How to remain
how to remain silent? #ARTEPELADEMOCRACIA FILMS
1 2 3 We are zumbi
4 5 6 Minorities and Gentrification
7 8 9 Narratives of Power 10 11 12 13 The City
TRAPLEV #caminantesato Nothing but an old, wrinkled cassette Looks like ruins, and itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s already under construction Everything that changes with the secundarista students 14 15 16 Outcome
Renata de Bonis
How to remain silent?
How to remain silent?
How to remain
silent? Juliana Caffé
Art and politics are profoundly entwined practices; they meet and intermingle constantly in the arena of social life. Part of the power of artistic creation resides in its ability to suggest new ways of experiencing the world, of creating new spaces and temporalities and of summoning the senses into asking questions, formulating problems and offering solutions that might change or chip away at personal habits and social conventions. This political side of art, which can broaden the way the world is comprehended as well as change it, makes its importance felt at times of crisis. This is also why art from a given period in history can account for that period itself.
How to remain silent? is the rhetorical question that remains whenever one considers discussing Brazil today. How can one ignore the successive political, ethical, economic and cultural scandals on the news each day? How can one not be bothered by the fact that chaos has become the new normal? Comprising videos and one publication, the exhibition features work by contemporary Brazilian artists who have somehow engaged this question and used their art to protest, question or encourage new ways of existing and living in society. Whereas the publication addresses the political, social and artistic events of the last five years and works its way up from the June 2013 demonstrations, the curated videos cover a longer time frame, but they address questions that are still pressing in Brazilian society.
In April 1970, during the exhibition “Do Corpo à Terra”, in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, artist Artur Barrio hurled 14 bundles of flesh, bones and blood into the Arrudas stream, downtown in the Minas state capital. Passersby found the situation odd and gathered into a crowd. The Fire Department eventually showed up and Police seized the bloody bundles. Barrio staged his “Situação / Trabalho T.E.”1 in three different places on different occasions in 1969 and 1970. The commotion it caused inevitably compounded the sense of terror brought about by the killings and the militia during the military rule. Fine artists produced equally defiant artworks, like Cildo Meireles’s iconic “Insertions into Ideological Circuits”, Hélio Oiticica’s “B33 Bólide Caixa 18” and so many others worthy of mention.
1 Situation / Work T.E. – the acronym stands for trouxas ensanguentadas, or bloodied bundles.
On December 27, 1968, the musicians Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil were arrested under charges of disrespecting the national anthem and the Brazilian flag. A few days earlier had seen the entry into force of Institutional Act #5, the decree that ushered in hardline military dictatorship laws. The offence had allegedly taken place during a concert in Rio de Janeiro’s Sucata nightclub; a flag by fine artist Hélio Oiticica was shown onstage portraying a criminal known as Cara de Cavalo (Horse Face) who had been executed by a death squad, alongside the inscription “seja marginal, seja herói” (be a criminal, be a hero). The picture and rumors that the national anthem had been sung profanely were grounds for the arrest. The video program and the publication are divided into five sections. In We Are Zumbi, collective Frente 3 de Fevereiro, Luiz de Abreu and Jonathas de Andrade explore race and class issues and prejudice in Brazilian society. In Minorities and Gentrification, Ailton Krenak, Raphael Escobar and Virgínia de Medeiros discuss rights violations and state-sponsored violence against minorities and the low-income population. In Narratives of Power, Clara Ianni, Jaime Lauriano and Roberto Winter denounce the role of the media and historical narrative in the power play. In City, Gian Spina subverts representations of memory in the public space; Graziela Kunsch invokes the right to the city through the struggle of the secundarista2 students movement, as a right to redo the world we live in; and Lia Chaia works with her own body to investigate urban space in the megalopolis of São Paulo. Lastly, in Outcome, the work of Berna Reale sarcastically metaphorizes the tragedy of Brazilian politics; Rodrigo Braga enacts the angst of the scream that won’t be stifled; and a video by Renata de Bonis prompts reflection on the time of the world and what separates Brazil and Africa; what is it after all that makes us alike, what is it that draws us closer? In the publication, texts by Julián Fuks, Paulo Fehlauer and Peter Pal Pelbart ponder a few of the questions tackled in the exhibit; and essays by Sato do Brasil and Traplev and a manifesto by Daniel Lima amplify the historical reflection that the research suggests. 2 The Brazilian equivalent of high school.
June of 2013 went down in Brazilian history. Millions of Brazilians took to the streets of the main national capitals to protest government actions. When they broke out, the “June journeys,” as they came to be known, were about a 20-cent bus fare hike, but vicious police crackdowns fueled the movement as its political demands grew more varied. On June 20, 2013, the demonstrations peaked as over 1 million people flooded the streets in 388 cities across the country, including 22 capitals.3 In Brasília, thousands of activists flocked to the esplanade of ministries. From the roof of the National Congress building, they took turns shouting words of protest: “Tomorrow it will be even bigger! Tomorrow it will be even bigger!”
whose 3 Data supplied by the local Military Police, except the data for São Paulo, imasidiano/ult om.br/cot ticias.uol.c https://no at: source is Datafolha. Available nas-denoticias/ 2013/06 /20/em-d ia-de-mai or-mobili zacao-pro testos-levam-cente milhares-as-ruas-no-brasil.htm. Viewed on: 30/08/2017.
Still of the video Paulista Ave – Dr. Arnaldo Ave Tunnel, by courtesy of the artist Graziela Kunsch.
Paulista Ave – Dr. Arnaldo Ave Tunnel, Graziela Kunsch, video, 2014. The video features a shot taken by the artist during celebrations of the first anniversary of the revocation of a 20-cent hike in bus, train and subway fares in June 2013.4 In September of that same year, Kunsch’s “Fare Free Bus” was featured in the 31st São Paulo Art Biennial. Her work evolved into a proposition for the São Paulo City Hall to provide a free, destination-unknown bus to drive around the city during the exhibition months. Through a workshop involving militants from social movements, the artist channeled exhibition resources into the social struggle, helping plan free temporary bus lines in the far south of São Paulo and in Belo Horizonte. The request was denied, but the artwork remained as a project – or, as the artist put it, “as a perspective, a destination – in a radical collective imagination effort.”5
4 Túnel Av. Paulista – Dr. Arnaldo, Graziela Kunsch, 2014: https:// naocaber.org/tunel-av-paulista-dr-arnaldo/
5 About the artwork from the 31st Biennial website: http://www.31bienal.org.br/ pt/post/1513. Viewed on 30/08/2017; and in the catalogue: https://issuu.com/ bienal/docs/31___livro-en_red/4?ff=true&e=2165059/10657776. Viewed on 11/09/2017.
Rafael Braga, poor and black, was the only Brazilian citizen sentenced to jail time during the June 2013 protests. The reason was that he was said to be carrying two plastic bottles, one containing disinfectant and the other containing bleach, which prosecutors said might be intended for building a bomb. Rafael is still in prison. On July 1st, 2017, the Tomie Ohtake Institute, in partnership with Instituto de Defesa do Direito de Defesa - IDDD (the Institute to Defend the Right to Defense) launched the exhibition “OSSO – Exposiçãoapelo ao amplo direito de defesa de Rafael Braga”6 (Exhibition-plea to full rights to defense for Rafael Braga), featuring 29 Brazilian artists’ takes on the case – including artworks created especially for the exhibition – in a bid to spur debate on racism in Brazilian society and the observance of the basic constitutional principle of equal rights.
6 OSSO - Exhibition-plea to full rights to defence for Rafael Braga Website. Available at: http://www.institutotomieohtake.org.br/exposicoes/interna/osso-exposiasapoapelo-ao-amplo-direito-de-defesa-de-rafael-braga. Viewed on: 30/08/2017.
Image of the work Concrete Experience by courtesy of the artist Jaime Lauriano.
ExperiĂŞncia Concreta (Concrete Experience), 2017, Jaime Lauriano. Artwork created by the artist for OSSO - Exhibition-plea to full rights to defense for Rafael Braga. The piece is an invitation for people to collect Portuguese-type stones on the streets and lay them out like jail bars. The action builds an analogy of the national prison system, built upon the foundations of racism as a structural element upon which Brazilian society stands.
March 17, 2014 saw the beginning of Operação Lava Jato (Operation Car Wash), the biggest corruption and money laundry probe ever in Brazil. Federal Police cracked down on crimes including active and passive corruption, administrative fraud, money laundry, conspiracy, obstruction of justice, money exchange fraud and undue advantages, and involving personnel from state-run oil company Petrobras, upper-echelon politicians and executives from major Brazilian corporations. On October 26, 2014, Brazil’s first-ever female president, Dilma Rousseff (center-left) gets reelected in a runoff election with 51.64% of votes; Aécio Neves (right wing) gets 48.36%.7 It was the closest vote for an Executive branch leader since 1989, when direct presidential elections returned in Brazil. Unwilling to accept the results, the opposition went so far as to ask for a vote recount, and to file for an impugnation of the winning duo. In the months that followed, the federal government’s actions kept being met with systematic resistance. On September 23, 2015, the Government of the State of São Paulo announced a public-school network restructuring plan providing for actions including the shutting down of schools and student transfers from unit to unit. In response, high school students staged a number of demonstrations, in addition to occupying schools in different parts of the State. The protest denounced the lack of a dialogue between authorities and the civil society. The movement spread throughout the country, bringing down the São Paulo Secretary of Education and stopping the São Paulo Government’s reorganization plan on its tracks.
During the occupations, the high school students slept, cooked, cleaned up the schools and scheduled their classes single-handedly. People from myriad walks of life volunteered to teach classes. Theater plays and concerts took place as well.
7 Data published by the newspaper A Folha de S. Paulo on 10/26/2014. Available at: https://eleicoes.uol.com.br/2014/noticias/2014/10/26/dilma-cresce-na-reta-final-ereeleita-e-emplaca-quarto-mandato-do-pt.htm. Viewed on: 30/08/2017.
