Parameters to understand the emerging media and the formation of a specialized audience in Brazil Abstract To understand the current creation in art and technology and the formation of a specific audience in Brazil, we searched for parameters such as the parallelism between the economic-social situation and the esthetic resolutions, besides the reflection on the artistic

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Parameters to understand the emerging media and the formation of a specialized audience
in Brazil
1


Abstract

To understand the current creation in art and technology and the formation of a specific
audience in Brazil, we searched for parameters such as the

parallelism between the
economic
-
social situation and the esthetic resolutions, besides the reflection on the artistic
formats produced by the bases of material production, mainly those related to the country’s
industrialization. The current excitement is

due to recent initiatives. But it is also a result of
the mechanisms that have been implemented since the 1950s, like the Bienal of São Paulo,
which disseminated the vanguards and formed the audience of the arts. Despite the
difficulty faced by a peripher
al country in having access to cultural assets, the limited
resources and the precarious conditions of material production that hinder even more state
-
of
-
the
-
art artistic creation, the kinetic and minimalist anticipations of the Latin American
artists are
remarkable, not to mention the investments that founded a computer art among
us.


Introduction


The text searches for parameters to understand the current production in art and technology
and the formation of a specific audience in Brazil. We believe that
the bases of this
production can be found in the modernist project of constructivist architecture and poetry
and in their respective theoretical models.
In addition to the recent and past mechanisms of
dissemination and incentive to the formation of the ar
ts audience, the local debate received
the contribution of artistic novelties brought to the country by theorists and artists who
were in Europe, like Mário Pedrosa, and by foreigners like Max Bill, who visited Brazil and
imprinted the view of the outsider
. Besides, there was the influence of people like Vilém
Flusser, who lived in our country and worked in universities, educating several generations
of students at the School of Communication and Arts (ECA) of the University of São Paulo
(USP), and at Arman
do Álvares Penteado Foundation (FAAP).


Thus, the information and formation of the artists and of the audience followed many trends
that were sometimes confusing. The trajectory from the first constructivist manifestations
until the recent ones of the emer
ging digital media is not linear; rather, it is full of
contradictions.


The local artists contributed to the international constructivist scenario despite the
limitations. It is a fact that concrete poetry was on a par with the most avant
-
garde
productio
ns in the international scenario, overcoming the local technical difficulties. But
the mental imagery characteristics respond to a more remote pre
-
industrial past of colonial
Brazil. “The Brazilian mental imagery is essentially Jesuitical and baroque” (MAM
MI,



1

Yara

Guasque

is a multimedia artist and a professor with the Post
-
Graduation Program in Visual Arts of UDESC. She
graduated from FAAP with a degree in Plastic Art; she holds an MA degree in Literature from UFSC and a PhD from the
Communication and Semiotics Pr
ogram of PUCSP.
Sandra A. R. Fachinello
is a professor with

UNOCHAPECO and
pursues a MA degree in Visual Arts at UDESC, under the supervision of Yara Guasque.
Silvia Guadagnini
is a visual
artist and graphic designer. She pursues a MA degree in Visual Art
s at UDESC. She researches on interactivity in art.


1995, 1997). Nevertheless, according to Frederico de Morais, “Brazil, that had a baroque
root, was impregnated with Le Corbusier’s rationalism” (MORAIS, 1979, p. 84).


To Mário Pedrosa (Apud ARANTES, 2004), we are anti
-
historicists and, as we do not ha
ve
a tradition to break, we are condemned to be modern. This made us become epidermic, and
the course was changed overnight. But could it be a syncretistic modern?


According to the critic of the end of the 19
th

century Gonzaga
-
Duque, in his book
A Arte
Br
asileira

(Brazilian Art), what at first sight is one of the obstacles to a “genuinely”
Brazilian art gives “a local color to an international academic esthetic taste”
(CHIARELLI,
1995, p.18). Brazil, a country that has no “pure” identity, becomes the stage

for cultural
transfigurations that are a sum of others.


The colonial past


We have always been influenced by foreign cultural models, from language to the artistic
genres, like the landscape painting of the foreigners who portrayed our landscape (Eckhou
t,
Pieter Post, for example). However, some genres gained local culture contours, like the
Baroque, imported from Portugal.


The baroque language in Brazil during the colonial period was vigorously authentic, mainly
in the interior of the state of Minas Ge
rais, with local solutions regarding forms and
materials. According to Lorenzo Mammi (MAMMI, 1995, 1997), the baroque would be an
accommodation of the plurality of languages. To the author, the Brazilian culture is a
superposition of cultures, the real mir
ror of multicultural utopia. It generates, with the
superposition of signs, not a synthesis, but syncretism.


In the enculturation process in Brazil, the foreigners faced an indocile nature that was
paradisiacal and infernal at the same time, according to

the reports. The enculturation
process was composed of surprises and unexpected transpositions, such as the arrival of
king John VI at the country. At the time, he was prince regent of Portugal, and he
abandoned Portugal when Napoleon’s troops invaded the

Iberian Peninsula, in 1807. The
colony Brazil becomes a kingdom in 1815, and the following institutions are implemented
in a short period of time, and during the stay of John VI in Brazil: Museu Nacional
(National Museum), Biblioteca Nacional (National Li
brary), Academia de Belas Artes
(Fine Arts Academy), Imprensa Régia (Royal Press), and Banco do Brasil (Bank of Brazil).
With the Royal Press, lithography was introduced in Brazil without delay compared to
other countries in Europe (FERREIRA, 1976, p.180).

