Archive for the ‘brazil’ Tag

Where Have You Been?

This blog isn’t dead. It’s just got a limp.

I’ve been struck down by a glut of work, a flat move and the inveterate ‘no internet’ problem (which may or may not be resolved soon – I can’t tell if Virgin Media are serious or jus’ playin’).

A more important question: where are you going?

Here are some ideas if you’re in London this weekend.

Friday Night – Hayward Gallery (FREE)

According to @LDN, the Hayward Gallery‘s current exhibition – Walking In My Mind – is free tonight at the Southbank Centre (normally £10).

Walking In My Mind at the Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre: Exclusive on YouTube.

If you’ve been anywhere near the Southbank lately you won’t have missed a plethora of polka dots – courtesy of Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama.

She’s one of the exhibitors offering a glimpse into the inner workings of her imagination through “immersive, large-scale installation art”.

Walking In My Mind at the Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre: Tour and Interviews on YouTube.

Saturday Night – Sambatralia @ The Egg (£10 with flyer)

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I’ll be at The Egg on Saturday night – VJing all night with the Jungle Drums Sambatralia crew and Movimientos.

Beach, palm trees, a voyage through the video vaults of Latin America…? In the words of Diplo, Lesss gooooo!

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Sunday Afternoon – Dominoes 09, East London (FREE)

The highlight of the CREATE09 arts festival is happening across East London on Sunday – all the way from Mile End to Greenwich.

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Turn up at 3.30pm if you want to see the start of Dominoes 2009.

Thousands of breezeblocks tumbling across town…

Geek aside: the Dominoes 2009 website has a couple of teaser videos – the images above are screengrabs. But the organisers seem to have made a point of not letting you embed or share the clips, as the file names showed:

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So whatever you do – DON’T tell anyone about this event.

It would obviously be a disaster if people knew about it.

Kehinde Wiley: Ghetto Grandeur

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All image cred: SuperTouch.

Spotted this fresh series by Kehinde Wiley on SuperTouch.

If you live in LA you can catch Wiley’s exhibition, The World Stage – Brazil, at Roberts & Tilton Gallery.

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Wiley got his favela models to recreate the poses of key statues in the city.

In assuming the role the of the western colonizer, they challenge their status as socially invisible – so he explains:

Kehinde Wiley – The World Stage by PGrizzy on YouTube.

I found it strange there were no women in this series, but the artist has a logic:

“By enlarge, the absence of women is the normal state within the history of art. The reasons having to do with misogyny, empire, construction of power – being the sole territory of powerful men.”

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The detail on these paintings is spectacular. Get in up-close on the website and you’ll see how grandiose they are.

As hyperrealism goes, they deliver loud and clear. It’s like the opposite of, and complement to, JR’s industrialised photocopies of black and white photo-portraits.

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Previous favela:

– Diplo’s first feature film: Favela on Blast.

JR’s Women Are Heroes: the other face of ghetto grandeur.

Where the Social Bandits Gone?

Some 70 years ago, Michael Curtiz got all the Technicolor cameras in existence to make The Adventures of Robin Hood.

The US had just been hit by a second wave of recession in its Great Depression.

Movies matter in a recession. Stories and big, bold escapes.

The Adventures of Robin Hood Trailer by hollywoodclassics on YouTube.

Whichever version of Robin Hood folklore you follow, two things seem to be broadly accepted:

1. He robbed from the rich and gave to the poor (i.e. he was an outlaw).

2. He was a common man – a regular Joe.

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Cordel literature found in Rio de Janeiro.

Brazilian folklore has its own, more recent Robin Hood.

The most legendary bandit (cangaçeiro) was Lampião. He was shot dead in 1938. The same year The Adventures of Robin Hood came out on general release.

He was not a clear-cut hero. He was often violent and perverse, as accounts in film and literature have shown:

“He used to put a man’s nuts in a drawer, lock it, throw the key out and set fire to the house. Not without first leaving a knife within reach of the wretch. The way I see it, it’s better to burn to death than to lose your nuts.”

Sergeant Getulio (1971) by João Ibaldo Ribeiro.

Lampião in Deus e o Diabo na Terra do Sol (1964) – Dir. Glauber Rocha.

Just as the desperate north eastern climes of Brazil spawned its own Robin Hood, national interest in the tales of Lampião peak during times of economic trouble.

Artists, writers and filmmakers of the 1960s lavished him with attention.

But today?

Today in London there will be riots outside the Bank of England. There’s growing malaise in most corners of the world.

So I ask: where’s the social bandit gone?

The Wire (Season 1): Omar – “It’s all in the game” by hoodpolitics.

You could argue that Omar Little in The Wire represents a new form of fictional Robin Hood.

He robs drug dealers in a city (Baltimore) where 10% of landowners possess 58% of the land value; and the bottom 10% own less than 1%.

Can we call that social banditry?

If not, who are the Robin Hoods in today’s global meltdown?

And who would they even loot?

Preview: Favela on Blast

After an earlier post about Nois, a boutique of Brazilian directors, I was granted a glimpse of the future.

Here are some stills from the upcoming film Favela on Blast – directed by Leandro HBL and DJ Diplo.