Still of the video Schools, by courtesy of the artist Graziela Kunsch.
On April 28, 2016, at Fernão Dias Paes School, São Paulo, philosopher Peter Pal Pelbart read an open letter to the movement: “The courage and intelligence that this struggle
was approached with, the democratic, self-managing way in which it was carried on, the forms of mobilization and communication that were invented here, the way in which dialogue and connections were made with the different forces in civil society, the self-sustaining character that was displayed along the way are worthy of our utmost admiration and applause. But even more so, this was a true lesson in ethics and politics to all of us. If our politicians were to learn one percent of what has been taught here, our country would be different,” (full text on p.)
On November 5, 2015, a tailings dam burst in Mariana, Minas Gerais, in one of the biggest environmental tragedies ever in Brazil, brought about by neglectful inspections by government and by mining company Samarco. Entire villages were destroyed in the mudslide, which flooded and contaminated the fauna and flora. In August 2017, criminal case investigations, which didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t begin until late 2016, were put on hold by Federal Justice at the request of former Samarco board members, who are looking to shut down the case.8
8 Information published by the newspaper A Folha de S. Paulo on 08/07/2017. Available at: http://www1.folha.uol.com.br/cotidiano/2017/08/1907846-processocriminal-contra-samarco-e-diretores-e-suspenso-pela-justica.shtml. Viewed on: 30/08/2017.
A picture from narrative installation â&#x20AC;&#x153;Tanto Tudoâ&#x20AC;? (So Much Everything), by artist Gian Spina. In November 2015, Spina spent a month in Mariana assisting with the rescue of animals and helping the community affected by the environmental disaster. The fragments, images and poems written at the time of the disaster that comprises the piece reveal the magnitude of the destruction caused and the helplessness of the local population. At the same time, it brings back emotional memories of the place, reflecting the collective Brazilian cultural imaginary regarding Minas Gerais.
Image of the narrative installation Tanto Tudo, courtesy of the artist Gian Spina.
Still in November 2015, the Brazilian National Congress was discussing bill # 5,069, providing for a change in the law concerning support to sexual violence victims. The retrograde stances of politicians – most of them men – when it came to women’s rights prompted what grew to be known as the “feminist spring” to reach its peak. Thousands of women went out in the streets to claim their right to abortion, autonomy and sexual freedom and to protest misogyny and machoism. Amid the protests, the women demanded that Eduardo Cunha step down from his position as Lower House speaker. In October 2015, @ThinkOlga, an organization focused on feminist issues, launched the hashtag #PrimeiroAssédio (#FirstHarassment). Thousands of women answered the call and publicly related the first time they were sexually harassed. Other hashtags spread on social media, like #MeuAmigoSecreto (#MySecretFriend) and #AgoraÉQueSãoElas (#NowIt’sTheirTurn). In a bid to strengthen the movement, journalist and documentarist Paula Sacchetta launched the transmedia project “Faces of Harassment”, which culminated in a feature film released in 2016 and an interactive website9 that gave women a place for their voices to be heard.
On December 2, 2015, proceedings began for the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff, coinciding with a plunge in her popularity in face of the economic crisis that plagued the country and the political problems she had been grappling with since her re-election. ThenLower House speaker Eduardo Cunha accepted a petition against the President from a pool of conservative legal experts who claimed she had committed a crime of responsibility, breaching Budget Law by putting off cash transfers from government to government-run banks, in what came to be known as “fiscal pedaling”. Out in the streets, left-right polarization escalated. Although it was proven that previous administrations had engaged in “fiscal pedaling”, the “coxinhas” (a nickname for rightists) descended en masse on the streets clad in yellow and green. They stood next to an inflatable duck supplied by the Federation of Industries of the State of São Paulo – FIESP (a right-leaning class organization), bearing the words “nós não vamos pagar o pato” (meaning something along the lines of ‘we will not foot the bill’), as they called for the “petralhas” (as left-wingers were nicknamed) to step down from power.
In November 2015, male columnists from a number of outlets reacted to the movement on the streets and social media and gave up their space in newspapers for women to write on subjects connected with the feminist spring. Manoela Miklos, the creator of campaigns ‘Não Tem Conversa’ (No Two Ways About It) and #AgoraÉQueSãoElas, wrote on Gregório Duvivier’s column in the A Folha de S. Paulo daily, on November 5: “(…) last week, a rare cry made itself heard. Highpitched. Sweet, but furious. It was the voice of thousands of women together. Last week, the voice of the collective was feminine. A rare cry. Mine. Ours. And it was the most beautiful sound I ever heard”.10
9 Interactive website Faces of Harassment. Available at: https:// precisamosfalardoassedio.com/. Viewed on 19/08/2017. 10 Miklos, M. 2015. #AgoraÉQueSãoElas. Newspaper A Folha de S. Paulo. 02/11/2015. Available at: http://www1.folha.uol.com.br/colunas/ gregorioduvivier/2015/11/1701186-doces-e-furiosas.shtml. Viewed on: 08/08/2017.
On March 25, 2016, a group of artists and fine-arts professionals issue an open letter denouncing the National Congressâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; attempts to overrule democracy.11 The artists designed some 250 posters carrying the hashtag #artepelademocracia (#artfordemocracy) that were handed out anonymously at demonstrations to rally up support against the judicial-media coup that would come to pass in the months that followed (see section #artepelademocracia).
11 Open letter by artists and visual arts professionals in defence of democracy and the rights expressed in the Brazilian constitution. Available at: https://secure.avaaz. org/po/petition/Congresso_Nacional_e_Comissao_do_Impeachment_CARTA_DE_ ARTISTAS_E_PROFISSIONAIS_DAS_ARTES_VISUAIS_EM_DEFESA_DA_ DEMOCRACIA_1/edit?fref=gc. Viewed on: 29/08/2017.
OPEN LETTER BY ARTISTS AND VISUAL ARTS PROFESSIONALS IN DEFENCE OF DEMOCRACY AND THE RIGHTS EXPRESSED IN THE BRAZILIAN CONSTITUTION We, artists and professionals working in the field of visual arts in Brazil, hereby denounce and declare our rejection of the attempts to break the democratic order that are currently underway in the National Congress and that are articulated through a juridical media action of an unconstitutional nature. We position ourselves vehemently against political-ideological persecution, the incitement of hate, and the violation of civil rights.Â The visual arts constitute a fundamental field for the production of reflection through material, visual and performative languages capable of intervening critically within society. The undersigned, various professionals and institutions that perform activities related to the visual arts, hereby affirm the importance of the rule of law for the maintenance and expansion of the social advances achieved since the re-democratisation of our country in 1985. The dismissal, without due observance of constitutional requirements, of a government legitimately elected by the majority of the Brazilian people is unacceptable. And what is especially unacceptable is the propagation of conditions conducive to the perpetration of violence and arbitrary action against the individual liberties guaranteed by our constitution. We advocate a truly democratic political reform, as well as the combatting of corruption on a nonpartisan and non-selective basis.
On April 17, 2016, the Lower House speaker approved the pro-impeachment report and authorized the Federal Senate to try the President for crimes of responsibility. In the heated debate that ensued in the House, deputy Jair Bolsonaro, a strong right-wing hopeful for the 2018 presidential elections, went so far as to praise the 1964 military coup-mongers and dedicated his vote to colonel Carlos Alberto Brilhante Ustra, who had violently tortured Rousseff while the dictatorship regime was in effect. On May 5, 2016, after a bevy of charges, House speaker Eduardo Cunha was ordered suspended from his term as a federal deputy, and consequently from his position as speaker, on grounds of strong evidence of his involvement in crimes being investigated under OperaĂ§ĂŁo Lava Jato (Operation Car Wash). On May 12, the Senate voted for the launch of an impeachment process against President Dilma Rousseff. That same day, the President was notified that she would be removed from office for up to 180 days while the trial took place in Senate. Late in the afternoon on the 12th, Vice President Michel Temer takes office as Interim President and swears in his new ministers. Out of 23 of Temerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s appointees for the upper echelon of federal government, there were no women or blacks. All were male, white, heterosexual, and for the most part rich. Seven were currently under indictment for involvement in corruption schemes. Five hours after the inauguration, the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Communication and the Ministry of Human Rights, Women and Racial Equality were declared extinct. Moreover, propositions for controversial, conservative-leaning structural reforms were announced, spanning high school teaching, labor laws, the political system, the tax system and social security, as well as the freezing of budget spending for 20 years, severely compromising social policies. The Comptroller General of the Union, tasked with supervising corruption in government branches, is stripped of its independence and becomes more closely subordinated to the government.
Image of the work Tractatus by courtesy of the artist Clara Ianni.
Tractatus, 2016, Clara Ianni, 23 prints on paper. The piece is a visual analysis of the swearing-in of the 23 ministers in Michel Temerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s interim administration. Using stills from the eventâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s live broadcast, the artist selected the moments in which each minister signed in, associating the pictures with a color palette matching their skin tones.
The week after Michel Temer’s inauguration as interim president, in protestation of the coup underway and the shutting down of the Ministry of Culture, artists, members of culture collectives and militants occupied the headquarters of the National Foundation for the Arts - Funarte12 in the main capitals across the country. The movement occupied facilities in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte, Curitiba, Recife, Fortaleza, Salvador, Natal and João Pessoa. In some cities, like São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Curitiba, the artists’ occupations lasted over two months. During that period, as a form of resistance, several actions were held in connection with political debate, such as lectures, conversations, concerts, theater plays and exhibitions. Occupy and Resist became the motto of the day. Within the Funarte, other groups came together to address political discussions. In different ways, individuals experimented with and suggested other forms of coexistence and affection as a form of protest. A group of artists created a collective called Aparelhamento (Entryism) in a bid to spur debate and raise funds for anti-coup, pro-democracy actions. The initiative, which included a Manifesto13, comprised over 150 artists who pledged to create artworks for an auction whose proceeds would fund actions to protest the Temer administration. Another organization created within Funarte was A Ocupação Preta (The Black Occupation), focusing on the demands of the black community, which in turn gave rise to Grupo de Articulação de Políticas Pretas (Gapp, the Group for Articulating Black Policies), comprising black artists and activists, and addressing discussions of structural racism as a foundational element of Brazilian society. On May 23, 2016, audio was released of a conversation involving Minister of Planning Romero Jucá and former Transpetro14 chairman Sérgio Machado, revealing a plot by politicians to elude Federal Police investigations. In the conversation, Jucá implies that the inauguration of a new president must lead to a pact to “stem the bloodletting” that was Operação Lava jato (Operation Car Wash). By then, both of them were under investigation for alleged bribery schemes involving Petrobras.
