Exhibition and lecture in Porto Alegre trace back the history of video in Brazil

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posted on 05/13/2014
Galeria Mamute presents the three-decade trajectory of Festival Videobrasil and its connections with video productions in the country, in the art context. The program includes a lecture at Santander Cultural, with Solange Farkas, founder and director of the Association

Brazil boasts a fairly unique connection with the television medium, whose influence has extended to art and video production in the country. Throughout its three-decades of existence, Videobrasil has followed this history up close, after establishing, in the 80s, the first festival dedicated to this medium, and now open to all contemporary languages. In May, two events in Porto Alegre will retrace the history of video in Brazil and in the art scene, and addressing the close connection between image in motion and television in the early days of this history. The first event is the show VB on TV - 30 years of Videobrasil, set to open on May 17, 7:00 pm, at Galeria Mamute, and lasting from May 20 to June 07. One week later, on May 24, 2:30 pm, Solange Farkas, curator general of the Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil, will deliver the lecture 30 years of Videobrasil – The Trajectory of Video in the context of the Arts, at Santander Cultural.

In the show at Galeria Mamute, five screens will feature the seven programs in the 3rd season of the Videobrasil on TV series, especially produced for the latest Festival edition. The series was directed by Marco Del Fiol and Jasmin Pinho and aired exclusively on Sesc TV. Porto Alegre is the first city to host this brand new show by Videobrasil.

The first four programs in the series are a retrospective of the Festival in the past three decades, featuring interviews with curators and researchers and accounts for artists, interspersed with historical footage and excerpts from their artworks. Since its inception, driven by the technological progress of the 80s (when access to video equipment became widespread in the country), the Festival emerged as the sole space for airing and encouraging production by young artists who sought to revolutionize, through video, the “TV of the New Millenium.” Among them, the likes of Fernando Meirelles (City of God) and Marcelo Tas (of the Brazilian TV show CQC), whose early works were featured on Videobrasil, are highlights of the Galeria Mamute show’s programs.

Following their attempts at invading and subverting TV, artists set out seeking a new language. Starting in the 90s, they began investing on experimentation and the use of new media, focusing predominantly on video art-oriented productions. From the 2000s on, video language became established and transcended its own medium, and the Festival opened up to new languages and went international.

The last three programs are dedicated to the Festival’s Southern Panoramas competitive show, whose latest edition received over 2,000 submissions, and featured 106 shortlisted works by 94 artists from 32 countries in the geopolitical South of the world (Latin America, Caribbean, Africa, Middle East, Eastern Europe, South and Southeast Asia and Oceania). The curators and artists, including award winners, will discuss myriad topics, aesthetical issues, and aspects of Southern contemporary art production, situating video within this context. The debates cover issues such as mobility; ties and belonging; memory and identity; the urban space; global-local tension; and the appropriation and resignification of media elements. Interviewees will include artists from the state of Rio Grande do Sul featured in the show, such as Luiz Roque and Letícia Ramos.

Check out the summaries of the programs at the end of this text. 


In the lecture 30 years of Videobrasil – The Trajectory of Video in the Context of the Arts, due at Santander Cultural on May 14, 2:30pm, Solange Farkas will outline the history of video production in the country – from early productions by national artists like Hélio Oitica and Letícia Parente, during the 1970s, to the political and cultural scenario of the 80s, when the Videobrasil Festival emerged. From this perspective, she will review the trajectory of video within the realm of arts, in the light of the Festival’s own history, divided into three phases.

The first phase, lasting from 1983 to 1989, is marked by a policy of diffusion, construction and stabilization of the electronic medium in Brazil – then freshly out of a two-decade stint under military rule. Within this context, the format was driven forth by technological improvements and the aesthetical (and political) clash with the establishment. From 1990 to 1998, electronic art became consolidated and legitimized within the international art scene. During this time, the Festival went biennial and gained strength as a platform for exchange between artists, scholars, and curators. In 2000, the Festival entered its third and latest phase, with curating focused on art production from the geopolitical South of the world and, since 2011, embracing all existing contemporary art languages.