This fact suggests that certain
technologies were implemented by skipping stages, without the proper context of
technological evolution and without duly equipping the cultural institutions. It is necessary
to consider that the orientation to this “excepti
on” came from political and economic
interests. But even with the creation and provision of equipment for institutions like the
Fine Arts Academy in 1816, and the consequent arrival of foreign visitors at the country,
we remained isolated from the European

continent by the ocean until the first transatlantic
telegraph cable was installed in 1874.


Perhaps, due to this insularity, the influences of the Jesuits’ Catholicism, of the indigenous
fetishism and of the African animism could cut deep into our menta
l imagery.


The creation of art patronage and the pedagogical project of the Bienal of São Paulo


The cannibalistic movement of Oswald and Mario de Andrade (1922) promotes a reflection
on how to found our own culture, even with distinct opinions regarding

what “own” would
mean. However, the movement caused, in the 1920s, the return to primitivism, esthetically
rehabilitated by the vanguards. The examples of Portinari and Di Cavalcanti, internationally
recognized artists who, although contemporaneous, did n
ot participate in the Week of
Modern Art (1922), represented a phase of the social economic process marked by a
patriarchal and agrarian structure.



In the 1920s Brazil, economy depended on the coffee cycle as an export product. It
oscillated between its
apex and its crisis. This growth generated richness and was linked to
the import of “necessary” services and luxury merchandise. Products and knowledge made
with foreign technology arrived at the country. São Paulo was the state that most benefited
as coff
ee grower and exporter. It used foreign labor and benefited from the added
knowledge of those who “came from abroad”. Thus, the necessary surroundings were
created and converted into investment in its industry: technical support, employees’
knowledge and p
arts supply. The industry brought the need to disseminate knowledge, even
though it was insignificant.


At the beginning of the 1940s, investments began to be made again into the heavy industry,
for example, the metallurgic industry. Great transformations

occurred due to the fact that
technological knowledge became more accessible, arriving at the country without so much
delay.


As the heavy industry consolidated, the development of technological research became
necessary. It occurred tardily and at the
beginning, research focused on the industrial park
and machine factories.


A result of the economic condition of a society under a process of social rise, the character
of great metropolis that participated in the international artistic scenario was experi
enced by
São Paulo with the foundation of the Bienal, which received mainly North
-
American
investments (OLIVEIRA, 2001).


The opening of the first Bienal of São Paulo, at Avenida Paulista, occurred in October 20,
1951. The end of the Second World War broug
ht important transformations to the entire
Latin America. New economic, political, intellectual and artistic horizons were beginning
to take shape.


In the period after the war, the rules of the game of international forces are altered and
capitalism begi
ns to propose trans
-
national or associated development. The decades in
which the country developed with a national project sustained by the local bourgeoisie were
over. Within this context, in the 1940s and 1950s the city of São Paulo had a favorable
scena
rio for its cultural development, speeding up its economic and industrial rise as a
synthesis of Brazil and the world's shop window.


A metropolitan language was imposed, especially in São Paulo (
ARRUDA
, 2000),
pervaded by the consolidation of the recentl
y initiated progress, to which the present and
the future mattered more than the past.


The Bienal of São Paulo reduced the delay of the real cultural advances that did not
accompany the accelerated life of the metropolis of São Paulo, marked by the
modern
ization spirit. The intention of the Bienal was to put Brazil in the international
scenario of the arts, having the city of Venice as reference, according to Gomes Machado,
the director of the Museum of Modern Art of São Paulo (MAM
-
SP) and artistic directo
r of
the exhibit (1951, p. 4). It truly fostered the national artistic production, although the
modernization deriving from its exhibits and activities occurred against a backdrop marked
by the hegemony dispute between the cities of Rio de Janeiro and São
Paulo (OLIVEIRA,
2001).


In the first city, the capital of the Republic, the initiatives came basically from the State. In
the second, the main center of the upsurge in industrial and demographic growth, the new
cultural enterprises were sustained by a new

patronage, deriving from the emerging sectors
of the society: the industry and the press organizations (
PEDROSA
, 1995, p.239).


Two businessmen from São Paulo were responsible for the modern patronage in the post
-
war period: on one side, Assis Chateaubria
nd (1891
-
1968), known as Chatô, a
communications businessmen who penetrated deeply into the artistic channels; on the other,
Francisco Matarazzo Sobrinho (1898
-
1977), Ciccilo, a factory owner of Italian ancestry
who is now considered
Perpetual President

of

Fundação Bienal.


Other initiatives aimed to transform São Paulo, at the end of the 1940s, into a cultural
center: the creation of TBC (Brazilian Comedy Theater) and of Cia.
Cinematográfica Vera
Cruz
(Vera Cruz Cinema Company)
, by
Ciccilo Matarazzo and Fr
anco Zampari.
Cultural
enterprises became a form of hegemonic struggle, in which Chatô appeared as a culture
entrepreneur because he inaugurated MASP (Musem of Art of São Paulo) in 1947.
However, in the following year, Ciccilo also founded ‘his’ museum of
Modern Art, MAM.
Subsequently, in 1951, the Bienal of São Paulo was founded as an extension of its
activities.


The visitors and the artists who had recently returned from Europe


Besides Le Corbusier, Max Bill visited Brazil in 1950. He mounted an individ
ual exhibition
at MASP and received a prize in the following year in the 1
st

Bienal of São Paulo. Max
Bill’s exhibition produced such an impact on the Brazilian artists that Mary Vieira moved
to Switzerland to join Bill in the Allianz Group. Almir Mavignie
r moved to Germany and
has lived there until today.