14 Petrobras Transporte S.A. - Transpetro is the largest Brazilian natural gas gas processor. It operates in the import and export operations of oil and oil products, and ethanol.
12 Funarte is an institution to support and promote art linked to the Ministry of Culture.
13 Aparelhamento Manifestado. 2016. Manifesto published on July 11, 2016. Available at: https://www.facebook.com/coletivoaparelhamento/ posts/300885220244803 . Viewed on: 13/08/2017.
Image of the work Pictures with and without bribes by courtesy of the artist Traplev.
Retratos com e sem propina (Pictures with and without bribes); 2016; Traplev; portrait series. The piece came in response to multiple news headlines on convicts’ plea deals that revealed bribes paid to federal government officials. The tone and editing by media outlets reveals the subliminal processes employed by media to advance its interests. That same year, the artist created “Alfabeto Fluor”15 (Fluoride Alphabet) a compilation of critical texts by several authors regarding the launch of the impeachment process against President Dilma Rousseff. The texts are marked by letters and numbers that make up a visual alphabet of the intellectual output that emerged in reaction to the State of Exception that began in Brazil.
15 Alfabeto Fluor (Fluor Alphabet). 2016. Traplev. Available at: https://traplev.hotglue.me/?alfabetofluor. Viewed on: 29/08/2017.
On August 31, 2016, after six days of heated debate in the Federal Senate trial, President Dilma Rousseff was definitively ousted from the presidential seat. That same day, Interim President Michel Temer takes office as President of Brazil.
16 Confio (I Trust). 2016. Daniel Lima. Available at: http://www.danielcflima.com/ Confio1. Viewed on: 29/08/2017.
The White Coup, 2016, Daniel Lima, Manifesto. On August 31, 2016, artist and activist Daniel Lima released The White Coup, a manifesto against the coup d’état carried out in Brazil (annex). During the Impeachment vote in Senate, Lima also produced his “Confio”16 (I Trust) interview series, documenting conversations between people with differing political views, and the rationales of those in favor of the President’s stepping down.
The photographer, writer and visual artist Paulo Fehlauer writes about the nostalgic feeling wrought by the similarity between the ongoing protests and those from the military dictatorship days:
History repeats itself first as tragedy, second as farce” said good old Marx. Dilma Rousseff ’s impeachment in 2016 had already looked like a burlesque caricature of a Paraguayan coup d’état. I wonder what went wrong in the last 33 years that made us incapable of dreaming of new slogans and writing fresh narratives. How can it be that the only possible reaction to our nation’s current state of affairs is to keep playing these old, wrinkled cassettes over and over again? (see Paulo Fehlauer text)
Image of the work White Coup, by courtesy of the artist Daniel Lima.
In the streets, the demonstrations went on. Concerts by musicians who supported the movement were organized by the civil society to build momentum for the protests. The crowds called for direct elections.
Image of the work White Coup, by courtesy of the artist Daniel Lima.
“In the night of October 30, the mayoral runoff election votes were counted – a massive defeat for the left, the rise of a right whose destructive power is still unknown. Had I been home I would have woken up depressed, but I didn’t sleep that night, and I watched the day begin with a multitude of arms and legs working ceaselessly, whole families cleaning up that ruinous space and already building, as they would do in the weeks that followed, what will one day be a possible home”. (See Julián Fuks text)
17 The Cambridge Artist Residency Website. Available at: http://cargocollective.com/ rescambridge/A-Residencia-Artistica-Cambridge. Viewed on: 13/08/2017.
do 18 Julián Fuks. 2016. A noite da ocupação por sem-teto de um prédio abandona em São Paulo. Newspaper A Folha de S. Paulo. Published in 18/12/2016. Available at: http://www1.folha.uol.com.br/ilustrissima/2016/12/1841865-longa-jornadade-uma-luta-noite-adentro-no-centro-de-sp.shtml. Viewed on: 29/08/2017.
The artists Jaime Lauriano, Raphael Escobar, Virgínia de Medeiros and the Jornalistas Livres collective gathered moments before the October 2016 occupations to devise strategies to support the FLM. (Photo Juliana Caffé)
Throughout 2016, an experimental art project was carried out in one of the Occupations of the Struggle for Housing Front: the Cambridge Artist Residency.17 In one of the many interactions involved, the artists and project members – Icaro Lira, Jaime Lauriano, Raphael Escobar, Virgínia de Medeiros and the writer Julián Fuks – joined the movement’s militants for the Red October. The shift in media portrayal of the Occupations once artists grew involved was one of the developments observed as the project progressed as pertains to the intersection of art, politics and the city. Julián Fuks wrote about the night the occupations began, and his text was carried by newspaper A Folha de S. Paulo18:
On October 2, 2016, the right-wing candidate in local elections in São Paulo, the entrepreneur João Dória, beats center-left candidate Fernando Haddad of PT in the first round. On the 30th of that same month, the date that a runoff vote would take place had it been needed, Frente de Luta por Moradia – FLM (the Struggle for Housing Front), a social collective composed of representatives from standalone movements that struggle for the right to adequate housing, comes together to occupy abandoned buildings in the city of São Paulo, looking to allocate them to people in need. The choice of date was not random: according to the movement’s leaders, it was an affirmation that the fight goes on and that they would not give in to the winning mayor’s announced hardline policy regarding the champions of social causes.
On October 19, 2016, Eduardo Cunha was arrested by Federal Police for crimes of corruption, money laundering and money smuggling. On December 5, 2016, Renan Calheiros was suspended from the presidency of the Senate. This came after the senator became a defendant in an embezzlement case. Apart from this, Renan Calheiros was the subject of 12 other inquiries at the Federal Supreme Court, eight of them in connection with Operação Lava Jato (Operation Car Wash). Although he was suspended from the presidency of Senate, Calheiros remained in position as a Senator. On December 13, 2016, another step was taken towards a conservative agenda with the approval of Draft Constitutional Amendment # 55/2016, put forward by the Michel Temer administration to balance out government finances through a stringent spending control mechanism. The opposition believes the move will prevent government investment, cause recession to worsen and damage especially the poorest by taking away funds from fields such as education, healthcare and social security. It’s an agenda designed to make the State leaner and roll out a neoliberal right-wing program. Indices from Datafolha (a research institute affiliated with newspaper A Folha de S. Paulo) showed that by that time Michel Temer was disapproved of by 63% of Brazilians, which made him the most unpopular president in the history of Brazil. This unpopularity would increase in months to follow.19 In the first fifteen days of 2017, 133 inmates are killed in prison riots across the country, exceeding the 111 death toll of the infamous 1992 Carandiru Prison Massacre. This exposed the fragility of the national penitentiary system and drew attention to the war between criminal factions inside prisons. In the following weeks, the war spilled over to the streets in an unprecedented wave of violence. On January 20, 2017, Federal Supreme Court Justice Teori Zavascki, the rapporteur of Operação Lava Jato (Operation Car Wash), died in a twin-engine plane crash in Paraty, Rio de Janeiro. Zavascki was known for his thorough, discreet approach to the case. The Justice dies only weeks before he lifted secrecy on close to 1,000 depositions in a plea deal involving engineering company Odebrecht, the Attorney General and Federal Police. The son of the deceased Justice vented on social media: “I cannot help but think my father was ordered killed”.
19 Search Datafolha published in 12/12/2016. Available in: http://www1.folha. uol.com.br/poder/2016/12/1840540-marina-silva-lidera-disputa-de-2-turnopara-2018.shtml. Viewed on: 30/08/2017.
February 16, 2017 saw the sanctioning of a high school reform hurriedly made public by president Michel Temer in September 2016, rejected by much of the population and by national educational leaders. On May 17, 2017, as part of their plea bargain with the Attorney General, meat packing company JBS owners Joesley and Wesley Batista produced an audio recording of president Michel Temer encouraging them to keep buying the silence of suspended deputy and former Lower House speaker Eduardo Cunha and Lúcio Funaro, purported to be an operative of the former: “you must keep it going, do you hear?”, in an unequivocal allusion to connivance. The plea deal also included audio of senator Aécio Neves asking one of the company owners for BRL 2 million in cash. The Federal Police captured footage of the senator’s cousin carrying briefcases filled with cash.
Image of the work Scammers, by courtesy of the collective O Nome do Boi.
Golpistas (Scammers), 2017, O Nome do Boi. O Nome do Boi (The Oxâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Name) is a network of artists from across Brazil who came together in 2016 to respond to the political crisis in the country. In August 2017, after being invited to join the 2nd edition of the Sorocaba Art Triennial â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Frestas, they created a number of artworks and actions addressing the latest developments involving the Brazilian government. In Golpistas (Scammers), characters and sentences relating to the unfolding political events are exposed in a counter-narrative that denounces those involved and evidences the motivations behind the power play.
On May 18, 2017, senator Aécio Neves was suspended from office, and his sister and cousin were ordered arrested for taking part in a corruption scheme. On May 21, São Paulo mayor João Doria launched a social cleansing program in the downtown area of Campos Elíseos, aka Cracolândia (Crackland), where scores of drug users converge. The area has been an object of study by public health specialists for decades now, and over the past few years, although different administrations came and went with their policies, the situation had been improving through damage reduction and social reinsertion programs. João Doria backtracks after years of discussions as he arrests and commits low-income chemical dependents in a violent, authoritarian way and tears down establishments under the pretense of declaring Cracolândia an area of public interest and allowing properties to be expropriated so state equipment can be put in place.
