• 18th Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil | Southern Panoramas

    18th Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil | Southern Panoramas

  • 18th Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil | Southern Panoramas

    18th Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil | Southern Panoramas

  • 18th Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil | 30 Years

    18th Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil | 30 Years

  • 17th International Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil

    17th International Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil

Created in 1983 by Solange Farkas, its chief curator ever since, the Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil has been consolidating itself over the years as a diversified and multifaceted platform focused on promoting, fostering, and reflecting on the artistic production of the Global South.

The term Global South refers to a field of research used by human sciences and arts that relates to cultural, economic and political situation of countries and territories on the fringe of hegemonic modernization. Associação Cultural Videobrasil and Sesc São Paulo take a stand in this debate by choosing to focus their attention primarily on artists hailing from the regions this discussion pertains to. Aware of the transient character of this notion, Associação Cultural Videobrasil and Sesc São Paulo steer their actions toward constantly reassessing the statute of this concept. Thus, the biennially held Festival sets out to identify, publicize and discuss emerging productions from the Southern scene, covering all art languages and media.

Selection via Open Call

Artists are selected through an open call by a committee of guest curators, a vital and democratic strategy for the Festival. The Open Call enables the building of a space for visibility, discussion and production of knowledge of the art from the countries at hand.

Videobrasil Historical Collection

The video art pieces that make the shortlist are incorporated into the Videobrasil Historical Collection, which is made up by videos featured in all past Festivals. Part of the association’s collection, the Historical Collection, is covered by Videobrasil’s policy of care and conservation, and the institution is also responsible for its promotion through activation actions.

Awards and displacement

The Festival awards cash and artistic residency prizes for artists to spend eight-week at institutions around the world that are partners of Videobrasil Residency Program. Winning artists are picked by juries composed of internationally known jurors.

The winners receive trophies created for each edition by established artists. Previous collaborators such as Carmela Gross, Erika Verzutti, Luiz Zerbini, Raquel Garbelotti, Rosângela Rennó and Tunga, among others. As part of Videobrasil’s mission, the Festival also enables the circulation of winning works, allowing broader access to them via its On Tour programs. The artworks are shown in new exhibitions held at Sesc units across the state of São Paulo, in the years subsequent to the Festival.

Diffusion and thought

The shortlisted artworks are made available by Videobrasil on online research platforms, websites, social media, documentary films and TV shows. The Festival also hosts Public Programs meetings, including debates and book launches, where artists, curators, critics, researchers, and delegates from various organizations and artist residency sponsors convene to ponder and discuss pressing issues from art and culture. Through these avenues, the Festival strives to enhance and broaden collaboration among artists, peoples and cultures, encouraging dialogue and horizontal debate to shed light on the flows of ideas and practices in the contemporary world.

The Festival’s bilingual publications comprise essays, reviews and pictures of the artworks and creative processes of the shortlisted artists, extending the organization’s efforts beyond the duration of the actual event and allowing international circulation of the featured pieces. More than merely documenting the Festival, these publications constitute an important part of the curatorial project, a key component for it to achieve its goals of spreading and discussing the issues set forth in each edition.


In its first edition, held in 1983, the Festival drew together a pioneering crop of Brazilian artists and video makers, becoming the first major effort in fostering the production and screening of works in this language. In the years that followed, the Festival kept breaking new ground by incorporating electronic art creations and configuring itself as a space for experimentation and risk-taking.

Beginning in 1992, the first year of its partnership with Sesc São Paulo, the Festival expands and affirms itself as a landmark international event, setting its geopolitical focus on countries of the Global South.

The Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil also played a key role in fostering dialogue between Southern art productions and the works of established artists from different parts of the world, having featured exhibitions by Olafur Eliasson (Denmark); Bill Viola, Gary Hill and Coco Fusco (USA); Peter Greenaway (United Kingdom); Marcel Odenbach (Germany); Akram Zaatari (Lebanon); Fabrizio Plessi (Italy); Robert Cahen (France); Eder Santos, Chelpa Ferro, Waly Salomão (Brazil), among others.

In 2011, the 17th edition of the Festival underscored new and important changes, as its open call embraced artworks in all visual arts languages, with no restrictions regarding medium or technique.

In 2015, the Festival’s 19th edition broke new ground again by putting out two open calls: one for artworks and another for projects, and for the first time ever it commissioned four artworks, produced with oversight from the edition’s curators. The outcomes of those projects were shown at Galpão VB, the new Videobrasil venue which opened in tandem with this exhibition.

In line with the event’s innovative spirit, the 20th Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil in 2017 will give three Acquisition Prizes that will offer cash sums in exchange for video art pieces to be added to Sesc Brazilian Art Collection, plus five artist residency prizes, each awarded by an expert international jury. The 20th edition of the Festival will run from October 2017 to January 2018, at Sesc Pompeia.