The collaborations in the South
-
American context came from utopian foreigners, but also
from “natives” (like, for instance, Mário Pedrosa) who had recently come from Europe.
Carlos Villanueva and Torres

Garcia, the former returning to Caracas in 1929 after having
lived 29 years in Europe and the latter in 1934 to Uruguay, after 43 years of absence, are
foreigners in their countries of origin. Carlos Villanueva agglutinated the plastic arts in the
1950s,
including in his project of the University of Caracas renowned artists, like Calder,
Arp, Léger, Pevsner and Otero. Torres Garcia founded the Constructivist Art Association in
Montevideo. Besides corresponding with international artists, he disseminated te
xts written
by him and by other European constructivists in Latin America, publishing the magazine
Círculo e Quadrado

(Circle and Square) (1943) and his main work
Universalismo
Construtivo

(Constructive Universalism) in 1944, and writing for the magazine
A
rturo

in
the same year.


Perhaps these collaborations explain the valuable contributions of the Latin Americans to
the international constructivist scenario, despite our difficulty, as peripheral countries, in
accessing cultural assets. According to Freder
ico de Morais, kinetic art received the
priceless contribution of the Argentinians Le Parc, Sobrino, Garcia
-
Rossi, Demarco, Marta
Boto, of the Venezuelans Soto, Cruz
-
Diez and Debourg, and of the Brazilian Sérgio
Camargo. And we must not forget the minimali
st anticipations of Amílcar de Castro, Franz
Weissmann, Eduardo Ramirez Villamizar and Mathias Goeritz, the kinetic anticipations of
Abraham Palatnik, and the
multisensory artistic propositions of Ligia Clark and Hélio
Oiticica. Not to mention the investme
nts that founded a computer art among us, undertaken
by Waldemar Cordeiro.


With the influences brought by the visitors and by the artists who had recently returned
from Europe, art underwent an unavoidable process of internationalization, and the
inevitab
le contrast between this international art and the “art” produced here, outside the
European parameters, soon became evident. According to the Eurocentric parameter,
mainly the one that was brought by the French Mission that inaugurated the Fine Arts
Acade
my in 1816, and according

to the Portuguese colonizers, all the native manifestations
produced before the arrival of the French Mission masters are inexistent as art,


such as the
abstract design of baskets, architecture, ritualistic objects and the perfor
ming art of the
Indians and their body painting. Due to this reason, the tradition of figurative representation
is an imported model and

not a native one.


The new inclination towards abstraction brought by the country’s industrialization


The inclination
towards abstraction in the educated layer of the society coincided with the
industrial acceleration that occurred mainly after the war, when many intellectuals returned
to Brazil. It is the case of Mário Pedrosa, who studied philosophy between 1927 and 192
9
in the University of Berlin and became interested in the Gestalt and in abstraction. It is his
the thesis “From the affective nature of forms in the work of art”, submitted in 1949 to
defend the chair in History of Art and Esthetics of the National Schoo
l of Architecture.


Constructivist architecture was a foreign model that was transplanted to Brazil. The social
view of Le Corbusier’s utopia could be tested in the country mainly in the construction of
Brasília. Before this, in the 1930s,
Rino Levi, Warch
avchik, Flávio de Carvalho, followed
by Lúcio Costa had subscribed to Loos
-
Bauhaus approach and to the best constructivist
tradition.


The constructivist architecture represented a cold project of implementation of a foreign
esthetic conception in a countr
y marked by deep social inequalities. According to Otília
Arantes (ARANTES, 2004), Brasília, inaugurated in the 1960s, represented the utopian
view projected by Lúcio Costa of the flying machine that lands on the arid Central Plateau,
breaking the local le
thargy. The form of an airplane presented by the urban planning of
Brasília exposes, according to Otília Arantes, the artificial situation of a city that is distant
from the capitals that have solid cultural and political history, such as São Paulo and Rio

de
Janeiro, built during a natural process. Brasília grew from jumps and implantations and did
not undergo a naturalization process. The landscape, cut to give landing conditions to the
flying machine, is different from the one left by the irradiating org
anic structure of the
construction of the railways. The cities that communicate only through the air agglutinate
the human element just in their periphery. They do not create a network of villages that
penetrates the landscape, characteristic of the cities

that use the railways to communicate
and that agglutinate the human element along the extension of the railways.


The federal capital, distant from the coast and advancing across the
cerrado

(woodland
savanna) showed Brazil’s need for internal communicati
on. Brazilian culture had explored
neither its own frontiers nor its prejudices, because it focused on the sea, mainly on the
European continent. Due to this reason, it would not be a mistake seeing in the
constructivist ideology put into practice in Brasí
lia an example analogous with the
Bauhaus’ project of social construction through art. However, seeing “the intention of an
integrating art” in Niemeyer’s architectural project and in Lúcio Costa’s urban planning
project in Brasília forces the juxtapositio
n of Germany’s
Gesamtkunstwerk
project in a
different social context. The contradictions existing in Brazil cannot be leveled out.


The poet as a technologist


Perhaps due to the fact that poetry does not depend so much on the material conditions of
produc
tion like other artistic modalities, concrete poetry could be on a par with the most
avant
-
garde production in the international scenario, overcoming the local technical and
material difficulties.


In Brazil, the exponents of concrete poetry were the Camp
os brothers, Haroldo and
Augusto, and Décio Pignatari. The group, formed in 1952, launched the magazine
Noigandres
. Later on, the group contacted the constructivist painters that called themselves
Grupo Ruptura. In the same year, this second group mounted
an exhibition in the Museum
of Modern Art of São Paulo and launched a program manifesto. The group was formed by
Fejer, Geraldo Barros, Sacilotto and others, and its leader was Waldemar Cordeiro. This
contact between the two groups produced the idea of org
anizing a big exhibition entitled
“National exhibition of concrete art”, which was held in 1956 in the Museum of Modern
Art. It was the first one of the kind in the world. During the exhibition, issue number 3 of
Noigandres

was launched with the sub
-
title:

concrete poetry. From Rio de Janeiro, two
poets participated: Ferreira Gullar, who was born in the state of Maranhão but lived in that
city, and Ronaldo Azeredo. In the next year, the exhibition was taken to the hall of MEC
-
RJ (Ministry of Education and C
ulture of Rio de Janeiro).


