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18th International Contemporary Art Festival SESC_Videobrasil

As it celebrates its 30th anniversary, the International Contemporary Art Festival SESC_Videobrasil once again places itself under the sign of change in its 18th edition, a stance which has characterized its trajectory from the 1980s until now. Dynamism and restlessness mark the commitment to being ever-attentive to contemporary issues which in different ways guide the artistic experience in contemporaneity. For that reason, the Festival reinvents itself constantly: it reconfigures, expands, and improves its modes of selection, exhibition, and reflection.

In this 18th edition, Southern Panoramas comprises not only works submitted and selected via open call, but also works made by guest artists. While the entry-based selection always brings an important element of surprise, risk, and renewal, the input of guest artists adds vigorous tensing-up relationships to the show’s curatorial construction, deeming its proposal denser. The central idea behind this new setup is to articulate a curatorial process that is guided by issues and contexts originated by the submitted works.

Following up with the movement initiated in the last edition, in 2011, Southern Panoramas will accept works in any format, language, or material via the Associação Cultural Videobrasil website. Submission of documents, portfolios, images, and videos will now be available online and, according to our policy, using an open and free web tool.

This edition highlights the importance of the open call as a clear and inclusive artist selection method based on which the conceptual starting points for the show will be defined. The work of the Curatorial Committee furthers the discussion of these criteria not only by artists and curators, but also at other institutional and political levels. We believe that this opening-up movement based on critical reflection contributes to the maturation of the Brazilian cultural system.

In addition to these relevant changes, as a sign of the maturity reached at this 30th anniversary of the Festival, Videobrasil also establishes itself as a platform for contact between the memory of its own experience and the rearticulations proposed through the themes and questionings of the present time: the Videobrasil Collection, a representative set of video art and performance works from past decades, is in the process of being digitalized and having its search engine renovated. Through this action, a surprising body of works will be better organized and more accessible for consultation, enabling appropriations and reverberations.

Thus, the Open Studio Prize, created in 2010 to comission works developed in open-dialogue processes, has been reformulated to give way to the Videobrasil em Contexto Prize, which now is held independently of the Festival. Through a partnership with London’s Delfina Foundation and São Paulo’s Casa Tomada, the Prize activates the institution’s collection, turning it into living material for research, production, and reflection, and placing it into circulation in an innovative fashion. The research efforts involved will develop into an online publication and will also be incorporated into the collection.

Alongside these changes, the Festival goes on reaffirming its territory of action by focusing on the artistic production from South America, Central America, Mexico, the Caribbean, Africa, China, the Middle East, Oceania, Eastern Europe, and South and Southeast Asia. This choice, based on values of transversality and invention, aims to chart out expanding or (re)configuring art scenes. Far from a vertical or exclusivist stance, the Festival dedicates itself to creating platforms of visibility, exchange, and strengthening of axes based on geopolitical diversity and the particular ways in which artists from certain countries and regions insert themselves critically into the art world. For such, it establishes and expands partnership and exchange networks between artists, curators, and institutions.