Exhibition of works from the 20th Sesc_Videobrasil: on the left, 'Contornos', by Ximena Garrido-Lecca, and, in the background, 'Há terra!', by Ana Vaz. PHOTO:: Everton Ballardin

When opening the call for the next edition of Sesc_VideoBrasil, the partner organizations brought something new: they decided to replace the title “festival” with “biennial”. The change aims to place itself more explicitly in the global context of art. Therefore, applications for the 10st Contemporary Art Biennial Sesc_VideoBrasil will be accepted until August 21th.

For Solange O. Farkas, founder of Associação Cultural Videobrasil and curator of the project, which this year also has Gabriel Bogossian, Luísa Duarte and Miguel López on the curatorial panel, updates – such as the name change – are already common in the history of Sesc_VideoBrasil. “I call it phases. We've been through several of them, we went from a national video-only festival to an international festival focused on countries in the geopolitical South. Then it became a more hybrid festival, not just using a language like video, but thinking about more languages”, explains Solange. In this way, alterations became commonplace in her judgment.

The name change does not abruptly change the project. After all, it already had all the characteristics of a Biennale: it takes place every two years, focuses on contemporary art and has a focus on an area of ​​the planet (the South). Solange believes that it is this geopolitical frame that emphasizes Sesc_VideoBrasil's particular role as a Bienal: “It's not just another Bienal, it's a Bienal that tries to fill an important gap. A Biennial that gives voice to this production from this part of the world that still has difficulty in accessing and visibility”.

Proposal

Using a strategy common to biennials, the project takes the initiative of starting from a concept. “From now on, we use a curatorial proposal to select the artists”, says the curator. For her, this is perhaps the biggest change that the weight of the new title carries. O open call will still be considered for the choice of artists who will participate, but now there is a suggestion of a starting point for the thinking and construction of the work.

In this 21st edition of Sesc_VideoBrasil, which will have the selected pieces exhibited at Sesc 24 de Maio between October 2019 and February 2020, the institutions' proposal to artists consists of the idea of imagined communities. Borrowing from a study by Benedict Anderson, the notion of imagined communities arises for the project taking as an example the study of indigenous communities.

Participation was even open to artists from these different ethnic communities. “We know that there is a super important production of artists who are part of ethnic groups and who end up operating only within their universes. The world of the arts doesn't look so much at this place. There is still a certain prejudice against it”, says Solange. There is the prospect of inclusion when looking at the production of these groups.

the notion of imagined communities seeks to discuss the issue of nationalism and how these groups lead it in art. An episode that took place at the World Trade Organization, in which a communiqué criticized the tendency to reject what one is foreign, was one of the things that encouraged the choice of the theme: “We were looking from all sides, perceiving the political specters of this, such as the key to understanding disputes.

The choice is also related to the research that curator Gabriel Bogossian developed when looking at Pasolini's work. “The idea he conceived of a transnational third world, which began on the outskirts of Rome and extended to countries outside this category, is important in this process”, comments Farkas. And he adds: “We want to work with these communities that are on the margins of the concept of State or nation, or in their gaps, on their borders. We can talk about communities of artists, about indigenous communities. We are talking about communities in the sense of groups that are outside the classical concept of community. Sometimes even banned from this concept.”

The curator believes that the topic is very current, from now. “I think it is necessary to think and discuss these issues, speaking in a certain way also of fictional or utopian communities. In general, from clandestine communities, which generate minority policies,” she says. The intention is also to make us think and reflect on the distorted forms of nationalism preached by some politicians around the globe today: “These are points that, in the field of art, we have this power and this responsibility through a production of the sensitive, which is the art, to make us think about these issues that affect us a lot today. Not only in the countries of the South, but mainly in this part of the world where the Bienal Sesc_VideoBrasil operates”, she concludes.

 

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