Since its birth, concrete poetry was a pansemiotic “verbal
-
vocal
-
visual” tendency marked
by experimentalism. “This first issue still has concrete poems, but you have an
experimentalism that seems to try to appropriate several la
nguages and overcome stages
quickly in order to achieve something” (
CAMPOS
, apud BARROS and BANDEIRAS,
2002, p.13).


In tune with the newest productions, they corresponded with Max Bill, from the Ulm
School of Design, Germany, through Décio Pignatari, who

met him personally in 1955. The
first conversations produced the idea of launching “Concrete Poetry” (a name proposed by
the poets from São Paulo) internationally. Other exhibitions were staged during the first one
of 1956 in countries like Mexico, Japan,

United States, Italy, Argentina, etc. With concrete
poetry, Brazil had been in the top of the international vanguard. According to Haroldo de
Campos, the Brazilian modernism of the 1922 Week of Modern Art, as it became known,
was 10 years delayed in relat
ion to the Italian futurism.


Theoretical models


Abstract constructivism is influenced by the theories of Gestalt and semiotics. The latter
was more strongly enrooted in the thought of the poets than in that of the plastic artists. The
Literary Theory pr
ogram of PUC
-
SP (Catholic University of São Paulo), coordinated at the
time by Lucrecia D’Alessio Ferrara, had the collaboration of the concrete poets Décio
Pignatari and Haroldo de Campos. The Master’s and doctorate program was subsequently
called Post
-
Gr
aduation Program in Communication and Semiotics, coordinated by Lúcia
Santaella, a renowned Peircean semiotician. This collaboration provided a solid semiotic
basis, especially the Peircean and Bensean (Max Bense) ones, for concrete poetry.


The concrete p
oets were familiarized with Marshall McLuhan’s theories and with
“Information Theory”; “Theory of Signs”, “Semiology”, and “Semiotics”. Décio Pignatari
was responsible for the first translations of Marshall McLuhan’s works into Portuguese,
such as “O meio
é a mensagem” (The medium is the message), and we must highlight
Haroldo de Campos’ participation in a round table composed of, among others,
Buckminster Fuller and Marshall McLuhan himself. The theme was the condition of the
writer in the electronic era i
n 1966 in New York.


Focusing on the question of randomness in permutational art, the poets from São Paulo,
who followed Mallarmé’s “geometry of the spirit” and Pound’s “inspired mathematics”,
were considered cerebral by the poets from Rio, because they cu
ltivated the “mathematics
of composition”. Continuing the poems of mathematical nature, which explored Haroldo de
Campos’ n factorial formula with Álea 1 and Álea 2, the object
-
books such as “Caixa
Preta” and “Poemobiles”, which were a result of the collab
oration between Júlio Plaza and
Augusto de Campos, explore the imbrications between the visual and semantic signs. These
imbrications were also explored in the holographic poetry of Moisés Baumstein, Augusto
de Campos, Júlio Plaza and Wagner Garcia and exe
mplified in Rio by Eduardo Kac’s
holographic poetry.


The poets collaborated with mathematicians and physicists.
“Crítica, Criação, Informação”
(Critic, Creation, Information), for instance, was published by Décio Pignatari and Luis
Ângelo Pinto, a mathema
tician.
This publication proposed the use of statistical and
computer methods in text production and analysis. Also of an interdisciplinary nature was
the pioneering “Curso de Integração Ciência e Arte” (Science and Art Integration Course)
of 1963, in whic
h the Brazilian physicist Mário Schenberg and the poet Haroldo de Campos
were involved. The theme of the course, promoted by the Federal University of Rio Grande
do Sul, was “Indetermination in physics and creativity in the contemporary arts”
(CAMPOS, apud

DOMINGUES, 1997).


A collaboration that did not happen at the time was the electronic exploration of text,
suggested by Palatnik’s example. To the concrete poets, especially Augusto de Campos,
Abraham Palatnik’s
Máquina de Cores
, which participated in th
e 1953 Bienal, was an
invitation to a fruitful collaboration. Palatnik had been developing experimentation
mechanisms with artificial light and movement since the 1940s. These are among the first
attempts to create a kinetic art, and in 1951 he exhibited i
n the Bienal his
Azul e Roxo em
Primeiro Movimento
. The desired multimedia development that would join sight and sound
would be achieved, later on, by Augusto de Campos and the musician Cid Campos, and by
Arnaldo Antunes, who acts between poetry and music.


Concrete and electronic investigations in music


According to Iazetta, during the 1950s and 1960s, two approaches to musical production
created from technological means, the French concrete music and the German electronic
music, were stimulated by resear
ch centers and laboratories dedicated to this area. These
two approaches merged and formed electroacoustic music (IAZZETTA).


The electroacoustic music of the Uruguayan musician living in Brazil Conrado Silva
2

plays
an important role, revealing the union o
f two modalities: the electronic and the concrete. An
example of concrete music is the 1956 one by Reginaldo de Carvalho, and an example of
electronic music is the 1961 one by Jorge Antunes. Despite the pioneering works of
Carvalho and Antunes and, later o
n, of Jocy de Oliveira and Conrado Silva, a long time
elapsed before electroacoustic music found some space in the Brazilian artistic production.
Before Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Venezuela had been carrying out research on
electroacoustic music. In spit
e of this, Instituto Villa
-
Lobos in Rio de Janeiro, directed by
Reginaldo de Carvalho, became a reference center for researching and disseminating
experimental music. In 1956, Reginaldo de Carvalho composed the first Brazilian
electroacoustic works (Sibemo
l, Temática and Troço I), after his studies in Paris with Paul
Le Flem and his concrete music internship at Centre Bourdan, with Pierre Schaeffer. The
composer Jorge Antunes, another precursor of the Brazilian electroacoustic music, worked
at Instituto Vil
la
-
Lobos (IAZZETTA).


