the invasion of urban spaces – césar meneghetti’s views on Video Guerrilha

Brazil,Uncategorized elena @ 3:08 pm

Les terra's di nadie by Cesar Meneghetti

My first experience of urban intervention was in Rome in 2002 putting some Yanomami
Indians from Amazon in a 1600’s baroque facade of a church. Now in São Paulo the
situation is completely different, the VIDEOGUERRILLA experience of audiovisual invasion
of public spaces in São Paulo was very singular cause my work could reach two different
typologies of people, museumgoers and Augusta street people at same time. For a city
of 20 million inhabitants the number of people that goes to museums and art galleries are
minimum compared to the population and making this move, bringing a public art space to
the street were a brilliant initiative. The Augusta street is a metaphor of São Paulo, a 135
years old street that crosses the town linking the glamour side of Jardins to the underground
and alternative Bela Vista having inside several restaurants of all cuisines, sports center,
cinemas, shops, nightclubs, bookshops, universities, a red light district, a loads of bars. The
meeting point of playboys, hippies, emos, theatre actors and just people starving for fun. The
VIDEOGUERRILLA project this year was made possible by using a cutting edge equipment
from Visualfarm, a company that provided all the facilities for the 7 huge projections on the
façade of various buildings in the street.

Cesar Meneghetti. Photo by Beatriz Franco

To extend the access of contemporary art and street art to a large audience of passers of
all ages in my hometown was a very strong experience, especially for me that were living
in Europe the last 23 years. The video LTDN ( a half way political
and aesthetic work I made in 2007 was shown at the same time at MIS (Museum of Image
and Sound of São Paulo) and in the street buildings in Lower Augusta, acquire an important
meaning in producing and exhibiting. Just a few days before the presidential elections I am
projecting a video which is talking about the dictatorships in Brazil and in Chile. The most
stimulating thing for me was the attention that people had watching the video.
The whole VIDEOGUERRILLA event was definitely a further stage of the TIMEFRAME
project firstly released in Amsterdam, Durban, La Havana and now in São Paulo,
accumulating videos from diverse backgrounds and merging in one only street media and
video artists, professional or young VJs, hackers, producers and many other people that give
an enormous energy for the event. It means living contemporary history, media and art at the
same time, in the context of urban intervention and potential cultural bomb, and making art
take part of ordinary life reducing the gap between the artist and the rest of the citizens. I felt
something urgent nowadays that art does reach a huge crowd and not only a small niche,
and talk about contemporary needs, thoughts, feelings, as a bare nerve of our society. A
great merit of TIMEFRAME and VISUALFARM, mixing the context of art production, of some
commercial and professional artists and craftsmen of the video to the general public, be it
artistic content, experimental, technological, or simply an expression of underground culture.
It suits so much the “paulistano” style that when the event went over, everybody miss the
projections, because they have incorporated as part of the urban furniture.
My auspices for the future is that an event of such impact and synchronicity with the town
could be held every year, every month, every weekend, making it a platform for various
artists, monographs or monothematic group shows where they can feed the cultural debate
and exchange of thoughts. As it happen in São Paulo, making rua Augusta, a place that
was the symbol of degrade and decay rise again through art, using new technologies. The
city of São Paulo and its ambiguities unsolved becomes an important art space and though
imagination these projections can be taken as a symbol of change, a certain cultural shock
that incorporates the present Brazilian reality.

César Meneghetti | artist + filmmaker

See Media Coverage of Video Guerrilha!

Brazil elena @ 12:43 am

See Videos:

TV Globo

Folha de S. Paulo

MTV – Scrap

Video Documentary by Carol Thomé

Eavan Aiken at Video Guerrilha…

Brazil elena @ 12:25 am

Photo by Elena Pérez

I was very impressed by the work of the team that put it all together under Alexis calm but watchful eye. Walking down this street during 3 days of projections was unbelievable, everyone’s face’s were turned upwards instead of glaring or oogling. I sat at a small bar on the street and got talking to some local’s who told me that they’d seen projections on building before but that this time they could see the difference in quality never mind the sheer scale of the project. It took over 4 or 5 blocks and each building had a new form, from architectural mapping with motion graphics, video art, performance, still images and live drawing.

I projected images that for me represent human movement, using long exposure on a camera or video camera and recording the movement. I also spent some time using Alchemy to draw abstract shapes and audio reactive forms on a building. This was my favorite part especially after being there and soaking up the rhythm of the city and being so close to the street on the balcony of the hotel. A beautiful moment came when I offered the pen to those around me and let them doodle, one guy scratched his number up and wrote “call me.” Shortly he received a call to comic effect. I loved how this highlighted our human need to communicate and in the simple and often executed fashion more usually found in a public toilet. :-)

What I noticed after the event was the change in atmosphere of the Rua Augusta – it was business as usual I presume, and we saw bouncers or pimps beating a guy up and kids trying to steal from and damage the hotel we were staying in.  This really brought home to me how the event changed the mind set of the locals, even if only for 3 days, their sights were literally lifted upwards rather than looking for trouble.  I truly understood the mission of Video Guerrilha after witness those events.