Still of the video Culture, by courtesy of the artist Raphael Escobar.
In late 2016, the A Craco Resiste20 collective was created, in a bid to oppose police violence in CracolĂ˘ndia. Through dialogue with militants and drug users in the area and by carrying out leisure and culture activities on a daily basis, the group started holding vigils there. Through films screenings and musical performances, A Craco Resiste not only makes its present felt and denounces state-sponsored violence in the area, it also invites other demographics to coexist in the place, thereby building a network to support the cause.
20 Blog of A Craco Resiste collective. Available in: https://medium.com/@cracoresiste. Viewed on: 29/08/2017.
Photo of the work Care Strategy, by courtesy of the artist Raphael Escobar.
Estratégia de Cuidado (Care Strategy), 2017, Raphael Escobar. A member of the A Craco Resiste collective, Escobar created this piece for the show “São Paulo Não é Uma Cidade Invenções do Centro” (São Paulo Is Not a City - Inventions from Downtown), curated by Paulo Herkenhoff and Leno Veras for the opening of venue Sesc 24 de Maio. The action entails the distribution of 400 copper pipes with silicone mouthpieces to crack users in the Cracolândia area between August 2017 and January 2018. In caring for the health of the chemical dependents who frequent the area, Escobar subverts the violent logic with which the State has been addressing the issue of drug use.
On June 26, 2017, Attorney General Rodrigo Janot filed passive corruption charges in the Federal Supreme Court against president Michel Temer. On June 30, Supreme Court Justice Marco Aurélio Mello surprisingly revoked Aécio Neves’ suspension, and the latter resumed his usual activities in the Senate. According to the minister, whose decision once again cast doubt upon the impartiality of the judiciary, the senator’s reinstatement is justified because he is a “natural-born Brazilian, the head of his household, with a commendable political career”.21 On the 11th of July, the month Michel Temer’s popularity fell to an all-time low with approval from only 7% of the population22, the Senate approves the draft labor reform submitted by government and rejected by the majority of Brazil’s population. The vote happened in a hurry, as congressmen were more concerned with the government’s political maneuvering than with discussing such an important matter to the people of Brazil, and therefore they bypassed the principle of due democratic process. The reform revoked virtually all of Brazil’s labor laws, which had been in effect for almost 80 years, making conditions worse for the national labor force. Aécio Neves attended the session and voted for the reform. In the early morning of July 19, the year’s coldest, homeless people on Praça da Sé, the downtown square that’s the birthplace of São Paulo, were woken from their sleep by water spraying from hoses manned by city teams – who also removed tents and left clothes and blankets soaking. The cleaning action performed routinely by the João Doria administration is part of his social cleansing policy. That same day, the Attorney General announced that Michel Temer had issued an order that the federal administration must support the agribusiness lobby in Congress concerning Indian land demarcations. This should bring 748 proceedings underway in the country to a halt, in another example of a political reckoning that bypasses discussions regarding basic social rights. 21 Information published by the newspaper A Folha de S. Paulo on 06/30/2017. Available at: http://www1.folha.uol.com.br/poder/2017/06/1897359-ministro-dostf-devolve-mandato-de-aecio-no-senado-e-nega-prisao-do-senador.shtml. Viewed on: 30/08/2017.
22 Research Datafolha published in 24/06/2017. Available at: http://www1.folha.u ol. com.br/poder/2017/06/1895645-aprovacao-da-gestao-temer-cai-a-7-menor-em-2 8anos.shtml. Viewed on: 30/08/2017.
Stills from the piece “Sem fé, sem lei, sem rei”23 (No faith, no law, no king), released in 2016 by artist Fábio Tremonte. The artwork consists of a publication created for an intervention by the group “História em display [ou Contra-história]” at cultural association “Fórum Permanente”. The research done by the artist from 2014 to 2016 addresses the cause of Brazilian Indians, questioning the way in which the writing and musealization of history tends to legitimize some ideological forms of political and cultural domination. 23 Sem fé, sem lei, sem rei. 2016. Fábio Tremonte. Available at: https://issuu.com/ fabiotremonte/docs/sem_f___sem_lei_sem_rei. Viewed on: 29/08/2017.
Image of the work No faith, no law, no king, by courtesy of the artist FĂĄbio Tremonte.
On August 3, 2017, the Lower House prevents Michel Temer from being tried for passive corruption by the Federal Supreme Court. Ever since the Attorney General filed charges, Temer kept himself busy negotiating with deputies to secure his Lower House victory. The day after the vote, Temer retaliated by firing from office people appointed by ally deputies who had voted against him. Opposition deputies are about to press charges against Temer for obstruction of justice by vote-buying in the Lower Houseâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Constitution and Justice Commission, seeing as the president overtly replaced representatives who were leaning towards voting for the acceptance of the charges against him.
How to remain silent? How to remain silent?
Ailton Krenak Amílcar Patel Alaor Caffé Berna Reale Clara Ianni Daniel Lima Fabio Tremonte Francis Burger Frente 3 de Fevereiro Gabriel Blum Gian Spina Graziela Kunsch Jaime Lauriano Jonathas de Andrade Josh Ginsburg Julián Fuks Juliana Costa Julio Yasbek Junae Andreazza Leo Praça Clarissa Ximenes Lia Chaia Luiz de Abreu Mara Caffé Marcos Gallon Maurício Ianês
Neide Jallageas Nancy Dantas O Nome do Boi Pamella Dlungwana Paulo Bruscky Paulo Fehlauer Peter Pal Pelbart Raphael Escobar Roberto Winter Rodrigo Braga Renata de Bonis Ricardo Mesquita Ruy Luduvice Sara Gouvela Sato do Brasil Tchelo Traplev Virgínia de Medeiros A4 Arts Foundation Associação Cultural Videobrasil Galeria Jaqueline Martins Galeria Nara Roesler Galeria Vermelho
How to remain silent? 2017 Curator and Editor Juliana CaffĂŠ Graphic Design Francis Burger Production A4 Arts Foundation Translation Gabriel Blum published by
A4 ARTS FOUNDATION 23 Buitenkant Str District Six Cape Town 8001
Published in conjunction with the exhibition, How To Remain Silent? at A4 24.10.17 - 10.11.17
niamer ot woH
#caminantesato All the images appear by courtesy of the artist Sato do Brasil. Sato do Brasil (Rio de Janeiro, Brasil, 1968)
Sato do Brasil is a multimedia artist who lives and works in the city of São Paulo. Member of the collective Casadalapa, Frente 3 de Fevereiro, Free Journalists and Occupy the Media, his work integrates diverse environments, from theater, journalism and cinema to the visual arts. In recent years, his artistic process has been developing in parallel with his practice as a wanderer, his passion for cities and his political militancy, mainly using cell phones and social networks as a work tool. His walks and his interest in collective and public issues make his presence practically unanimous in the political manifestations, mainly of São Paulo, so that his work has been composing a bountiful record, alive and unique on the answers of the streets to the troubled Brazilian moment. #caminantesato is the meeting of some of the images taken by the artist with the camera of the cell phone in the various demonstrations that have taken place in Brazil, especially in São Paulo and Brasília, since 2014.
do BRASIL A LIBERDADE É A MAIOR DIGNIDADE DO SER HUMANO E A NOSSA ATITUDE POLÍTICA É MAIS IMPORTANTE QUE A DOS DERROTADOS. VAMOS À LUTA E OLHO NELES. NÃO À TENTATIVA DE GOLPE. Paulo Bruscky 2016 #ArtePelaDemocracia
All images courtesy of the artists
#a rt ep
do BRASIL A LIBERDADE É A MAIOR DIGNIDADE DO SER HUMANO E A NOSSA ATITUDE POLÍTICA É MAIS IMPORTANTE QUE A DOS DERROTADOS. VAMOS À LUTA E OLHO NELES. NÃO À TENTATIVA DE GOLPE. Paulo Bruscky 2016 #ArtePelaDemocracia
1 2 3
we are zumbi 4 5 6
minorities and gentrification
f i lms 7 8 9
narratives of power
10 11 12 13
14 15 16
we are zumbi 1
Frente 3 de Fevereiro Zumbi Somos Nós (We Are Zumbi), 2007, documentary, 51’25” Courtesy of the artist
Zumbi Somos Nós is a documentary by the collective Frente 3 de Fevereiro. The São
Paulo-based transdisciplinary research and direct action group is known for its militancy against racism in Brazilian society and for performing art interventions in mass media outlets. This 2007 documentary is an audiovisual collage of fragments from news coverage on two controversial cases of violence against black men that occurred at the time and excerpts from interventions made by the group in football stadiums. The footage includes scenes from the documentary itself being released at a concert featuring Afro-Brazilian rhythms. By regrouping narratives aired separately on the media and making their voice heard through interventions in nationwide coverage of events, the collective explores the figure of blacks in the collective social imaginary as it challenges the notion of Brazil as a multi-colored country.
Luiz de Abreu (Minas Gerais, Brazil, 1963) Samba do Crioulo Doido 2013, video performance, 9’36” Courtesy of the artist & Associação Cultural Videobrasil
Samba do Crioulo Doido is the video recording of the namesake performance staged by dancer and performer Luiz de Abreu at the 18th Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil. For the artist, whose work investigates his own personal issues, identity and dance go together. What does it mean to be black in Brazil? In Samba do Crioulo Doido, De Abreu starts with that question to explore a number of clichés associated with black people in the country, such as samba, carnival and eroticism. The performance relies on role-playing, dance and music to reflect on racial discrimination and question the identity that has been built around black bodies.