These were examples of individual efforts that faced, besides tradition, which ends up
being an obstacle to innovations, the high cost of the equipment. Nevertheless, in 1960,
João José Neto used the synthesizer for musical creation a
nd Luiz Roberto Oliveira
projected and constructed the first MIDI interface, which was the first computer
-
based
sequencer, with the collaboration of the programmer Carlos Freitas and of the electronic



2

Who programmed with the FORTRAN language, also used by Waldemar Cordeiro.

engineer and USP professor Guido Stolfi. Luiz Roberto O
liveira also organized what is
supposed to have been the first electronic music course in Brazil at MASP, in São Paulo,
sponsored by the Department of Culture, Science and Technology of the State of São Paulo.


The first university courses of electroacoust
ic creation that formed another generation of
musicians date back to the 1970s and 1980s. Electroacoustic music only expanded in the
country when the price of the equipment was reduced and personal computers appeared,
after the 1980s. Tim Rescala and Rodol
fo Caesar are some of the names that passed by
Estúdio da Glória, in Rio de Janeiro (1981), one of the independent studios that emerged in
the 80s (IAZZETTA).


The artistic spaces for technological experimentation


Walter Zanini, in “Primeiros tempos da ar
te/tecnologia no Brasil” (The beginning of
art/technology in Brazil), justifies the small production in art and technology by the
difficulty in establishing a space for technological experimentation that would be open to
the Brazilian artists. In addition
to the equipment that was provided for the experimental
spaces, another aspect that determined the flourishing of the production in art and
technology was the crisis of the traditional supports. The new concept of participative
works of art, which are comp
lete only when they are manipulated, was already being
explored since the 40s and 50s in the works of Mary Vieira and Ligia Clark, who invited
the participant to interact; and the rupture of the conception of an object art was present in
the manifestations

of Hélio Oiticica and Ligia Clark, who were heading towards a process
art.


In the 1960s, the first experimental space was mounted in the Museum of Modern Art of
Rio de Janeiro. Lygia Pape, Antônio Manuel, Cildo Meireles, Anna Bela Geiger, Barrio and
Anto
nio Dias carried out research there.


The international exhibitions like the Bienal kept the artists informed about the most
relevant research and brought some examples on art and technology. Even with the boycott
of international participations due to Bra
zil’s military government, the 9
th

Bienal of 1969
timidly opens a section called Art/Technology. The following artists participated in this
Bienal, among others: Chryssa Mavromichali, Utz Kapmann, Gyula Kosice, a
constructivist Argentinian who was the firs
t to use hydraulic technological resources,
Roberto Moriconi, with electrical
-
mechanical experimentations, Efizio Putzolu and
Maurício Salgueiro, who also participated in the 11
th

Bienal of 1971, in the section Art,
Science, Life, Technology.


The first Co
mputer Art exhibition in Brazil was organized by Waldemar Cordeiro in 1971.
The exhibition was called Arteônica


a name formed by the mixture of the Portuguese
words
arte

(art) and
eletrônica

(electronic).
Computer Art in Brazil finds its
methodological a
ntecedent in concrete art. Concrete art was the only one among us that
used digital methods for creation. Coinciding with the period in which the country
presented the highest industrialization index, concrete art provided in Brazil, mainly in the
urban ar
eas, algorithms largely used for communication through industrial means of
production (
CORDEIRO,
apud
BELLUZZO
;
AMARAL
;
RESTAGNY

and
PIGNATARI
,
1986
). The first and phenomenal experimentations in art and technology in the Computer
Art category were conduct
ed by Waldemar Cordeiro, the leading artist of Grupo Ruptura,
who maintained a close relationship with the group of concrete poets. Waldemar Cordeiro,
associated with the physicist and mathematician Giorgio Moscati, carried out, at the School
of Physics of

the University of São Paulo, the first attempts of computational art in 1968.


Another exhibition that showed the most recent research, JAC
-
72, the exhibition VI Jovem
Arte Contemporânea da USP (6
th

Young Contemporary Art Exhibition of USP), at São
Paulo’
s Ibirapuera Park, was characterized by the performances conducted by artists who
gave priority to the process in relation to formal questions. The behavioral experiences
stimulated research with the experimental use of Super 8 and of 16 mm. The temporal
i
nvestigations of video by the expressive participation of plastic artists resembled the
audiovisual, developing a language that Hélio Oiticica called “Almost cinema”. The main
artists were Antônio Dias, Artur Barrio, Iole de Freitas, Raimundo Collares, Lyg
ia Pape,
Antônio Manuel, Luiz Alphonsus and Arthur Omar. These manifestations were shown at
Expo
-
projeção, organized by Aracy Amaral in 1973 in São Paulo.


In the same year of 1973, the 12
th

Bienal had, in its section “Art and Communication”,
Waldemar Cord
eiro, without much repercussion among his peers. Analívia Cordeiro
presented in the same Bienal “Uma Linguagem de Dança” (A Language of Dance), M3x3,
programmed for television and recorded in 16 mm for nine dancers, applying Laban’s
method.


