Domingo premieres in downtown São Paulo

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posted on 10/27/2014
A packed square, the audience sitting on beach chairs, the downtown area occupied: open-air screening of Karim Aïnouz’s new film attended by more than 250 people at Largo São Francisco

Karim Aïnouz’s new film, Domingo, from the Videobrasil Authors Collection, premiered in São Paulo in the evening of October 25. The São Paulo premiere, a part of the 38th International Film Festival, was attended by approximately 250 viewers in a special open-air session at Largo São Francisco square, via a partnership between Videobrasil, the International Film Festival and Centro Aberto São Francisco, a municipal project designed to enhance the enjoyment of public space and promote novel ways of experiencing the city. The audience sat on beach chairs on the wooden deck, and the side of an old adjacent building was used as a projection surface. Before and after the screening of the 26-minute film, a DJ set sponsored by Videobrasil (delivered by Eduardo Haddad) set the mood for the film’s debut in São Paulo.

Most of the audience had never been to the Largo, renovated by a City Hall project. The open-air screening at a public space as part of the program of São Paulo’s foremost film festival created a direct link between the screening and Karim Aïnouz’s actual film. The short-film Domingo is Karim Aïnouz’s authorial and poetic register on the potential connections between the works of Danish visual artist Olafur Eliasson and public spaces in São Paulo. Using the city as raw material, Aïnouz and Eliasson and resignify it, proposing new sensory experiences and perceptions.

Prior to the beginning of the session, Thereza Farkas, the programming director of Associação Cultural Videobrasil, introduced the Videobrasil Authors Collection Series (VAC), of which Domingo is the seventh release. Produced in partnership with Sesc São Paulo since 2000, the series is designed to portray the thoughts and work processes of outstanding international contemporary artists from the perspectives of guest directors. Following the screening, production company Coração da Selva’s staff thanked the audience on behalf of their director, who was unable to attend because he was abroad filming on location.

Karim Aïnouz and Olafur Eliasson met in 2011, when the Danish artist had his first solo show in Latin America. The Your Body of Work exhibition was held parallel to the 17th edition of the Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil, occupying Sesc Pompeia, Sesc Belenzinho, the São Paulo State Art Gallery – Pinacoteca and various public spaces throughout the city. A previously unseen collaborative project between the two artists focused on São Paulo’s downtown area, where Domingo premiered. In Your Empathic City (2011), Eliasson juxtaposed colorful lights onto Aïnouz’s footage of the Minhocão viaduct, creating filters and textures in a video installation shown at Sesc Pompeia’s Galpão area. Karim Aïnouz’s film also features another of Eliasson’s artworks which engaged in intense conversation with the public space in São Paulo: Your New Bike (2009). Bicycles with mirrors instead of wheels were parked in areas of heavy vehicle and pedestrian traffic. The people, who are used to seeing bicycles on a daily basis as a new element in the urban landscape, needed to look longer before noticing them at Parque do Ibirapuera, Largo de São Bento, Rua da Consolação, the Viaduto do Chá or the corner of Avenida Paulista and Rua Augusta.

Domingo transcends the mere videographic register through its freedom of interpretation, creation of narratives and imagetic possibilities, and by suggesting new meanings to the intersection between Eliasson’s oeuvre, the city of São Paulo and its population. To the newspaper Folha de São Paulo, the director revealed that he now “sees the film as an organic conversation” between his work and Eliasson’s. He also said “this meeting (...) will contaminate my narrative approach from now on.”

The event in São Paulo wraps up the Domingo premiere program, with screenings in Rio de Janeiro (as part of the 2014 Rio de Janeiro Film Festival, one of the most acclaimed film events in Latin America) and in Fortaleza, where it remains on show at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Ceará until November 9. The first six films from the VCA series are showing in a special retrospective on Sesc TV until December 1st (see schedule on the Sesc São Paulo website – 

Videobrasil | The boundary between cinema and the visual arts

In 2013, Videobrasil celebrated the 30th anniversary of its Festival, a platform that emerged as the first alternative for screening and encouraging video production in Brazil. Since its inception in 1983, the Festival has become established as a forum for language experimentation and paradigm-breaking. From the start, it featured productions connected with experimentation and video art, alongside documentary-like pieces that were closer to cinema, including the early productions of filmmaker Fernando Meirelles (City of God, Blindness), such as Garotos do Subúrbio and Marly Normal, both of which were produced by Olhar Eletrônico in 1983, awarded prizes at the Festival, and incorporated into the Videobrasil Collection.

