Social Status and Resistance

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posted on 08/21/2017
Third session of the partnership with Pro Helvetia features works from the Videobrasil Collection at the Mário de Andrade Library, on August 30

The third meeting of the series of events Transatlantic Relations: public moments from the curator Bruno Z’Graggen’s research in the Videobrasil Collection will take place on August 30, at 5 p.m., at the Mário de Andrade Library. The project is a partnership between Videobrasil and the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia, part of the Pro Helvetia in South America 2017–2020 exchange program, which seeks to promote cultural exchange and spark partnerships between Switzerland and South American countries.

The meetings, which are being held between July and October 2017, are organized once a month at different spaces in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

For the “Social Status and Resistance” session, Z’Graggen has selected five films from the Videobrasil Collection that address and discuss issues related to the social status of black people, racism, and resistance.

This theme will also emerge in Videobrasil’s new exhibition. Agora somos todxs negrxs? [Now Are We All Black?], opens the following day, August 31, at 7 p.m., at Galpão VB. Curated by Daniel Lima, the exhibition dwells on the intersection between the issues of race and gender, showcasing artists and works that reflect the maturing of the debate about identities and negritudes in Brazil. Works by Ayrson Heráclito will be present both in the exhibition and in the selection proposed by Bruno Z’Graggen.

See below the complete list of videos to be shown in the third Transatlantic Relationships meeting.

Barrueco (Ayrson Heráclito and Danillo Barata, 2004) (image)
On both sides of the Atlantic, people of African ancestry worship water as the site of the principal spirits. This spiritual bond becomes complicated by the onslaught of the slave trade, which inaugurates the terror of the immeasurable ocean, symbolizing the wound of separation for over nine million people. Taking its title from a Spanish word that designates imperfect pearls, molded by fortuitous currents, the work presents an array of symbolic visual elements —the amber surface of boiling dendê oil, the tragic slave ship—that together with Nina Simone’s voice and the words of Mira Albuquerque’s poem Divisor, orchestrate the pain and the oppression of bodies forever in transit.

Se o Rei Zulu já não pode andar nú (Maria Lucia Silva and Rita Moreira, 1987)
Video documentary on prejudice against black people in Brazil, featuring statements and interviews about racist episodes, and a poll on the importance of Benedita da Silva’s presence in the Constituent Assembly. Footage of the South African bishop Desmond Tutu’s visit to Rio de Janeiro, at a time when Apartheid was still in effect in his country and Nelson Mandela was in prison.

Untitled (Zimbabwean Queen of Rave) (Dan Halter, 2005)
The video intersperses footage from demonstrations in Africa and raves in the United Kingdom, to the sound of the hit song Everybody’s Free (To Feel Good), by the Zimbabwean singer Rozalla. The dynamic editing, reminiscent of 1980s British scratch videos, draws a parallel between two situations that lose their confrontational potential upon being recontextualized through media. The rave movement, once linked to a denial of the yuppie lifestyle, becomes an empty fad; the contestation of African movements seems devoid of a cause. The freedom of dancing as a manner of protesting and of protest as a dance is framed by the rectangle of television, which is made into a metaphor for a process of appropriation and emptying.

Touche pas à mon pote (Beth Formaggini, Flávio Ferreira, Henri Gervaiseau, and Solange Padilha, 1988)
An anti-racist music video for the song of the same name by singer Gilberto Gil. To illustrate the lyrics, images of racial conflicts and black leaderships such as Malcom X, Desmond Tutu and Martin Luther King.

Aristocrata clube (Aza Pinho and Jasmin Pinho, 2004)
In the 1960s, the Aristocrata Club was a haven for black families. This documentary illustrates the struggle for social insertion that the black middle class of São Paulo has faced over the years.


WHAT: “Social Status and Resistance”: films from the Videobrasil Collection
WHEN: August 30, Wednesday, at 5 p.m.
WHERE: Mário de Andrade Library (Rua da Consolação, 94, São Paulo)

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