Jonathas de Andrade (Alagoas, Brazil, 1982) O Caseiro (The Housekeeper), 2016, video, 8’ Courtesy Galeria Vermelho, São Paulo
Jonathas de Andrade’s art practice deals with sociocultural issues, in mediums such as installation, actions, photography and film. Historical and political critique, the world of labor and the identity of the contemporary subject are central to the artist’s research. In O Caseiro, he draws a parallel between the lives of two people who resided in the same house at different times: excerpts from the 1959 film “The Master of Apipucos”, by Joaquim Pedro de Andrade, depict the life of Gilberto Freyre – the Brazilian sociologist, historian and essayist known for his book “Casa Grande & Senzala” (The Masters and the Slaves), in which he put forth important reflections on the role of slavery and patriarchy in Brazil’s social and political formation. On the other hand, the piece features 2016 footage of caretaker who lives in the house today. The split-screen parallel highlights the contrast of class and race issues in Brazil, prompting reflection on Freyre’s ideas and historical figure.
Ailton Krenak (Minas Gerais, Brazil, 1953) Defense of the People’s Amendment of the Union of Indigenous Nations at the 1987 National Constituent Assembly1 The National Constituent Assembly of 1987 was launched in the National Congress to draft a democratic Constitution for Brazil after 21 years of military rule. The Indians made their presence felt at the Constituent Assembly, eternalized in the historic address of the writer, environmentalist and indigenous leader Ailton Krenak, delivered in defense of the People’s Amendment of the Union of Indigenous Nations. His speech was decisive for the approval of the constitutional articles that establish the rights of the Indians in the country, and was meant as a protest against the retrograde views of politicians at the time with regard to the Indians. As he spoke, Krenak painted his face with black jenipapo ink, a Brazilian Indian tradition.2 Through his action, the leader affirmed the persistence of indigenous culture as an act of resistance. Ailton Krenak, from the indigenous Krenak family, which hails from the Espírito Santo-Minas Gerais state border, founded and led several organizations and movements that were crucial for the cause and is considered one of the greatest leaders of the Brazilian indigenous movement. 1. Source: The video available on Vimeo is part of the trailer of the movie Índio Cidadão? (Citizen Indian?). Available at: https:// vimeo.com/110767245. Accessed on 12/09/2017. 2. Jenipapo is the fruit of the Jenipapeiro, a tree native to tropical America. In Guarani (one of the major indigenous ethnicities of the Americas), Jenipapo means "fruit that is used to paint" and is employed by many ethnicities in South America for body painting.
minorities and gentrification 5
Raphael Escobar (São Paulo, Brazil, 1987) Cultura [Culture], 2017, video, 5’03” Courtesy of the artist
Raphael Escobar works on several fronts in conflict zones in the city of São Paulo. His art production is enmeshed with his work as a militant and educator. His artworks appropriate the urban language, its signs and mechanisms of operation to subvert the relations established in those fields by either reversing their logic or evidencing symptomatic aspects of their existence. Cultura features footage of a carnival parade in the downtown São Paulo area known as Cracolândia, long known for heavy drug trafficking and use. The site has been under study by public health experts for decades as administrations and their policies come and go. The repeated crackdowns, allegedly because this is a public utility area and because real estate must be expropriated in order for public equipment to be put in place, are really an excuse for social cleansing actions targeting the low-income population. The video shows carnival group ‘Blocolândia’, organized by Cracolândia frequenters, as it parades down the area’s streets. Escobar’s aerial shots highlight the gentrifying agents that fight to change the local social reality, most of which are cultural institutions. The joy of the paraders deconstructs the clichés and stereotypes that stigmatize the region, and the power play that Escobar superimposes upon the carnival footage reveals the atmosphere of political resistance and struggle that permeates the place.
Virginia de Medeiros (Bahia, Brazil, 1973) Cais do Corpo [Wharf of the Body], video, 7â&#x20AC;&#x2122;03â&#x20AC;?, 2015 Courtesy of the artist and Galeria Nara Roesler
In her practice, which mainly involves the use of video and installation, Virginia de Medeiros uses audiovisual strategies to investigate largely invisible universes within society. Through immersion in these marginal spaces and interaction with its characters, the artist composes her work as a place of encounter affected by the subjectivity of its individuals. In 2011, the Rio de Janeiro government partnered up with private players for a waterfront revitalization plan, the notorious Porto Maravilha Project. Cais do Corpo plays like a depiction of the final days of the world of prostitution that thrived in the region since the 1930s. The piece reveals the body and work of prostitutes as a place of eroticism and resistance while criticizing gentrification processes in Brazil that do not take into account the social inclusion of affected communities and minorities.
narratives of power
Clara Ianni (São Paulo, Brazil, 1987) Forma Livre [Free Form], 2013, video, 7’14”
Courtesy Galeria Vermelho, São Paulo
Working with media including video, sculpture, installation and text, Clara Ianni explores the relationship between art, politics, ideology and their historical implications. In 1959, the Brazilian capital Brasilia was under construction, designed to symbolize the country's modernization and development. Despite its utopian aspirations, a massacre went down during the construction of the city as police killed over 100 workers after a strike. This video, composed of sketches and photographs of the city's construction (by Marcel Gautherot), juxtaposes interviews with Lucio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer – who respectively handled urban and architectural design – as these two leading figures deny knowledge of the event. In Forma Livre, the artist contrasts plan and reality to reveal the social process of negotiations and power that involves the construction of historical narratives.
Jaime Lauriano (São Paulo, Brazil, 1985) o brasil [the brazil], 2014, video, 18’56” Courtesy of the artist and the Associação Cultural Videobrasil
Jaime Lauriano’s art practice investigates the construction of the historical narratives that compose the Brazilian State as he strives to reveal silenced portions of history, especially with regard to blacks and Afro descendants. In his o brasil video, Lauriano pulls together newspaper articles and official government propaganda dating from 1964 to 1968, during the military rule, to show how government relied on the media to spread its nationalist, coercive discourse, controlling society through fear. Thus, in analyzing media resources in times of fierce government repression, the artist highlights and questions both the power of narrative and of mass media.
Roberto Winter (SĂŁo Paulo, Brazil, 1983) A Role Play, 2017, video, 40â&#x20AC;&#x2122; Courtesy of the artist
Working primarily with installation and multimedia resources, Roberto Winter taps into narrative and fictional elements to look into aspects of global political and social conditions. Winterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s A Role Play creates a fictional Icelandic documentary to investigate a series of five videos made by a mysterious Brazilian man to confess to having killed the president of the USA. The piece ultimately deals with the intelligibility of the hegemonic modes of communication and information acquisition, their inherent vices, inadequacies and distortions, in the light of recent events, modes of action and their political horizons.
Traplev (Santa Catarina/Pernambuco, Brasil, 1977) In his artistic production, interactions with issues of economics and mathematics add to the political and administrative contexts from everyday negotiations to the public sphere and critical institutional ones. Such questions are evident in installations, objects, photographs, images and multiples, as well as in silent actions in the processes of practical insistence in the social environment. The interventions in the publication compose fragments of the artist's research about language and the way in which the media narratives compose the social political imaginary.
Lia Chaia (São Paulo, Brazil, 1978) Minhocão, 2006, video performance, 18’ (below) Aleph, 2013, video performance, 2'50'' (left) Courtesy Galeria Vermelho, São Paulo
Lia Chaia’s work explores the corporeal relationship of the subject with the city. Working with a variety of media, especially performance, she uses her own body as a research platform, questioning the world and reflecting on her experiences in São Paulo. In Aleph, the artist manipulates a crystal ball that reflects an inverted image of São Paulo. Amid the noise and vertigo-inducing distortions of the megalopolis, Chaia seems to try to balance the dissonant chaos of São Paulo, which never adds up from her perspective. The Minhocão video sees the artist regurgitate images of buildings that surround Elevado Costa e Silva, a roughly 3-km-long viaduct that connects São Paulo’s west and downtown areas. Built in 1970 and popularly known as Minhocão, this calamitous project has degraded the urban landscape. A dreamlike intervention and modification of the city by Chaia, the piece ultimately reveals her awareness of its impossibility.
Gian Spina (São Paulo, Brazil, 1984) The story of the history which points to another story, 2013, video, 1’17” Courtesy of the artist
Gian Spina has developed an artistic and theoretical research based investigation framing the construction of narratives and the representations of history and memory, using primarily medias as video, action art, installation and his activity as a writer and poet. The story of the history which points to another story documents an outlaw political action performed in downtown São Paulo, 2013. Brazil has been a secular state since 1890, but several Catholic monuments throughout the country show that the adjective is really just an abstraction. The monument attacked here, which stands on the facade of a public school, is a nod to the tragic history of catechesis of native South Americans. In this piece, Spina evidences the interplay of power relations in the construction of historical narratives, subverting representations of memory in public spaces and questioning what are the consequences in the social imaginary.
Graziela Kunsch (São Paulo, Brazil, 1979)
Escolas [Schools], 2016, video, 4’13” Courtesy of the artist and the Associação Cultural Videobrasil Graziela Kuncsh is an artist, critic and curator. Her art productions intersect with her practice as a militant and educator, in pieces that mostly question, denounce or involve political and social actions. In 2015, a student uprising occupied over 200 public schools in São Paulo to protest the state government’s decision to shut down several educational institutions. Escolas features a sequence of 26 filmed photographs of the occupations and protests, in takes lasting 8 seconds each, as students turned buildings neglected by the state into spaces of powerful, dynamic interaction. While the educational system turns people into objects, here the school chairs are humanized as subjects with specific intentions. When students appear in the pictures, they are doing things other than sitting in classrooms. * The images that make up the video were made by the artist in occupied schools in São Paulo in November and December 2015 alongside photographs downloaded from the internet, published without author credits. These images were on the Facebook pages of the self-called Struggle Schools or Occupations E.E. Ana Rosa, Dica (E.E. Emiliano Cavalcanti), E.E. Fernão Dias Paes, E.E. João Kopke, Mazé (E.E. Maria José), E.E. Rachid Jabur, E.E. Salvador Allende and/or on the page of collective O Mal Educado.