Still photographer: Rebekka Elhers

Production designer: Leandro HBL

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Favela on Blast explores the universe of baile funk in Rio. An October premiere of the film in Brazil was followed last month by a European debut in Copenhagen.

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The two directors first collaborated on the music video for Diplo Rhythm and aficionados will know that Favela on Blast bears the title of Diplo’s breakthrough baile funk mixtape.

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I’ll keep this post updated on news of US/ UK release.

In the meantime it’s good to know that more favela films are in production. The World Film Collective are working with kids in the Morro dos Prazeres favela so they can make and edit footage from their mobile phones. (More on that here).

Previous Brazil:

Taschen’s Latin American Grapic Design

JR’s Women Are Heroes

The Hills Have Eyes

“…today’s favelas in Latin American megalopolises: in some sense, are they not the first ‘liberated territories’, cells of future self-organized societies?”

Slavoj Zizek, The Universal Exception

For most affluent Westerners, the favelas don’t represent the future. Favelas, ghettos, slums, banlieues – all amount to historical failure. Indecent truths that are too immediate to expel from the City. But too volatile to accept in society. They can’t be looked in the eye.

Parisian artivist JR has forced society to do just that with interventions in Paris, Palestine-Israel, Liberia, Brazil and, recently, the Tate Modern in London.

The photograffeur pastes his massive photograffs onto wall space to surprise with portraits of the marginalised.

In Paris he got banlieue kids to pose in caricature like the “extra-terristrials that most Parisians assume that they are”. In Liberia, Sierra Leone and Libya last year his focus shifted to women. He photographed victims of domestic violence and rape, increasingly fixated by the eyes.

JR’s Women are Heroes 28mm project is now exhibiting at the Lazarides Gallery on Charing Cross Rd. He’s taken to a neighbouring street with his photograffs, and you should be able to catch all of this if you make it down before mid-November.

I can’t honestly say I was impressed with JR’s piece at the Tate Modern. In the context of work by Os Gemeos and other Brazilian street artists, it felt wrong to me. Too much picture-postcard favela – the gun-running glam-ghetto of City of God, with an old camera-as-gun trick.

But his work in Rio’s Favela Morro da Providência is truly moving. He’s a socially-motivated artist to the core and the more I read about him, the more I’m impressed.

Full feature article to follow in the next issue of Jungle Drums. I’ll share the link once it’s up.

Update: As promised, here’s the full article on Jungle Drums.

Feeding a Young Cyber Lion

Brazilians Fabiano de Queiroz Silva and Marcelo Mariano Dias recently nabbed the Cannes Young Lions Cyber Gold for this refreshing MPU (no interaction, sorry – but sign up at the site and have a play).

You’ll have noticed Brazilian names on these lists before. So what’s the trick to Brazilian digital design? Where does this eye come from?

Taschen have just put out a mouth-watering anthology of Latin American Graphic Design. I’ve been browsing fervently. The only Brazilian names I’d heard before were Alexandre Wollner and, ahem, architect Oscar Niemeyer.

Ok – so Niemeyer wasn’t a designer as such. And he doesn’t feature in the book. But information architecture? No? I’m building on flimsy foundations here, aren’t I… Seriously, though – if you read more about Niemeyer you’ll see how hugely educational he has been to the Brazilian design eye.

“What attracts me is the curve, free and sensual, the curve I find in the mountains of my country, in the winding course of its rivers, in the waves of the sea, in the body of the beloved woman.
The universe is made out of curves – the curved universe of Einstein.”

Some further stars, past, present and future (below L-R): Guto Lacaz, 6D Estúdio, Kiko Farkas, Alexandre Wollner and Ruben Martins.

Previously: Brazilian designer remixes big brand logos.

Elsewhere: A Design for Loving, my full article on Taschen’s Latin American Graphic Design for Jungle Drums magazine.

Black Swan in the Rain

Pick, pack, pock, puck. Rain beats a rhythm and it changes the pulse.

Caught outdoors by the rain, people get wired. With a clear sky, they were flapping aimlessly like loose ends in the gentle breeze.

But steady rain snaps you into your circuit board. What were you doing? Where where you going? Well, do it quick and get going. Or it’s drowned rat o’clock.

Stand still in the street and you’re dead. Umbrella spokes zip past at guillotine height. Every man for himself. Selfishness rules the road. An electric chorus of angry.

I saw something different this time last year in Rio de Janeiro, staying on the Praia de Botafogo. It was Autumn and it didn’t rain much. But when it rained, you moved fast. Because it rained hard.

Everyone moved to the mall when it rained. It was the biggest sheltered public space.

Everyone was wet. Real wet. But they weren’t angry. Because it would just happen. It was relatively unpredictable, but they always knew what to do when it happened. Get to the mall.

Once they were there, and big numbers went there, it sparked random connections. Old friends would spot then snap each other with their mobiles in the glimpse of an escalator ride.

Click. Stop. The words are scampering too fast. What could any of this mean?

1. Running in the rain can make you a jerk-off (to bastardise an insight of Nassim Nicholas Taleb). Find shelter and watch the sparks fly. You’ll be constantly surprised.

2. Get drenched? It doesn’t matter when randomness brings you together with friends. And the black swan – the unpredictable high-impact event – can do that spectacularly.

(This post is available in very very amateur 3D, in case you’re still wondering about the doodles above.)