On 24/04, as part of the CLAI program, Xilomóvel - Ateliê Itinerante offers a live workshop with a demonstration of woodcut printing and the creation of a panel. Photo: Ligia Minami

Aclasses, performances, urban interventions, demonstration of techniques and exhibitions of photofilms and video art, all at the distance of a screen. Entirely produced by visual artists residing in Campinas, the first event of the Free Circuit of Independent Art in the city (CLAI Campinas) takes place virtually from April 17th to 29th, free of charge, through project social networks.

In 2020, 17 self-managed spaces and initiatives linked to the visual arts came together in a network project in the interior city of São Paulo. The group's main objective is to keep moving the cultural scene in difficult pandemic times, supporting both institutions and artists in the city. After months of independent action, the project has its first (virtual) event, made possible with funds from the Aldir Blanc Cultural Emergency Law. 

However, anyone who thinks that the intention to build a network initiative arose with the outbreak of the coronavirus is wrong. The idea has been around Maíra Endo, editor-curator of HIPOCAMPO, since 2015, when she left Ateliê Aberto, an independent art space that ended its activities in Campinas that year. “I realized how self-organized art spaces and initiatives depend on collaborative networks, on relationships of strategic dependence, in order to survive,” she explains.

Between 2015 and 2020, Maíra saw the independent art scene grow. “It is worth remembering that, for many years now, the institutional circuit of visual arts in Campinas, formed by public and private institutions, has been admittedly bankrupt, unable to meet the needs of artists. The city also has no contemporary art galleries, that is, there is no market. In Campinas, almost everything, in terms of visual arts, happens in the self-organized circuit”, he says.

It was in this scenario, with an emerging scene, that the curator noticed that she was not alone in her idea. Other managers also thought of a network project and were willing to build these links. It was in conversations with Ana Angélica Costa, artist and manager of Casa de Eva, and Teresa Mas, architect and manager of Pavão Cultural, that the articulation of a collective agent is no longer just one of the ideas kept in the drawer. 

the construction of the project

“Initially, our idea was to promote FLAI – Free Fair of Independent Art of Campinas, with the intention of moving the visual arts scene and generating income for artists”, says Teresa. For this, they started a mapping of the city's art spaces, in order to find possible partners for the enterprise. “At that moment, we realized how disjointed the art circuit in Campinas was: there was a lot being produced and exhibited, but there was almost no exchange between spaces and agents, with a few exceptions”, says Ana. 

However, in the midst of its conception, the project came across an unforeseen: the coronavirus pandemic. Scheduled for the second half of 2020, it needed to be rethought.  “As it became clear that the pandemic would force the closure of our spaces, that there would be no possibility of setting up FLAI and that many independent artists could be in difficulties, we invited those spaces that would be part of the fair for a conversation about how we could help each other in this difficult time”, shares Teresa.

The need for collective organization was even clearer, given the new difficulties to be faced in periods of isolation and social distancing. Therefore, sought to better understand the proposal and reality of each of the spaces, to structure the support network. “This process was incredible for us to perceive the multiplicity both in physical, financial and in terms of acting, which makes the exchange of experiences even richer: there is a space that has existed for 30 years, with artists with extensive experience in the city of Campinas, and initiatives that opened at the beginning of the pandemic, with young people and with a lot of desire to make things happen even in contexts as adverse as the one we are experiencing”, shares Ana.

Today, the Free Circuit of Independent Art of Campinas is formed by 17 independent and self-managed collective spaces. These are: AT|AL 609, Ateliê/8, Ateliê CASA, Ateliê Oráculo, Casa de Eva, Clubinho Eulina, Estúdio Casa Ímpar, Fêmea Fábrica, Folha, HIPOCAMPO, Instituto Pavão Cultural, Nave na mata, Rabeca Cultural, Sílvia Matos Ateliê of Creativity, Pie, TOTE Cultural Space and the Xilomóvel – Atelier Itinerante.

As a first action, the project sought to give visibility to spaces and managers through a CLAI Instagram profile – in which each member can share their production with the followers of the others. Then came the possibility of signing up for the LAB Actions in Network call for proposals. “Fhi the trigger so that we could really enable this joint action that we are now carrying out”, says Teresa. Through the public notice, the network collective managed to build its first event, with resources from the Aldir Blanc Cultural Emergency Law, setting up a free program with content conceived by artists and managers from Campinas. 