In the program

of the 1973 Bienal, organized by Regina Cornwall, there was a projection of
videotapes of 17 artists. However, for technical reasons, they could not be exhibited. Only
in the 1975 and 1977 Bienais was the participation of video art successful, with the
pr
esence of Nam June Paik, with “Jardim de TV” (TV Garden), Vito Acconci, Richard
Serra, and Bruce Nauman, among others. In the 1973 Bienal, Vilém Flusser was
responsible for the international articulations. He brought Fred Forest, whose proposal was
to mana
ge a communication office with “Passeio Sociológico pelo Bairro do Brooklin”
(Sociological Tour in the Neighborhood of Brooklin). Accompanied by students and by TV
Cultura, Fred Forest recorded situations and unexpected dialogues of his contact with the
po
pulation. In the following Bienal (1975), Fred Forest prepared a media action at MAC
(Museum of Contemporary Art), the Bienal of the year 2000, parodying the event of the
13
th

Bienal.


In the following years, the exhibitions Prospectiva 74 and Poéticas Vis
uais de 1977, both at
the Museum of Contemporary Art, MAC
-
USP, in the Ibirapuera Park, showed explorations
with new technologies, such as xerography, silk
-
screen processes, offset lithography,
postcards, graphs, photographs and slides.


The countless conve
rsations that MAC
-
USP had with USP and FAAP in order to create an
experimental video space were unsuccessful. As a result, in 1976 MAC
-
USP acquired the
Sony portapak equipment, which enabled the fulfillment of projects of many artists, like
Regina Silveira
, Julio Plaza, Carmela Gross, Gabriel Borba, Marcelo Nietsche and Gastão
de Magalhães.


The majority of the first videomakers came from the plastic arts. In the 1980s, the
videographic production had some artists that had studied communication at the Unive
rsity
of São Paulo and parodied the mass production of TV, like Tadeu Jungle and Walter
Silveira, and others, like Pedro Vieira and the members of “Olhar Eletronico”: Fernando
Meirelles, José Roberto Salatini, Paulo Morelli and Marcelo Machado, and Marcelo

Tass
and Renato Barbieri, who entered the group later. Arlindo Machado developed a critic look
over this production. Still in this generation of videomakers, Rafael França and Otávio
Donasci emerge from the plastic arts course of FAAP.


The First Internat
ional Video Art Meeting, held at the Museum of Image and Sound (MIS)
of São Paulo in 1978, aimed to exhibit art and technology presentations that discussed
interactivity and telecommunications. This aim was developed in the Mail Art exhibitions
of the 17
th

Bienal of 1981 and in the Art and Videotext exhibition of 1983, both organized
by Julio Plaza.


Art and telecommunications


Vilém Flusser was right when he remarked that we had in Brazil an unusual situation of
implantation of the audio
-
visual electronic
media over a tradition that was still oral. The
country was acquainted with mass media like the radio and television before it solved its
illiteracy problems.


The precariousness of the Brazilian cultural industry gave space, in the modernization
process,
to the prioritization of the means of mass communication, which started to play a
fundamental role in the search for national integration. From the cultural point of view, the
radio consolidated itself as a mass medium; the cinema became, in fact, a consum
er good;
the publications market enlarged with a greater number of newspapers, magazines and
books; publicity became dynamic with the introduction of multinational companies in the
country.


The importance of the electronic means for the national culture m
ust be emphasized in view
of the size of the country. In the 50s and 60s, the communication system underwent an
expansion process and constituted a factor of relationship, distances reduction and
integration. This macro
-
infrastructure of communication coul
d offer the means for the
development of an artistic culture of national and international scope. In the past, culture
had faced physical difficulties derived from an occupation of the national territory by nuclei
of different dimensions, separated by dist
ances of thousands of kilometers. There were
areas with extremely low population densities, sometimes practically empty. The electronic
resources might correct these anomalies, allowing a better ecological balance between
physical and communicative factors

(
CORDEIRO,
apud
BELLUZZO
;
AMARAL
;
RESTAGNY

and
PIGNATARI
, 1986
).



In Brazil, according to Gilbertto Prado (PRADO apud ARAUJO), the experiments that
involve art and telecommunications using slow
-
scan television began on October 14, 1986,
when the
Sky Art

Conference
was established between the group of the
Center for
Advanced Visual Studies, coordinated by Otto Piene, and the one from the School of
Communication and Arts of USP, coordinated by José Wagner Garcia (PRADO, 1997).
Afterwards, Artur Matuck’s pr
oject
Intercities
, of 1988, connected the cities of São Paulo
and Pittsburgh, also using slow
-
scan television. Together with the cities of Vienna, Lisbon,
Boston, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Vancouver and Los Angeles, São Paulo and
Campinas participate
d in the event that celebrated the Earthday through slow
-
scan
broadcasts and fax transmissions. The
Earthday 90 Global Telematic Network &
Impromptu,

as it was originally called, was organized by the DAX group of the Carnegie
Mellon University at Pittsburg
h. Some of the artists that participated in the event, on April
21 and 22, 1990, were:
André Petry, Anna Barros, Artemis Moroni, Artur Matuck, Carlos
Bottesi, Carlos Fandon Vicente, DAX Group, Eduardo Kac, Elisabeth Bento, Ernesto
Mello, Eunice da Silva, G
ilbertto Prado, Hank Bull, Hermes Renato Hildebrand, Irene
Faiguenboim, Karen O’Rourke, Mário Ramiro, Milton Sogabe, Paulo Laurentiz and Roy
Ascott. Subsequently, the project
Reflux
, conceived and coordinated by Artur Matuck, who
participated in the 21
st

B
ienal of São Paulo in 1991, made broadcasts between different
localities using the fax, slow
-
scan television and computers.


Eduardo Kac has had and outstanding presence in the Brazilian scenario of art and
technology. He has been using interactivity and
the telecommunication systems together
with telerobotics since 1986. His project
Ornitorrinco,
which began in 1989, founded,
according to Kac, telepresence as an artistic project.
Ornitorrinco no Éden,
its more
sophisticated and international version, whic
h established for five hours the bridge between
the cities of Seattle, Chicago and Lexington through the Internet, dates from 1994. The
installation enabled people from different geographical points to observe the event and
control a telerobot in Chicago
(
http://www.ekac.org/kac2.html
).


