Solange O. Farkas
Chief curator of the 20th Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil
Ana Pato, Beatriz Lemos, Diego Matos, João Laia
At times like the present, of crises, impasses, catastrophes, fierce narrative disputes, and constant local and global sociopolitical rearrangements, the Southern Panoramas exhibition and the artists there represented bring out art’s desire to expand and subvert our worldviews. Historically driven by political vocation, the production of the South gains prominence and refines itself in a context of regression and uncertainty, reverberating with increasing power as it becomes legitimized and institutionalized. Its growing presence in the art world—and the recognition of the importance of southern views in any global concert of voices—is evidence of the sound decision to invest in this symbolic region taken by the Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil almost twenty years ago.
The urge to investigate the areas of production of knowledge and their limits—which was clearly revealed in the assessment of all submissions—marks the artistic practices gathered in this 20th edition, in a set of over seventy works by fifty artists. Blurring boundaries between art and science, they take us on a journey to the origin of history, of societies, and of the Earth. They resonate the study of life, of the evolution of the universe, of social dynamics throughout history, of the invention of new ways of doing politics. Enabling a comprehensive interpretation of art, culture, astronomy, biology, history, and geography, the body of these artistic investigations conveys the idea that only by broadening our worldviews can we restore freedom to human imagination and expand knowledge that is bound to Western models and mechanisms of production and legitimation of truths.
Occupying multiple venues at Sesc Pompeia as exhibition, video program, and performance, the works inspire a curatorial concept from which derives what we call Theory of Constellations—a notion that opposes the idea of scientific precision and discloses the relations between particular and general, minimum and whole, certainty and imprecision, art and science. The works are organized around six constellations, or conceptual cores: Cosmovisions, Ecologies, Reinvention of Culture, Politics of Resistance, Invisible Stories, and Other Modernisms.
Guided tours, open lectures, meetings, and activations complete the Festival’s creative, practical, and discursive platform. Like the artworks, these actions reaffirm the ideas of resistance, alterity, and dissent, in their potential for transformation, as the most important paradigms of human consciousness.
In the broad political spectrum to which art contributes, the manifest option for research that produces powerful experiences of resistance, plurality, and transformation translates our resolve to move away from the progressive deflation of the hegemonic discourses that circulate and shape the field of art. The practices represented in Southern Panoramas go against the progressive crushing of our horizons, as well as the obscurantism and conservatism that transpire in public life worldwide, and especially in Brazil. Thus, they offer their contribution to preserve, albeit arduously, some perspective of a future.