Brazilians who tried the punching bags were soon calling for the government to install them across the city. "I punched one to get relief from the unemployment rate," one commuter, Orisvaldo Pereira, said, "and the lack of beds in hospitals and corruption." "If the city had more of them," another one said, "maybe the violence would drop."

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