April 28, 2016
Everything that changes with the secundarista students1 Peter Pál Pelbart I salute the secundarista students (the Brazilian equivalent of high school) in here, the teachers, the staff, the students’ parents, friends and sympathizers with this glorious movement. I’d like to thank you for the opportunity to speak at a school that I went to for seven years, at a time when public schools still commanded much respect and credibility, a school that recently staged one of the most groundbreaking, combative moments in the genesis of the movement. The occupation of over 200 schools late last year by secundarista students in São Paulo to protest a public-school reorganization plan by governor Alckmin’s administration will go down in history as one of the boldest collective gestures in recent Brazilian history. I can safely say that this movement pulled the lid off political imagination in our country. The courage and intelligence that this struggle was approached with, the democratic, self-managing way in which it was carried on, the forms of mobilization and communication that were invented here, the way in which dialogue and connections were made with the different forces in civil society, the self-sustaining character that was displayed along the way are worthy of our utmost admiration and applause. But even more so, this was a true lesson in ethics and politics to all of us. If our politicians were to learn one percent of what has been taught here, our country would be different. As people used to say then, while kids behaved like true politicians, politicians behaved like kids. There’s a lot to consider about this reversal, and we are far from having learned all its lessons and consequences. It is one thing to praise the maturity, the responsibility, the internal organization, the prudence that gave no space to the villainy of the media, which did everything to look for signs of mischief, orgies or drugs in order to criminalize the movement. Although the caution was effective, it wasn’t the most important aspect in my eyes. Running parallel to the trite, degraded theater of institutional representation, you introduced a new political choreography, ushering in an atmosphere of great freshness, an unusual collective affection, a dynamic of proliferation and contagion, an unprecedented way of manifesting the power of multitude that prolonged the best that happened in 2013, never allowing yourselves to be captured by the worst that happened there. Notwithstanding the movement’s actual outcome, it was a moment when political imagination became unlocked. Political imagination is not a dreamy realm disconnected from reality; on the contrary, it’s precisely the ability to connect with the real forces that are present in a situation – not only the forces of the surroundings, but also the forces within yourselves. The occupations triggered an unpredictable process whose character, at once disruptive and formative, left everyone flabbergasted. Analyzing what took place is not up to me; it’s up to those who informed the movement and expanded it one-on-one, from dayto-day, through physical confrontation, through ethical antagonism, through collective intelligence. But I can say, from an outside perspective, that you disrupted the continuity of political time. This means that there was a shift in social perception and collective sensibility in the city of São Paulo. This is what’s difficult about a disruption: it cannot be interpreted only through the categories that were in existence before it, categories which this very disruption is about to put in check. The best way to smother an “event” of this sort is to reinsert it into the causal chain of events, reducing it to the myriad factors that might explain and thoroughly cover it, instead of unwinding what it carries within it, albeit stutteringly or embryonically, that is new, inaugural, foundational. In the eyes of our political leaders, the resistance from high-school students was nothing but a passing reaction, a nuisance to be dealt with quickly, juvenile insanity. But suddenly the equation got reversed – insanity was what appeared before everyone’s eyes: the deaf arrogance of the secretary of Education in the face of the barbarically fascist military police, protected by the Secretary of Security, who came upon the bodies of children and youths in an inacceptable way, in the schools or outside them.
I would like to insist upon such an important aspect as I see it: an event like the one from last year, with its parade of authoritarianism, violence, abuse, but also of mobilization, initiative, affirmation, represented a sudden disruption in social perception regarding teaching, the school, the police, the State, power, desire. This disruption, this turnaround and its effects mean this: what was hitherto commonplace and trivial suddenly becomes intolerable. For example: if until then it seemed natural that decisions regarding schools were up to the bureaucrates leaders, in their offices, suddenly this seems like an intolerable aberration. The commoditization of education, the power relationships in the schools, the panoptical discipline, the age-worn ways of teaching, learning, testing, and even the very goals of schools… At the same time, and on the other hand, what seemed unimaginable until yesterday (for students to be able to occupy and manage the spaces allocated to them, not only to claim, advance and increase their rights, but also to experience the strength of a collective, self-managed movement, its numerous, unexpected possibilities) becomes not just feasible, but desirable. Now, people no longer tolerate what they used to, and they desire what was once unthinkable. This means that the boundary between the intolerable and the desirable has moved – and although no one knows how or why, everything seems to have changed: no one accepts any longer what once seemed inevitable (the discipline-oriented school, the arbitrary hierarchy, the degradation of teaching conditions), and everyone demands what once seemed unimaginable (the reversal of priorities between the public and the private, the primacy of students’ voices, the possibility to envision different schools, different teaching, a different youth, and even a different society!). An event in the true sense of the word, like the one produced in the heart of this movement, divides time into before and after. There’s no turning back – something irreversible has moved in the bodies, emotions and imaginations of students, but also of their parents, the teachers, their families, the community, the city. And what happened becomes like a guiding light, incandescent, indelible, an inevitable landmark – one can no longer pretend that nothing happened, that one can avoid it, that one can go back to the subservience or the passivity of the past. And this is because what was experienced was too strong, too intense, too vital. It was more than an experience, it was a collective micro and macropolitical experiment that opened up a vista of possibilities, and therefore can be resumed any moment. It can be prolonged, enlarged, transposed, and indeed it is contaminating other States within Brazil, in various ways. Godard used to say children are political prisoners. Nothing could be truer. And I don’t mean only in the hands of the families, the schools, the psychologists, the psychiatrists, the pedagogues, the media, the market, the electronic games designed for them, etc.… The moment that the prison’s arbitrariness is revealed and its legitimacy is challenged, its strength and frailty, its weight and vulnerability show, and it becomes evident that much of its efficacy resides in fear and intimidation. The same can be said of secundarista students: the moment they realize they’re at the mercy of various state-run organizations tasked with deciding their fate with a simple stroke of a pen and how this unchecked power intends to decide their daily lives, that’s the moment that everything changes, because they are no longer helpless; they sense how intolerable the situation is, and cannot help but confront it, to actively and passively resist, to take to the streets, breaching with great daring the media blockade, the military blockade, the legal blockade, the blockade of fear or intimidation. Maybe we can all say the same today, at this gravest of moments as we witness the dreadful rise of fascism. Maybe we are all political prisoners under a state of exception, as a mammoth collusion of all kinds of scum turns the table on so-called representative democracy. More than ever, the lesson you taught is of paramount importance. Because one must reach far beyond the categories still amenable to manipulation by political discourse, or even measurable by planners and economists, and redesign the gamut of life’s possibilities. Let us dare ask: what if this endeavor came to involve the whole of society? While we occasionally get the sense that everyone wants the same things – money, comfort, safety, climbing the social ladder, prestige, pleasure, happiness – sometimes it becomes clear that this is a misleading mirage, spread by the media and advertising culture, by a supposed capitalistic consensus that camouflages forms of life in struggle – and not only classes in struggle, with all their segmentation and cursed heritage of slavery, racism, elitism etc., but also conflicts between colliding modes of existence, different ways of life in overt combat, plural yearnings. It’s easy to see that majority-oriented life models, like the middle class standard touted as a political, economic and cultural imperative, with its rampant consumption habits and imposed upon the entire planet – decimates “smaller,” minority forms of life, which are not only more fragile, precarious and vulnerable, but also more hesitant, dissident, whether they are traditional – like the quilombo dwellers or native Indians – or, on the contrary, still fledgling, tentative, or even experimental, like the one you have staged. It’s not easy to deny the prevalence of a certain generic lifestyle, as well as the mode of valuation that underpins it – for instance, the theology of prosperity, which is not circumscribed to Pentecostal churches, and is seeping in everywhere. How can one run against the grain of this hegemony to reveal the multiple forms that resist, reinvent or even forge themselves as they oppose the predominance of a market-based system modulated by effective, subtly or overtly despotic monitoring and control mechanisms?