Video Guerrilha in Sao Paulo – the full story

Brazil elena @ 11:27 pm

Photo by Rosa Menkman

Thanks to initiatives like Video Guerrilla, Rua Augusta, one of the most famous streets in São Paulo, became a gallery in open air during three nights, from 11 to 13 of November, from 8 pm to 4 am.

Video guerrilla is a mega collective intervention where a variety of artists from Brazil and other countries like the Netherlands work on different projection sites pointing over 8 different building facades, and therefore directly intervening in the public space.

This is not the first time that urban intervention with video take place in the city of São Paulo, in fact Visualfarm, the creative collective organizing this event, has already made many projections in the last 8 years, but any of them of this scale, we could say this is their most ambitious project. This first edition of Video Guerrilla has taken place in one of the most attractive and vibrant night live scenes of the city, between bares and prostitute clubs.

This neighborhood, before only devoted to prostitution, is becoming one of the most important spots for entertainment in the city of São Paulo. And for 3 nights it turned into a node for urban art and culture.

During this event more than 80 national and international VJs, graffiti and artists, plus 4 local creative collectives has contributed to the programme with their visual creations.

During 24 hours of images split over 3 days, different projections techniques were explored. People could see live digital graffiti, mapping, augmented reality and large format reflections like the ones at R. Augusta 541, where the installation ‘Agingantador de pessoas’ allowed people to interact with the camera and see themselves reflected on the facade at large scale. This last installation was especially successful, had great acceptance and served as a temporary platform for spontaneous public creativity.

The main goal of Video Guerrilla is to make a number of loud interventions in urban space that have an impact on the way people think or experience the city and where different visual languages meet. The festival also fostered debates and lectures relates to street art, urban culture and social ecology in different Universities of São Paulo during the previous months to the start of the night events at Rua Augusta.

Video Guerrilha is an opportunity for people to know the work by artists from Brazil and other countries. An event to experience the city differently and perceive places that otherwise will not draw your attention at all.

In this festival the street is understood as a public and collective space that demands more cultural content. This format presents art and culture as an inherent element of the city, standing as an accessible alternative to exclusive and formal art galleries and museums.

It responds to the need of getting out of the white box in all senses, which also implies getting out of the canvas. Needless to say that thanks to initiatives like this the VJ and visual culture in brazil is starting to receive larger financial support.

“Culture needs to be accessible to people and closer to people”, emphasized Alexis Anastasiou, founder of the festival.

“There is no better place for expression than the streets…free and open to the general public”, added Bruno Caramori, one of the artists involved.

This kind of urban intervention, also interactive, are important because they invite passers-by to break with their routines in their day a day, dream with other realities and connect to the urban space in many different ways, these new emotions will forever change their memories and perceptions about the urban space.

TIME_FRAME at Video Guerrilha Festival (Brazil)

Brazil elena @ 10:34 pm

Following up the conceptual line of TIME_ FRAME 2010 and ‘the Media City’ Workshop held in Amsterdam in March 2010, the VJ and director of Visualfram Alexis Anastasiou (participant of the Media City) invited TIME_FRAME to participate in the Video Guerrilha project in São Paulo 11-13 November 2010.

TIME_FRAME  contributed to the festival with a visual art program delivered by     3 international who showcased new artistic concepts on the facades arranged by Visualfarm in Rua Augusta, one of the main streets of the city of São Paulo.

+ Participating artists are:

Eavan Aiken (IE/NL), visual artist, VJ and teacher

Rosa Menkman (NL), visual artist and researcher

with the special collaboration of César Meneghetti (BR/IT),  visual artist and filmmaker.

+ TIME_FRAME  staff:

Miguel Petchovsky (AN/NL), TIME_FRAME – curator.

Elena Pérez Hernández (ES/NL), TIME_FRAME – coordination and documentation.

Photo by Rosa Menkman

untitled streetview by Walter Langelaar (NL)

Africa elena @ 10:52 pm

In relation to the ‘City Walk’ initiative and in anticipation of doing

one of these walks ourselves with Doung and Rike, Walter decided to prepare

for some mobile exploration of Durban’s aether; meaning he was interested in seeing how

wireless fidelity (WIFI) would be spread around the city of Durban, and what conclusions could

be drawn from the data when moving from ‘white suburbia’ into the areas which are generally

understood to be ‘no-go zones’.