The show VB on TV - 30 years of Videobrasil will open at Galeria Mamute alongside the exhibit Paisagens Inventadas, curated by Niura Borges and also set to open on May 17, at 5:30 pm. The exhibit will feature the results of project “Videoresidência Território Expandido” (Expanded Territory Video Residency), which inaugurated the gallery’s artist residency program. For its first edition, the project has invited three artists from Núcleo de Vídeo RS and three artists from other states in Brazil. Andreia Vigo (Rio Grande do Sul-RS), Walter Karwatzki (RS), Nelton Pellenz (RS) Adriana Tabalipa (Rio de Janeiro), Roderick Steel (São Paulo), Alice Jardim (Alagoas) and Joacélio Batista (Belo Horizonte) worked together in May and April this year, creating the brand new video art pieces on display in the exhibit. By showcasing the video works developed by these resident artists in parallel to the Videobrasil show, the gallery provides a unique opportunity for audiences in Porto Alegre to learn more about recent video production in the country, and about the 30-year-long trajectory and history of the oldest festival dedicated to this language.


Galeria Mamute represents emerging artists and markets artwork in different disciplines, such as painting, drawing, engraving, photography, installation and video. It also dedicates itself to investigating video language, with projects centering around Núcleo de Vídeo RS (Rio Grande do Sul Video Center). The gallery holds shows, courses, workshops, lectures, video training, video artist residencies, and numerous actions designed to foster production, reflection and practice in the visual arts, and cross-polination with other types of contemporary artistic creation. The gallery plays a strong role in knowledge production, artwork circulation, and projection of artists from the state of Rio Grande do Sul and Brazil.


Associação Cultural Videobrasil works in fostering, publicizing and mapping contemporary art, providing audience formation and facilitating exchange among artists, curators and researchers. It imparts special attention to productions from the geopolitical South of the world (Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, South and Southeast Asia, and Oceania). The association champions an active network of international cooperation, bridging gaps in the art world and encouraging artistic experimentation. Independent and committed to the questioning role of art, the organization is placing growing emphasis on public actions and actions designed to activate its collection - a comprehensive set of video and performance works from the geopolitical South of the globe.


Exhibition VB on TV | 30 years of Videobrasil
Opening: May 17, 5:30pm. Visiting: May 20 to June 07
Galeria Mamute - Rua Caldas Júnior, 375 – Historical Centre, Porto Alegre

Lecture 30 years of Videobrasil | The Trajectory of Video in the Context of the Arts with Solange Farkas (founder, director and curator of Videobrasil)
May 24, 2014, 2:30pm
Santander Cultural - Rua Sete de Setembro, 1028 – Historical Centre, Porto Alegre


Third season of the Videobrasil on TV series – overview of the seven shows directed by Marco Del Fiol and Jasmin Pinho, highlighting some of the interviewees:

Independent Production: Television and Political Opening
The issues that prompted the Festival’s emergence within the context of early independent video productions, the political opening in Brazil, the demise of the military regime, and the desire to give visibility to the social, political and cultural issues of the time. Tadeu Jungle, Eder Santos, Fernando Meirelles.

The Early Years of Video: Language and Technology
A depiction of the early 1980s Brazilian video scene, a time when the medium gained popularity. How video was embraced by independent artists and producers, aiming to build new aesthetics for image in motion.  Marcelo Tas, Walter Silveira, Sandra Kogut.

Expanded Circuits
Over the past thirty years, video and image in motion occupy new spaces, conversing with both the visual arts and cinema. The program portrays the Festival’s gradual opening to other art languages, and its consolidation within the contemporary art scene. Carlos Nader, Kiko Goifman, Letícia Ramos, Lucas Bambozzi.

Internationalization: Views of the South
The Festival’s internationalization process and the choosing of the geopolitical South for a target area. How the event became a venue for exchange among artists, scholars and curators, and a launching pad for art productions from the region. Arlindo Machado, Jorge la Ferla, Chris Mello, Giselle Beiguelman.

Southern Panoramas: Nature and Space, Reconfigurations of the Gaze
The different ways in which artists articulate the notion of space, exploring subjects such as nature, urban space, architecture, mobility and ties of belonging. Interviews with Southern Panoramas winners like Bakary Diallo, from Mali; Caetano Dias, from Brazil; Sherman Ong, from Malaysia.

Southern Panoramas: Memory, Identity and Politics
Works that explore the connections between memory, identity, sexuality, and the tension between local and global. Features artist residency prize winners, such as Nurit Sharett, from Israel; Ali Cherri, from Lebanon; Virgínia de Medeiros, from Brazil.

Southern Panoramas: Contemporary Imageries
Artists whose strategies consist of appropriating and resignifying media elements, rethinking our subjectivation processes by conversing with mass media and social media. The program features the artists Federico Lamas, from Argentina; Orit Ben-Shitrit, from Israel; Michel Zózimo, from Brazil; Ezra Wube, from Ethiopia.