This grows much worse in our scenario, in face of this coup involving the parliament, the financial system, the media, the justice system, the police and religion, which caused to surface all our archaism of longing for slavery to return, coupled with a dangerous manipulation of faith, joining hands with precise economic interests, and donning a mask of legality and self-glorified modernity. Yes, we’re living at a particularly cruel point in time, one where the more flexible, anonymous, undulating character of some of the mechanisms of economic and political power cannot hide the retrograde brutality on which it depends and with which it comingles violently, inflicting violence, as usual, on those who challenge this spurious alliance, criminalizing those who vehemently refuse it. So, the whole question is how to enlarge the field of politics, or to approach the political dimension of different ways of life, and the sensibilities that go with them, or to put it in even more precise terms: how to approach politics itself in the light of this question of ways of life that precedes it? Perhaps Foucault is still right: nowadays, alongside the usual struggle against domination (of one people over another, for instance) and exploitation (of one class by another, for instance) there is the struggle against prevailing forms of subjection, i.e. the submission of subjectivity. Because our time has ushered in novel modalities of servitude. And what the secundarista students taught us is that forms of resistance also reinvent themselves. The horizontality and lack of a center or a command in the occupations and demonstrations have dramatized a different geography of conflictuality. It’s hard to name such a change, and above all to make it into an actual agenda. How does one translate into proposals the new ways of exerting potency, of asserting desire, of expressing collective libido, of working around hierarchies, of spreading discourse without being left at the mercy of the logic of representation, of redesigning school, or bringing about rupture and dissent? At any rate, all signs lead to believe that the occupation of schools was not and is not simply about improving the quality of teaching or making sure respect is paid to learning spaces and to consultation and decision-making modalities, not to mention management or more elementary aspects like making sure school meals are available, but somehow this experiment caused many other things to surface. While the protests did toy with a denial of representation (no one represents us, no one can speak on our behalf, not even any of us), they may have also expressed a certain distance from the ways of life that have been brutally imposed over the past few decades, in our midst and around the planet, and which inevitably pervade the schools: boundless productivism coupled with widespread precarity, a mobilization of existence towards purposes that elude all, the capitalization of all spheres of existence — in sum, a biopolitical nihilism against which the only possible reaction is the lives of multitudes taking centerstage, in the schools, the city squares, the Legislative Assembly, the state administration body in charge of São Paulo’s Technical Schools, etc. Amid very concrete, topical, and precise demands, many other desires become expressed in the dynamic of movement itself. Demands can be met, but desire obeys a different logic – it tends toward expansion, it spreads out, contaminates, proliferates, multiplies and reinvents itself as it connects with others. We speak of a collective desire, one where people derive tremendous pleasure from collectively occupying a previously policed space, taking to the streets together, feeling the pulse of the crowd, crosspollinating the diversity of voices and bodies, genders and types, and apprehending a “commonality” that has to do with networks, social media, the productive connection between different circuits, collective intelligence, enhanced sensoriality, the certainty that school should be a society’s heart, and not its agonizing appendix, just as in 2013 some argued that transportation in São Paulo should be a common good, just as in Turkey the youth decided that Istanbul’s green Taksim square was communal, just as the water, land, the internet, information, codes, knowledge and the city all should be, and therefore any kind of privatization or enclosure in their current versions represent an attack on the conditions of contemporary production, which hinges more and more on the open sharing of all things communal. Making what is communal more and more communal – this was once called communism. A communism of desire. The expression sounds like an indecency today. But the expropriation of what’s communal by the mechanisms of power attacks and depauperates, in a capillary way, that which is the source and matter of the contemporary – life (in) common, (communal) intelligence. Maybe a different political and collective subjectivity was being tried out, in this and other movements, like the one for Parque Augusta and numerous others, and maybe we lack the categories and parameters for it. It is more insurrecting, more anonymous, more plural, movement- rather than party-oriented, more about flux than discipline, more about impulse than goals, with an unusual summoning power – but it also has the ability to organize horizontally, although this entails no guarantees. It’s hard to gauge movements like this one without the yardstick of grocery-store or soccer-match accounting. “How much did we profit,” “what was the outcome,” “what forces did it help,” “who won in the end” is what they’ll ask. One mustn’t disregard a weighing up of the forces at play, especially in a country like ours, where a sprawling conservative alliance has been calling the shots and ruling the game for centuries, despite the regimes that change or what the ballots say. In other words, one mustn’t simply trust fate; quite the opposite – one must sharpen one’s ability to tell where the lines of force are right now, to pursue the directions that will ensure that this openness remains, and to tell apart the whirlwind from the tide in the stream, to know which directions are constituent and which are simply reruns, which ones carry the risk of moving backwards.
Through all this, one mustn’t underestimate the cartographic intelligence and the psycho-political power of the secundarista students. I would say, resorting to a known formula, that one of the definitions of ethics is being up to par with what happens to us. I believe that the secundarista students’ movement was completely up to par with what happened to them, with the event that was for them to experience, and it came up with actual devices that allowed it to sustain itself, to intensify and expand. I can only hope that this conversation is part of this motion, even amid such adverse conditions that will not tend to let up any time soon. Peter Pál Pelbart is a philosopher and an essayist. He is a teacher at the Catholic Pontificale University of São Paulo. He translated books of Gilles Deleuze in Brasilian, and wrote on the relationships bewteen madness, philosophy, litterature but also on the issue of time, ether in the work of Deleuze, or its involvment in the clinical field, as well as in cinema or politics. He recently studied links between politics and subjectivity, in particular the biopolitic axis. His last book is Cartography of Exhaustion - Niilism Inside Out (n-1 publications). He is a member of Ueinzz Théâtrical Compagnie, a theatrical project with psychiatrist users in São Paulo. The group did a work of research in collaboration with Alejandra Riera, São Paulo (Investigation on the/our outside) that was presented during the Documenta XII, in Kassel. He is also co-editor of n-1publications. 1. This text was read at Fernão Dias Paes school on April 28, 2016, during a public debate on Ethics, involving students, parents, teachers and school staff.
Published on A Folha de S. Paulo daily on December 18, 2016
Looks like ruins, and it’s already
under construction Julián Fuks
Every ruin is a testament to our irrationality. The remnants of old edifices, in their expressive language made of rubble, seem to spell out our inconstancy, the impermanence of all possible advances, our unreason as we move through the years. Walking amid ruins can be an exercise as impressive as it is melancholic: in between the minute and grandiose remains, in the exhuberant syntax of debris, one easily reads the history of errors that led to the downfall, one witnesses the magnitude of our civilizational failure. I could be speaking of Egypt’s pyramids, the Greek Agora, the Roman Empire, the Incan citadels, but I don’t need to go that far. As I write, I think of a watchful stroll through the streets of downtown São Paulo, I think of dead buildings sticking out of the living city. Amid fine modernist exemplars and unsightly glass-walled towers, there are countless abandoned buildings, there is a vast cemetery of carcasses. As I walk, as I write, I can’t help but wonder: how many of the bodies I see strewn across the sidewalk, how many of the citizens leaning against those walls might find better shelter inside them, turning those ruins into their homes? None of this was discussed at the rally organized by the Housing Struggle Front on October 30, just hours before Red October came to pass: a coordinated action to occupy several vacant buildings consumed by time. There, the notions I was only beginning to intuit didn’t need expressing; they were a perfect truism. There, the experience of helplessness and irrationality was trivial for many of those present; it was the past scarred onto their skin. None of them would mention the pain of nights out on the streets, the traumatic history of forced evictions, the endless moving from one unsafe dwelling to another. In their faces, to my surprise, no dejection showed. Enthusiasm was what they conveyed with their frank smiles, their constant joking, their communal chanting: “only the dead don’t put up a fight!” In that vast space packed with bodies, in what was once the lobby of the luxurious Cambridge Hotel, now defunct for several decades, nothing about such lively people seemed bound to perish. In their eyes one saw no grieving, no trace of past tears, just the yearning for the “party” to begin. THE PARTY Three hundred people were about to take part in what so many called party, although invitations were not restricted: the movement is about inclusion, said Carmen Silva repeatedly, the movement’s not about ghettos. Urged tirelessly by the leader, three hundred people paced briskly through the street, deep night on a silent Sunday, not knowing exactly where their steps would lead them. We weren’t far from the Cambridge Hotel, no more than three blocks away, when a door on a tall wall opened up, revealing the darkest façade ever to exist in this city. Quick, quick, no time to contemplate that ominous skeleton, quick, no time to be sure whether the rush was really necessary or just for drama, we all finally stepped through that door. Right then began the newest occupation of the Front, the newest battle in the war of places. The first precaution against defeat was to build a barricade against the immediate enemy, the police, which might attempt to expel the squatters right away. For over an hour, that door was the heart of all concerns, watched over by so many militant gazes, from within and without, coveted by impatient police officers – displeased with the task assigned to them by some superior. Metaphors were useless now, as was the political rhetoric, but maybe that door was the materialization, for the shortest moment, of an entire world of social tension and class struggles. Once the entrance had been secured, it was time to understand where we were. Young Preta Ferreira took it upon herself to explain, giving an account at once objective and subjective, intimate and historical. This wasn’t just a former Social Security building, an ample set of offices topped by the garçonnières of the higher-ups; this wasn’t just any building, portentous in its 15 floors and vacant for over 20 years. What this was was the resting place of her childhood, the ground beneath her first steps, the scenery for her first dreams, still recurrent in restless nights. Preta lived there for six years when the building was first squatted. She got driven out in 2003, with the promise, never fulfilled, that that home of hers would be renovated and soon returned in the form of affordable housing. Those not tasked with either defending the territory or populating it with rumors of the past were left with another assignment: establishing themselves in its present. No more than a few minutes passed before the two main halls were filled with mattresses, so all those people with hurting feet could rest – and so the children could begin to build the dreams that they will eventually recount.
There, in whispers so as not to bother anyone, I learned the sad story of Eliana and her four children, a long string of humiliations in city shelters. There, in the dark so as not to bother those that slept, I listened to yet another anecdote of institutional abuse: the suffering of the Peruvian Demetrio Paiva, forced to take purgatives to prove he wasn’t trafficking drugs on entering Brazil. Were it not for the shame of failure, Demetrio would have gone back to Peru. Were it not for the Front, he might have ended up in the streets. LOOKS LIKE RUINS When everyone or almost everyone had gone to sleep, I set about that territory in ruins, probing the rubble for something uncertain, reflecting about the unreason of so many fates. Something’s out of order1, Caetano Veloso whispered in my ears, compounding the absurd images that unfolded before me, the many worn-out mattresses, the single shoes strewn on corners, the piles of frayed clothes, the old, forgotten utensils and objects, the misplaced remains of the world. It looks like peace, it looks like peace, Caetano emoted, perhaps referring to the silence, but that couldn’t be anything but the spoils of another battle that was lost long ago. The best part of an hour had gone by before I began to notice the writings on the walls, even surer traces of the life that hadn’t ceased in that decadent place. Now I found myself reading the lists of names on doorjambs, not looking for anyone specific, just regretting that long inventory of people made destitute by senselessness. We are all refugees, I recalled what Carmen had said, Peruvians, Haitians, Congolese or Brazilian, we are all refugees in our own land. I was just about to leave when the waning circle from my flashlight revealed something unexpected: the lines in a child’s drawing on the wall studded by the blows of so many lost years. It was a house drawn by the tiny hands of an unknown child, an oneiric house like all children’s houses, the simple outlines of a borrowed convention, mere rectangles and triangles and other polygons, and a long chimney blowing out smoke from that impossible dream. IT'S ALREADY UNDER CONSTRUCTION In the night of October 30, the mayoral runoff election votes were counted – a massive defeat for the left, the rise of a right whose destructive power is still unknown. Had I been home I would have woken up depressed, but I didn’t sleep that night, and I watched the day begin with a multitude of arms and legs working ceaselessly, whole families cleaning up that ruinous space and already building, as they would do in the weeks that followed, what will one day be a possible home. Since then, I have frequented that squat, with this text as my excuse, but really seeking asylum there whenever I wanted to feel some political solace, some hope at all. Like many, I’m a refugee in my own country. The men who rule over me do not represent me, they do not contemplate me with their backward moves to take rights away, their neglect of humane buildings, their full attention on the glass-walled towers of financial capital. To occupy, in a context of such widespread institutional abuse, seems to have become imperative. Occupying material spaces to go about reconstructing, though insufficiently so, all immaterial things we have been stripped of. Occupying different spaces, schools, institutes, vacant buildings, occupying to populate them with lives and thoughts. Occupying, maybe, simply to be there, one among many, to reclaim some unity at such a tough time. I won’t wait for the day in which all men will agree, Caetano whispers one last time, I’m just aware of many possible beautiful harmonies. Julián Fuks (b. 1981, São Paulo, Brazil) is a writer, translator and literary critic. He is the author of, among others, Resistance (Companhia das Letras, 2015), winner of the Jabuti Prize for Book of the Year, second place at the Oceanos Prize and honourable mention at the Rio Prize. In 2012, he was chosen by Granta magazine as one of the "best young Brazilian writers". At the present, he is working in the novel Occupation, mentored by the Mozambican Mia Couto, with the support of the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Programme. His works have been translated to eight languages and published in several countries.