Over the course of collecting the data, via a mobile Android device with

WIFI and GPS enabled, differenty interesting topics came up when

discussing the layout, and access to technology in general in SA with

people in the project group. It turned out that because of the FIFA

World Cup event, Google had put it’s view on the country as well -

resulting in large scale mapping efforts for the Google Street View and

Maps application, and many added 3D renderings of buildings and sites in

the cities where the matches were to be played…

Having worked with similar Google tech and API’s (from a critical

perspective) before, he decided to dissect their recent practices around

Durban and turn this into a visual work – which to him made total sense

as opposed to all the fairly general ‘FIFA-bashing’ that went on, since

obviously a big multinational (or should that be ‘online’?) player like

Google also brings with it it’s own politics and dubious decisions.

The resulting work in the Durban Art Gallery shows a story of two people

in Durban’s newly built football stadium. It follows a young, white male

and female, both wearing Google t-shirts, moving around the stadium

taking pictures – all recorded via the Google Street View application.

Interestingly, the narrative is coloured by the fact that the Street

View technology, and it’s interface limitations, clearly depicts a

suspicious desire of the camera-person to stay focused on the Google

employees, instead of also engaging with the local, native SA workers

that can be seen viewing the spectacle all around the stadium.

As an installation this video-narrative was combined with two additional

screen which show online articles and websites, dealing with

controversies surrounding Google’s move into South Africa…

“…city within a city reveals thousands of cities inside” by Mayura Subhedar (IND/NL)

Africa elena @ 10:22 pm

The idea was to intervene and understand the space; also the mental space we inhabit  that are more and more impervious to reality.

During this project Mayura decided to come in to contact with two nodes in the Durban city – the Early Morning Market and the Musgrave mall. The intention here was to interact among the people around in order to understand certain social norms  and ways of life which contribute to contemporary culture to be alive with expanded artistic equipments.

In this process and special context of world cup Mayura had to also rethink and question the possibilities of her common practice to produce a work of art.

[...] ‘When I interrupted Vinesh, What do onions that you sell mean to
you? Here he paused rattled by the absurd interruption – for once during the
course of his intended speech, he flattered but with a gleam in his voice he
slowly told me what they meant’.

Continue HERE with Mayura Subhedar’s impressions and artistic process during TIME_FRAME Durban Workshop.

Durban Municipality wants to remove the Early Morning Market

Africa elena @ 10:10 pm

The Early Morning Market, a fresh produce market in Durban, turned 100

years on the 19 May 2010. Despite a rich social, economic, cultural

and political heritage, the municipality wants to remove the market

and replace it with a mall. The municipality, who had wanted the

development to be ready by the 2010 world cup, has been temporary

stalled by the struggle to save the market. However, the future of the

market is yet undefined. dala has worked closely with the Early

Morning Market Traders Association for some time and has been involved

in documenting the struggle since the first eviction notices in April

2009. As part of this process, Rike has been documenting the history

of the market through the stories of the traders.

“banothando” by Rike Sitas (ZA) and Lilia Pérez (MX/NL)

Africa elena @ 9:38 pm

Interactive installation. 2010

“banothando” is the isZulu word for the shared loving feeling of a

community. The title for this work came from one of the project

participants when describing what links the people of the Early

Morning market with each other.

“banothando” is a follow up of the collaboration between Mexican

artist Lilia Pérez and dala that started with the interactive

installation, Sawubona, produced in Amsterdam. It constitutes a series

of interactive portraits that use physical contact between people and

images of people as an interface to the stories gathered by Rike and

Lilia during the world cup and immediately after it when the general

enthusiasm mixed with uncertainty about the future of the market

traders’ livelihoods.

When the spectator approaches “banothando”, she will be confronted

with one of the market traders, observing her from the projected image

of their market stand surrounded by the merchandise they sell. From

this pose and the framing of the shot, the character seems to be

waiting for a customer. The character will carry on like this,

breathing and blinking, sometimes smiling until the spectator touches

the screen. As soon as contact is made, the character starts moving,

responding with the same gesture, placing her hand and gaze on the

user’s hand, following any route it follows. While the virtual and the

present hand touch, the spectator will be able to listen to the

trader’s stories about the market, life in general and the effect of

the world cup in their life and surroundings. When the contact stops,

the character will become silent again. Trapped in this small sequence

of gestures the character and the viewer meet one another in an

instant of simulated communion. Physical contact, so natural for the

market traders amongst each other, but so rare between the

predominantly Indian and Zulu traders, and the very often white

visitors of the gallery, becomes a condition for communication as well

as an ingredient for emphatic listening.

Long Street – Moses Mabhida – South Beach by Dean Henning (ZA)

Africa elena @ 9:32 pm

Quadraphonic Audio, approx 15-20 minutes.

A real time audio exploration of field recordings from three locations in South Africa:

* The opening day of the World Cup in Long Street;

* Brazil versus Portugal at Moses Mabhida Stadium; and

* Ghana versus Uruguay at the South Beach Fan Fest (Durban).

The piece has been performed live at the gallery. Thereafter, a stereo version was meant to be available for listening in the gallery.

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