The original project foresaw the holding of the event CLAI in the square, with face-to-face activities offered in public areas, and the CLAI Aberto, an itinerary of visits to the places that make up the circuit. However, the worsening of the pandemic and the increase in restrictions on the movement of people required the adaptation to the virtual format and conversion of visits into a mini video documentary – which will be shown on the last day of the festival.

“The art circuit in Campinas is certainly much stronger today than it was a year ago and CLAI was certainly fundamental in this regard. It is very different to work alone and to know that we have a support network and exchanges that we can count on”, concludes Ana. 

For those interested, we provide below the complete schedule of the Free Circuit of Independent Art of Campinas, to be transmitted by the profiles of Instagram e Youtube from the project. 

On 25/04, the collective performance “TIME BODY versus TIME VIRTUAL”, with artist Cecília Stelini from AT|AL 609, has virtual public participation. Photo: Mateus Stelini


17/04 | Saturday

11 am – Video lesson: Everything is Drawing (or at least it can be…), with the visual artist Marcelo Muschetta, from Atelier/8. Inspired by writings by artists such as Cildo Meireles, Richard Long, De Kooning and others, the open class will deal with drawing and its realization in different media, techniques and formats;

17pm – Videoart: 128 days, by visual artist Estefania Gavina, from Ateliê CASA. From the original intervention proposal Inhuman Deities, the artist explores fragments of moments of everyday life in her garden and studio, poetically constructing her look at the present time and the finitude of life;

18/04 | Sunday

11 am – Urban intervention: live painting of a mural with visual artist Fabiano Carriero, from Ateliê Folha, and participation of visual artist Eduarda Ribas. Carriero's paintings bring archetypes of our Brazilianness, taking the colors and pains of the people to the street.

20/04 | Tuesday

20pm – Photofilm: Hercule Florence I Festival Session, whose matrix and inspiration is the isolated invention of photography in Brazil, in Campinas, by Hercule Florence, in 1833.

21/04 | Wednesday

20pm – Photofilm: Hercule Florence II Festival Session.

22/04 | Thursday

20pm – Photofilm: Hercule Florence III Festival Session.

23/04 | Friday

20pm – Videoart: HIPPOCAMPUS Session. Founded in 2016, HIPOCAMPO is dedicated to the construction of a public, multidisciplinary and digital collection, today formed by about 250 pieces authored by more than 40 collaborators.

24/04 | Saturday

14:30 pm – Workshop: Printing and collage of panel in lambe-lambe, with artists Luciana Bertarelli, Marcio Elias and Simone Peixoto, from Xilomóvel Ateliê Itinerante. Live workshop with demonstration of woodcut printing and creation of a 3×3 meter panel in lambe-lambe.

18pm – Performance: Consuming Kairos, with visual artist MIRS Monstrengo, from Estúdio Casa Ímpar. MIRS proposes a live performance, bringing collective symbolic elements and its poetics that deal with different conceptions of the idea of ​​time in the present day.

25/04 | Sunday

11 am – Video lesson: Cameras Obscura, with Ana Angélica Costa, visual artist and manager of Casa de Eva. From the original intervention proposal A tree with strange fruits, in which a series of small cameras obscuras hang from the branches of a tree, the process of image formation will be explained by the principle of the camera obscura.

17pm – Collective performance: BODY TIME versus VIRTUAL TIME, with the artist Cecília Stelini, from AT|AL 609 – place of artistic investigations. An action that questions the physical presence and the virtual presence of a body, highlighting situations that are imposed on us. When is the physical body really needed? Held by the Zoom platform in real time, with public participation. Sign up for the collective performance by clicking here.

29/04 | Thursday

20h – Mini documentary about CLAI Member Spaces. Video that shows the spaces and initiatives participating in the Free Circuit of Independent Art of Campinas and replaces the CLAI Aberto, an event that would make the visit to the spaces in person on a bike ride. Broadcast on YouTube, with the participation of space managers via chat. Duration: 30 minutes.

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