1. Lyrics from the Caetano Veloso song Fora da ordem
Berna Reale (Pará, Brazil, 1965) Imunidade (Immunity), 2014, video, 3’30” Courtesy of the artist and Galeria Nara Roesler
Berna Reale uses the body as a tool in performance and installation work that deals with contemporary sociopolitical issues. A criminal expert at the Forensics Center of the State of Pará, the artist has focused her research on violence in Brazilian society for the past few years. In Imunidade, 500 white rats on a gondola are driven around the sewers of the city of Belém by a gondolier - the artist herself - dressed in the colors of Brazil. The video is a metaphor for the impunity of the corrupt in the country. The white rats that never wallow in the sewage are a reference to white collar crime by Brazilian authorities and politicians. The irony of the piece is topped off by the image of the gondolier, a typical Venetian character that symbolizes luxury and power.
Todas as Terras, 2017, video, 12’58” Courtesy of the artist
Artist Renata de Bonis’ work explores the time-space relationship through local elements and fragments. Her research in recent years is marked by the combination of natural materials and the relationship of their properties with the sensory imaginary of the places to which they belong. In Todas as Terras, two different angles of the Varvito Geological Park in Itu, Brazil, are presented in a diptych. The site is the most relevant geological monument in South America regarding the existence of the supercontinent known as Pangea – all continents conjoined into a single landmass. The same geological formation can also be found in Isandlwana, Zululand, South Africa, proof that about 200 million years ago the coasts of Brazil and South Africa were adjacent. The video invites reflection on the time of the world as opposed to the dilemmas of humans, on patterns of rhythm and time as elementary principles of natural and human experience, and on how a presumably static geological monument is capable of displaying information from another temporal and spatial arrangement. In the exhibition context, it is also an invitation to ponder the similarities and differences between Brazil and South Africa.
Renata de Bonis (São Paulo, Brazil, 1984)
Rodrigo Braga (Manaus, Brazil, 1976) Mentira Repetida [Repeated Lie], 2011, video performance, 5’20” Courtesy Galeria Vermelho, São Paulo Rodrigo Braga’s art revolves around the man-nature relationship. Hailing from a family of biologists, the artist combines performance and electronic media in formats ranging from large-scale projections to photographs and videos. In Mentira Repetida, the artist isolates himself in the heart of the Amazon, in one of the islands that make up the Anavilhanas fluvial archipelago, on the Negro River. Confronted with the lush local nature, Braga wraps his body in the vegetation and starts to scream. The action insinuates a sort of wrestling match between the artist and the surrounding environment. In the end, however, his movements and expression suggest the discomfort of his body, revealing his frailty.
Nothing but an old, wrinkled
It was May, 28th and clouds descended upon a chilly Copacabana beach as Milton Nascimento joined Caetano Veloso to sing “Paula e Bebeto”, a love manifesto2 they composed in 1975 (“All forms of love are worthwhile”, it says). It could have been a sublime moment, although, along with mist, there came a blow of musty air, as if from the darkness of an old wardrobe — an “old colorful garment”, as Belchior used to sing in his '76 song3. “Tell me which is the word that has never been spoken”, Veloso and Nascimento sang on stage while on the ground our words were just recycled ones — righteous but worn-out, melancholic shadows of the utopia their generation had carried on for decades. Symbolically, to be once again shouting “Diretas Já” (the 1984 slogan for Brazil’s back-to-democracy movement after 20 years of military dictatorship) sounds just as anachronistic as the words of those far-right lunatics who demand the return of a military regime. It's not just the old battle cries that strike me though, but the image of a 75-year-old Caetano Veloso singing “Alegria, Alegria”4 , or that of Milton Nascimento struggling to reach the high tones of “Coração de Estudante”5 . It’s almost like a déjà vu, as if the dreams of today were also striving to reach the same tones of '84, rebreathing the freshness of an old revolution. But that feeling has a name — nostalgia. “History repeats itself first as tragedy, second as farce” said good old Marx. Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment in 2016 had already looked like a burlesque caricature of a Paraguayan coup d’état. I wonder what went wrong in the last 33 years that made us incapable of dreaming of new slogans and writing fresh narratives. How can it be that the only possible reaction to our nation’s current state of affairs is to keep playing these old, wrinkled cassettes over and over again? It’s not about denying the past, especially as it emerges as a daunting shadow once again (and let's not merely condemn the singing of old hymns). Direct elections now, of course, that is a clear and urgent demand. But as I see myself again among the crowd, chanting the same old "um, dois, três, quatro cinco mil, queremos eleger o presidente do Brasil" [one, two, three, four, five, a thousand, we want to elect the President of Brazil], as I watch the same old banners decorated with Henfil cartoons, I realize nothing is about to change. The fact that we were unable to write new narratives after all these years represents (to me) a bitter sign of something that's a lot more critical: our incapability of nurturing new utopias (a clear symptom of which is the potential Lula 2018 presidential campaign). Devoid of utopia, the scream for “Diretas Já” becomes nothing but a hoarse bark in a foggy beach.
It was 1975 and Belchior claimed for rejuvenation (and while I translate this, the suffix -nation strikes me as a surprise). Otherwise, “we are still the same, living just like our parents", as he sings in the same song I mentioned before. In this battle of narratives we’re in, his claim has been holding up for way too long. It is 2017 and I see myself siding with Clarice Lispector6, the Brazilian writer deceased in 1977: “Coherence, I don’t want it any more. Coherence is mutilation. I want disorder.” Paulo Fehlauer (1982, Paraná, Brazil). Photographer, writer and visual artist. He holds a BA degree in journalism from ECA-USP, and a postgraduate specialization in Writer Training at the Instituto Vera Cruz. He was a photo reporter for Folha de S. Paulo newspaper and worked at the International Center of Photography and National Geographic Photocamp in New York. In 2009, he participated in the Casa da Cultura Digital Foundation; since 2008, he is a member of the Garapa Collective. 1. Originally published on my Facebook page on May, 29th, 2017. English version finished on Aug, 7th, 2017. Thanks to Alan Borger and Mauricio Diament for the attentious reading.
2. A Love Manifesto video clip available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-T-esXst0sc. 3. Old Colorful Garment video clip available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RA2PmL7hb30. 4. Alegria, Alegria video clip available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wWhnq5YcBfk.
5. Coração de Estudante video clip available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pI734oE7iUw.
w.org/ Mammals. Available at: https://www.theparisrevie 6. Clarice Lispector. Rules for Consciousness in 17 9/20 ammals/. Accessed on: 14/0 blog/2017/05/26/rules-for-consciousness-in-m
#censuranuncamais Since the beginning of September 2017, Evangelical groups and conservatives of the extreme right have attacked and or protested exhibitions such as Queermuseu - Cartografias da Diferença na Arte Brasileira (Porto Alegre, RS), 35º Panorama de arte Brasileira (São Paulo, SP) and Faça você mesmo sua Capela Sistina (Belo Horizonte, MG). These protests are usually initiated and incited by politicians and extreme right-wing or church-bound movements particularly when the exhibition presents works that exposes nudity. Demonstrators claim that nudity incites acts of paedophilia. In response to the protests the Queermuseum exhibition in Porto Alegre was closed as was the São Paulo Museum of Art (MASP) which on October 19, 2017 opened an exhibition on the history of sexuality, marking this a historic exhibition in the 70 year old museum as the first to prohibit the entry of minors under the age of 18. Members of artistic community have organized in an attempt to stop the wave of censorship that has increasingly found political and Evangelical support. The hashtags #censuranuncamais, #coleraalegria, #liberdadedemocratica and #artelivre have been used in the social media by artists from different areas in an attempt to raise awareness and defend the place of art as an area of freedom of expression and experimentation. If you have a message in support of the Brazilian art community, join the fight on Twitter and Instagram and hashtag: #censuranuncamais, #coleraalegria, #liberdadedemocratica and #artelivre
Hudinilson Jr. Pinto Não Pode, 1981, Xerox on acetate, 31,4 x 21,6 cm Courtesy of Galeria Jaqueline Martins Multimedia artist Hudinilson Jr was one of the pioneers of Xerox art in Brazil. In 1977, he began experimenting with multiple artistic expressions such as drawing, painting, mail-art, graffiti, Xerox art, performance, and urban interventions. The male human body is a recurrent theme in his oeuvre. His work "pinto não pode" (penis can not) was used by protesters against censorship at the opening of the exhibition Histories of sexuality at the Museu de Arte de São Paulo - Masp, on October 19, 2017.
Image by courtesy of the artist Renata de Bonis