“There is something weird near the city square,” warned the newspaper headlines, referring to what was regarded as an unusual work of art in downtown Pelotas, southern Brazil, in 2006. Ocupação parasita, one of the many works by São Paulo-based collective BijaRi, used an unfinished building and phrases culled from the visual vocabulary of urban settings to discuss the priority assigned to the high-purchasing-power population, in detriment of the city’s democratization.
“Strange” is a mainstay in the career of the group, which, since 1996, focuses on laying bare social fissures in Brazilian cities by means of projects that take various languages in stride, from video dance to design. In one occasion, they will take a hen out to peck amidst the chaotic street trade at Largo da Batata, and then along the glamorous sidewalks facing the Iguatemi shopping mall. In another example, they will use dozens of bop bags to disrupt the routine of passersby in downtown São Paulo, asking questions about who does the beating, who gets beaten, who does the dribbling, and who gets dribbled in the city.
Presenting other ways of viewing and living everyday life, diving into the plurality typical of Brazil, and problematizing societies—those are exercises featured in artwork by BijaRi, designed to promote reflection and a critical stance with regard to the use of public space, and interactions with others. Every rule in the new world order’s book is of interest to the collective; and nothing better than taking the supposed normality of those rules to the extreme, so that the true strangeness of everyday life—tinged with injustice, hypocrisy, and voracious appetites—may surface. With the edition dedicated to BijaRi, FF>>Dossier inaugurates a new monthly series, which will continue throughout 2008, featuring artists awarded at the 16th International Electronic Art Festival SESC_Videobrasil.
Further info on this artist available at the collection