Over the years, the Festival went international, keeping up with (and often anticipating) the dynamics of contemporary art production, and incorporating electronic art and performance. In 2011, the event embraced all artistic languages. Throughout this entire period, Videobrasil remained a space for exhibiting artworks that straddle the lines between cinema and the visual arts. Hybrid artworks, the outcomes of an expanded cinema, created by artists like Cao Guimarães, Carlos Nader, Kiko Goifman, Wagner Morales and Gabriel Mascaro, among others, have been shown at various editions of the Festival and are now part of the Videobrasil Collection.

Full Program
Special screenings of Domingo and of VAC series films

October 12 – November 9
Screening of Domingo at Museu de Arte Contemporânea do Ceará
Centro Dragão do Mar de Arte e Cultura – 1st floor (see museum’s opening hours)

October 13 – December 12
Special screening: AVC on Sesc TV |

Additional information       

About Karim Aïnouz

The Brazilian filmmaker Karim Aïnouz has built his career in film with a markedly authorial feature. His productions include the feature films Madame Satã (2001), O Céu de Suely (Suely in the Sky, aka Love for Sale, 2006) Viajo Porque Preciso, Volto Porque Te Amo (I Travel Because I Have To, I Come Back Because I Love You, 2009, co-directed by Marcelo Gomes) and O Abismo Prateado (The Silver Cliff, 2013), plus three short films, a TV series and scriptwriting collaborations for films like Abril Despedaçado (Behind the Sun, 2002, Walter Salles) and Cinema, Aspirinas e Urubus (Cinema, Aspirins and Vultures, 2005, again with Marcelo Gomes). His latest feature film, Praia do Futuro, premiered in May 2014 and was a runner-up to the Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival.

About Olafur Eliasson

Denmark’s Olafur Eliasson is an internationally acclaimed contemporary artist. His work and research focuses on urban interventions, architectural projects, and reality perception and construction processes. The artist’s works utilize various media such as sculpture, painting, photography, video and installation and have been shown around the world, including at the Venice Biennale, the Tate Modern and the MOMA. In Brazil, three of the artist’s works are on display at Inhotim.

Domingo – the movie

Domingo is an authorial short film by Karim Aïnouz based on footage from ten different Sundays, between February 12 to December 30 2012 in the city of São Paulo, creating a reference in time and space that helps build a narrative marked by temporality. The film’s leading characters are the city of São Paulo itself and the oeuvre of Olafur Eliasson. In Aïnouz’s lighting-rich, textured, superimposed images there emerges a brand new São Paulo, through imagined connections between Eliasson’s work – marked by experimentation with “emptiness,” interruptions in daily life and the reinvention of space – and this vast metropolis. The exhibition audiences and passersby captured in the footage are like supporting actors in a spectacle that invites contemplation and reflection.

Whiteness, smoke, silhouettes, distant laughter... A dream-like setting of transparency and lights marks the transition from a hectic opening, set to electronic music and strobe lights, into contemplative scenes of the city of São Paulo. Karim Aïnouz builds on the texture created by Your Felt Path (2011) to kick off Domingo. In it, a couple walks around in a space converted into a near-watercolor of black and white. Like in a prologue, Aïnouz proposes for viewers to pass through a tunnel of light and sound so he can introduce them to a city inhabited by experiences and senses, by buildings and structures, by empty and abandoned spaces, by cars, people and the artworks of Olafur Eliasson.

Domingo is also color-rich. From the blue and lilac of dawn and the yellow lights of cars, whose sounds become a soundtrack of engines and sirens, to the warm, vivid red and green applied as filters to the city’s landscape, now that it is already day and passersby have taken to the streets. In some of his Sundays, Karim Aïnouz makes direct reference to Your Empathic City (2011), a collaboration of his with Eliasson that featured image projections onto São Paulo’s landmark viaduct Minhocão, with superimposed filters made from color film – a recurrent material in the Danish artist’s work. This same creative strategy was employed in the labyrinth set up at Sesc Pompeia for Your Body of Work (2011), which lent its name to the exhibition’s title in Brazil. In Domingo, images become registers of the light filters, colors, mirrors and reflections with which Aïnouz sees and presents to us the city of São Paulo, through the prism of Eliasson’s works.

