Videobrasil opens a perspective of the South
To offer video artists in the southern hemisphere a platform for
their work. That is the objective of Videobrasil, the largest electronic
art festival in Latin America.
Lebanese video artist Akram Zaakari: "We see more of the West
than the West sees of us. The only way to break through the clichés
is to show people how hybrid and complex we are." But even
in the Arabian world his work is scarcely shown. This double challenge:
adjusting the folkloristic image of non-western countries and strengthening
the art circuit of the Southern hemisphere - exactly reflects the
mission of Videobrasil, the video festival being held in the Brazilian
metropolis of São Paulo from 22 September to 19 October.
Virtually all of the sixty artists work in the southern hemisphere.
The festival's theme, Deslocamentos ('dislodgings'), runs through
their videos and works, reflecting the tension between the virtual
freedom of the internet and the other side of globalisation: nationalism,
marginalisation and conflicts. 'When I first visited the Middle
East in 1999, I started to think about this issue,' says Solange
Farkas, curator and festival director. 'Artists have no time for
unimportant matters. They are consumed by their mission: saving
their identity. Here in Brazil, we have a special kind of civil
war, between the rich and the poor. But many artists prefer to
isolate themselves in their own universe.'
With Videobrasil, celebrating its 20th birthday, Farkas therefore
hopes to bridge the gap between her country and the rest of the
world. 'If you have no point of reference, it is difficult to grow,'
she says. 'The best thing about globalisation is that it puts people
into contact with one another. You no longer need to travel to
meet people or view works of art. You can do it by cable. It is
also fantastic that the various cultures can be recognised in the
videos more than ever before. People do not want to be like everyone
else. They strive to strengthen their uniqueness. This enables
them to retain local culture.
The responsibility of the festival is to open roads to genuinely seeing one