Exhibition of prize-winning works from the 19th Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil at Sesc Rio Preto will feature ten international artists’ takes on the Global South

On October 4th 2015, I took part in the event 'Art from the Global South', at Sesc Rio Preto, Brazil. Myself and journalist/researcher Nathalia Lavigne gave talks as part of the panel “The Global South and the 19th Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil,” with Ruy Luduvice as moderator. The talk built on our participation in the Southern Observatory research platform in 2015.

The talk was part of 19th Videobrasil Festival Sesc_Videobrasil | Southern Panoramas that ran from October 6th to December 6th, 2015 in São Paulo. Videos and video installations by 13 artists from South Africa, Brazil, Lebanon, Australia, China, Poland, Peru, Russia, and Turkey are on show at Sesc Rio Preto through to February 5th, 2017.

The geopolitical bent that unites regions with a shared colonial past into a heterogeneous pool of similar accents is an idea that has driven the Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil since the 1990s, when Associação Cultural Videobrasil’s partnership with Sesc São Paulo came into being. Since then, the festival went international and broke new ground by promoting and spreading art produced in the Global South, a territory composed of countries situated outside the axes of hegemonic nations. In light of that, the 19th Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil On Tour | Winning Works exhibit enables prize-winning artworks to branch out into other localities, helping to broaden the art circuit and form new audiences.

The 19th Festival On Tour leg at Sesc Rio Preto will feature artworks that were awarded the grand prize, residency prizes and honorable mentions by the Festival jury. These artists’ productions exemplify recurring motifs and concerns within the output that Southern Panoramas charts. The artworks focus on the notion of a worsening crisis and on our pressing need to reassess the condition of the subject in the world, as well as his relationship with others; the hidden memories that haunt the night of history, the demise of utopias, the broken-down democracy, the spread of the hate of difference; the boundary between body and architecture as a potential metaphor for the distance between desire and fulfillment; the impact of the public sphere on intimate relationships; the desolating landscapes where few humans dwell that are spawned by the obliteration of the man/nature connection.

The widespread presence of video in installed and narrative forms, both in the exhibition and among the winning works, is a testament to the continuing vitality of image in motion in the Global South, while also reflecting the Festival’s own history and trajectory.

Besides seeing the work of winning artists from the latest edition of the Festival, Sesc Rio Preto goers will be able to partake in public programs activities, to view documentaries and publications produced by the Sesc São Paulo/Associação Cultural Videobrasil partnership, and to watch other pieces in the Video Library, where other works from the 19th Festival and past editions will be available, amounting to almost 1,500 video pieces.

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Alex Ungprateeb Flynn is an Assistant Professor at the Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance, University of California, Los Angeles. Working as an anthropologist and curator, Alex’s practice explores the intersection of ethnographic and curatorial modes of enquiry. Researching collaboratively with activists, curators and artists in Brazil since 2007, Alex explores the prefigurative potential of art in community contexts, prompting the theorisation of fields such as the production of knowledge, the pluriversal, and the social and aesthetic dimensions of form.