One of the moments in which the two artists’ works are closest is when Aïnouz portrays the abandoned bicycles from the piece Your New Bike (2009), whose mirrored wheels reflect a rainy, empty city. The nostalgic feel seems to evoke the need for a more humane city, further underscored by the lettering showing where two of the bikes went missing.

This same feeling of emptiness, or better yet of the lack of spaces for human interaction in the city, is conveyed by footage of abandoned public spaces. Promises of building new squares, parks, sports courts and playgrounds are highlighted by the black and white images and the audio suggesting the city’s ideal occupation, as though expressing a desire for the future, with children’s voices, bird calls and sounds of people playing football and basketball.

In other moments, the action shifts to the exhibition venues where the Danish artist’s works have been featured, such as the São Paulo State Art Gallery (Pinacoteca), which housed the mirror installation Take Your Time (2008), and Sesc Pompeia’s deck. The latter, where Waterfall (1998) was featured, is where Aïnouz’s camera comes closest to human figures, gathered around the water for a sunbath and a breather from daily life.

The film’s denouement provides a fragmented view of São Paulo, captured in a kaleidoscope of images suggested by Your Shared Planet (2011). A precise choice by the Brazilian filmmaker to show how multifaceted and heterogeneous both the city of São Paulo and Olafur Eliasson’s poetics can be.

Videobrasil Authors Collection — VAC

Created in 2000, the Videobrasil Authors Collection – VAC was born with the perspective of providing visibility to the thinking and working processes of major international contemporary artists. Guest directors created documental films about leading contemporary artists such as South Africa’s William Kentridge, Lebanon’s Akram Zaatari, Cuban-born, American-based Coco Fusco, Brazil’s Rafael França, Chelpa Ferro and Mau Wal (Brazil’s Maurício Dias and Swiss’ Walter Riedweg). The launch of Domingo ushers in a new phase for the VAC, configuring it as a project in which artists’ encounters originate authorial films.

About Videobrasil

Founded and directed by the curator Solange Farkas, Associação Cultural Videobrasil dedicates itself to fostering, spreading and mapping contemporary art, and to forming audiences and sponsoring exchange between artists, curators and researchers. Independent and committed to the questioning of role of art, it has increasingly turned to public actions and initiatives designed to activate its Collection – a comprehensive set of videos and performances from the global geopolitical South. To this end, it imparts special attention to productions from Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, South and Southeast Asia and Oceania, building and articulating an international cooperation network.

Videobrasil also holds exhibitions and touring shows, issues publications on contemporary art and culture, creates public programs and audiovisual products, and sponsors artist residency programs, in addition to holding a biennial international festival in partnership with Sesc São Paulo, which has co-sponsored the event since 1992. In 2013, the Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil celebrated three decades of bridging gaps in the art world and encouraging artistic experimentation: as video art emerged into the Brazilian scene, Videobrasil created the first festival for the medium and helped establish it. Later on, the event incorporated electronic art and then performance and mixed practices. Since 2011, it has embraced all contemporary art languages.

Aside from promoting and spreading productions from artists and countries located outside the mainstream axis of Europe and North America, Videobrasil has also brought leading international artists to Brazil, increasing the access of local audiences to works by seminal contemporary artists. It has held exhibitions by the likes of Olafur Eliasson, Akram Zaatari, Gary Hill, Walid Raad, Joseph Beuys, Sophie Calle, Isaac Julien, Peter Greenaway, Marcel Odenbach, William Kentridge, Maria Magdalena Campos Pons, and others.

About Sesc São Paulo

Founded by Brazilian trade and services sector executives over sixty years ago, Sesc – The Social Service of Commerce – tailors its actions around a solid cultural and educational project, targeting innovation and social change. Sesc broke new grounds by introducing new models of cultural action and championed permanent education as a basic requirement for social change throughout the 1980s. It has fulfilled its mission through intense work in the field of culture and its myriad manifestations, targeting all audiences, age brackets and social strata.

In the state of São Paulo, Sesc boasts a network of 32 units, most of which are culture and sports centers. It also offers activities in social tourism, health programs, environmental education and digital inclusion, as well as special programs for children and senior citizens. It has been Videobrasil’s main partner for over 20 years and hosts the Associação’s exhibitions, Video Library and the Contemporary Art Festival.

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