Implications of the telecommunication policies


The new information technologies revolution considerably shortened the distance between
occurred facts and their media dissemin
ation. According to Silveira (SILVEIRA, 2001),
telecommunications show that the speed achieved in information transfer and the speedy
transfer of capitals and profits are interrelated factors. There is a direct relationship between
data transfer and profit

transfer, that is, the broader the band, the greater the profit. For this
reason, the financial sector is the one that is interested in investing in the information
sector. A sector whose main characteristic is speedy circulation.


Since the recent privat
ization of the governmental telecommunications companies, which
began in the 1990s in Latin America and, in Brazil, in Fernando Henrique Cardoso’s
government, we had a considerable increase in the speed of the access to the Internet. This
caused changes in

regional operators and projects that involve communicational design.


The speed with which knowledge circulates is a privilege that adds power to those who
benefit from it. Telecommunications are in the essence of the so
-
called new information
technologie
s revolution, also known as digital and informational revolution, or access era,
which began with the book of Gutenberg’s era, passed by the mass media, which include
the audio
-
visual broadcasting media, the television and the radio, and by the dialogical
ones, such as the computer, the Internet and the cell phones. The repercussion of power that
articulates with information is immeasurable, even more so because this is intensified by
the scale granted by the mass media.


However, there are neither studies
nor consistent mappings of the current production in art
and telecommunications that show an implication between privatization and the esthetic
resolution of the communicational designs in art. Also, we do not have the means to
evaluate the influence that
the governmental regulations that subordinate the
telecommunications companies have on the formats.



Trans
-
national culture and industry


With the privatization of the telecommunications industry in Latin America, there was,
according to LUGO, SAMPSON and

LOSSADA (2006), a significant allocation of capital
to the sectors of media, telecommunications and computers, enabling a fast and promising
growth. Nevertheless, the applied model does not benefit the local technological
innovations, as it repeats the cl
assic transfer to places where production costs are lower.
This happens because the production costs have become unviable in the headquarters, due
to high taxes and environmental damages.


In the globalization process, even with the outsourcing that ended
up including the
Zona
Franca de Manaus

as part of the production of the videographic cameras, for example, we
cannot talk positively about technology and autonomy transfer, because the vices of the
production chain and the dependence continue. The authors
LUGO, SAMPSON and
LOSSADA say that even the brand
-
new industries of games that operate in developing
countries do not reflect local cultural roots, as they are associated with a production
targeted at the cultural profile of the North American consumer.


T
hese industries are one problem among many others, such as the international exhibitions,
which have become components of the cultural tourism industry. They are the
Maquilladoras Culturais
, as Yúdice (YÚDICE, 2004) calls them. They present the three
key p
rinciples of the post
-
Fordist era: primacy of knowledge, labor flexibility and mobility.
The international exhibitions sell the idea of local cultural capital recycling and are part of
global tourism. These are some of the initiatives that emerged after th
e State abandoned
culture, obliging the artists to look for new agents and solutions to self
-
sustain their artistic
projects. Many times, they were forced to contact directly the businessmen.


Nelson Brissac’s project Arte Cidade uses the motto of the reno
vation of urban areas in São
Paulo that used to be occupied by factories or offices and today are deteriorated. The
project creates an alternative art circuit and tries to interfere in the population of the
decayed urban areas focused by the event, attract
ing the public to those vicinities by
inviting internationally renowned artists to participate.


The formation of a new audience?


Since the 1950s, the role of formation and instruction of a new audience has been played
mainly by the Bienal and by other i
nstitutions that were gradually created.


The pedagogic projects of Bienal de São Paulo were targeted, in their civilizing mission, at
the masses. Since 1953, the task of these projects has been to introduce to the public the
new languages of cubism and ab
stractionism. Since then, the new languages, such as
holographic art, video art, art and communication, etc. have been part of the repertoire of
their pedagogical activities, bringing to Brazil a sample of the European and North
American artistic productio
n. According to Oliveira (2001), "in this context, the Bienal of
São Paulo not only has pedagogical projects, but it is a long and well
-
articulated
pedagogical project which is five decades old".


Recent initiatives focus on the dissemination and formation

of the digital media audience.
In São Paulo, some examples are VideoBrasil, created in 1991 and its Electronic Art
International Festival of 1994, the International Festival of Electronic Language (FILE),
created in 2000, Itaúlab and the exhibitions and s
ymposiums such as Emoção Art.ficial,
promoted by Itaúcultural, and Prêmio Cultural Sergio Motta de Arte e Tecnologia, created
in 2000. In Rio de Janeiro, there are the electronic magazine Canal Contemporâneo, FILE
Rio, and Centro Cultural Telemar, created
in 2005, known today as Centro Cultural Oi
futuro.


Comparing the version of Emoção Art.ficial 1.0 of 2002 with the 2.0 one of 2004, the title
Technological Divergences seems to point to the divergent appropriations of digital
technology. In the 1.0 versio
n of 2002 international research centers were represented.
Among the represented centers and laboratories, there were ZKM, MARS and ART+COM
from Germany, Iamas from Japan, Ars Eletrônica of Future Lab from Linz, Austria, V_2
from Holland, Mecad from Spain,

Experimenta Media Arts from Australia, Daniel Langlois
Foundation and Banff New Media Institute from Canada, Wro Center for Media Art
Foundation from Poland, Sarai/CSDS/RAQS Media Collective from India, Laboratório
Arte Alameda from Mexico and Itaúlab fro
m Brazil. Undoubtedly important to the
formation of the audience, that exhibition was avant
-
garde in terms of research into art and
advanced technology. The only Brazilian artist who composed the panorama of art and
technology was Regina Silveira, whose wo
rk “Descendo a escada” was exhibited,
representing Itaúlab. The other Brazilian artists, such as Gilbertto Prado, Diana Domingues,
Suzette Venturelli, Tânia Fraga and Silvia Laurentiz had the chance of exhibiting their
works only in the symposium of the 1.
0 version.


In the 2.0 version, many Brazilian artists from the art and technology area exhibited their
works, such as Diana Domingues, Tânia Fraga, Rejane Cantone and Daniela Kutschat,
Lucas Bambozzi, Wagner Garcia, Giselle Beiguelmann, Simone Michelin, M
aurício Dias
and Walter Riedweg, Suzette Venturelli, Eduardo Kac, Maria Luiza Fragoso, Kátia Maciel,
Cícero Inácio da Silva and Paulo Bruscky.


Diana Domingues presented in her multimedia installation,
I’mito Zapping Zone,
a robust
system that responded to

inputs from the audience in a penetrable space. The system
allowed the audience to interact with the work. The audience, even the non
-
specialists, felt
inclined to experience their space. This is due to several factors that we want to comment
on. One of t
hem is the fact that, when the audience quickly apprehended the illusionistic
mechanisms of the other installations, they did not feel motivated to return. Another one is
the hermetism of some works, like the one by Minerva Cuevas or the one of the Knowbot
ic
Research, which was technically more complex. Also technically more complex, Christa
Sommerer’s work seemed to require a specialist audience. The works exhibited in the video
room of the artist Ressler did not require a specialist audience, but they dem
anded a longer
observation time, increasing the time during which the people had to remain in the room. In
Christa Sommerer’s work, the people did not interact enough to understand the extent to
which creating the text implied the “genetic” creation of the

digital plant.


The installations should have been easy to apprehend, like the one by Antoni Muntadas, or
else, they should have fostered greater participation, like Diana Domingues’. This leads us
to believe that the audience of such an exhibition thinks

that culture is entertainment, and
navigates the Internet jumping from site to site when they feel unmotivated.


In this sense, the logic of
I’mito Zapping Zone
is really appropriate. A pop space with
varied bric
-
a
-
brac and two large screens on which the

images of the myth referring to the
chosen object were projected. When the object the user had chosen was scanned by the
barcode reader, it made available, side
-
by
-
side in the large screens, video clips, icons in 3D,
and phrases taken from the Internet ab
out Evita Peron or Ayrton Senna, for example. The
installation’s miscellany of elements that attracted the senses does not unveil easily its
immersive strategy which makes the public be an easy hostage.
I’mito Zapping Zone
attracts the public because it co
rrectly considers them avid consumers, addressing them
with the language of the market.


In an exhibition and symposium that discussed the politicization of the debate about digital
media, and which intended to denounce the geopolitics, the power structure
s of the capital
that finance the technological research centers, and to form a new audience,
I’mito Zapping
Zone
really teases both the followers of purely technological exaltation and those of
politicized discussions. The installation did not use the sch
olarly and hermetic language of
the “high culture” of the rooms that exhibit the intellectualized art, which would certainly
be
against the

taste

of the public who is avid for the media (both the television audience and
the Internet one).


Therefore, compa
ring the esthetics of Diana Domingues with that of Minerva Cuevas, it is
possible to say that the former seduced the audience using the language of the market and
the latter gave the audience the instruments to fight against the structure of this market.
H
owever, Minerva’s Robin Hood was not much seductive and the language that was used
was aseptic. Thus, the audience to whom it was directed and who would benefit from its
proposal remained distant.


Poking or diminishing the fire


The culture of the digital

media, with the predominance of the electronic support and the
increasingly greater domain of informatics, may alter perception, according to Mario
Pedrosa. Communication substitutes expression, and design, which is in the service of
industrial ideology,
substitutes art. To the author, the increasingly closer relationship of the
artists with the material production sphere, characteristic of the media production, would
respond only to the laws of the market and would produce alienation. It would never
becom
e an instrument for emancipation and control.


The current scenario is composed by the revered and globalized Brazilians and also by the
emergence of the masses that are excluded from citizenship. The latter have acquired the
status of potential consumers,

dictating the tastes and formats to be revenged like a
consolidated emerging market. For this reason, the recent digital inclusion efforts are
important in order to reduce the unequal access to computerized assets and knowledge
instruments.


The poetics o
f the digital media, like in architecture, depend on the material conditions, but
mainly on the provision of equipment that includes computerized human resources. The
infrastructure must necessarily be more and more sophisticated technologically speaking,
and the professionals must be specialized. Little by little, the initiative, even though timid,
of investing in research has become a fact. In Brazil, it is possible to say that the poetic
production of the digital media is a foreign transplant that is und
ergoing a local
acclimatization. This happened with architecture, which in the past was a constructive
project that came from abroad. Now, the poetic production has been given to the emerging
masses. It is important to highlight that the solutions in the c
ontext of local limitations of
access to sophisticated technologies have generated innovative research and transgressive
poetics that use low
-
tech means.


The update of the cannibalism of the past, reflecting on the difficulty in creating a Brazilian
cultu
ral model, is mandatory in the globalized information society. The obligatory
reflection focuses on the material conditions of production, the built structures of
distribution and of circulation of cultural assets such as art.


The question raised by Emoçã
o Art.Ficial 2.0 of 2004 was not only “How can we politicize
the debate?”, but rather, what attitude we should have regarding this audience that is no
longer interested in high or low culture, new or old media, and whether the language is
legitimized as ar
tistic or not.


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