Since its inception in 1983, the Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil has played a central role in both asserting the presence of video in the institutional sphere and as a platform for artistic production coming from outside the Western circuit. So, in this 20th edition, the festival’s name might sound a little anachronistic: works are no longer exclusively related to videos neither restricted to Brazilian production. Nomenclature aside, its remarkable program is precisely how the festival has been reviewing its scope during these 34 years. Since the 8th edition, a focus on an underrepresented artistic scene from the geopolitical South began to be defined. More recently, the curators have assumed their event as a cultural platform of the Global South, a complex term charged with meaning and defined by a variety of practices beyond the geographical boundaries.
This very condition brings about a necessary and constant debate about the criteria that apply to the countries artists submitting entries for open calls are born or resident in. Currently these regions are in Latin America, Africa, parts of Asia, the Middle East and Eastern Europe. In the last 19th edition, the economic turmoil in Greece made it possible for this country to be included. For the current edition, another addition were the Portuguese-speaking countries, including Portugal for its similar peripheral condition in Europe.
Opened on 3 October and running until 14 January, 2018, this current edition is more reduced than its predecessor in 2015, which had marked the inauguration of Galpão VB, the new headquarters of Associação Cultural Videobrasil where one of three exhibitions was hosted. Gathering works by 50 artists from 25 countries, this year’s only show, Southern Panoramas, and the parallel activities are concentrated throughout the SESC Pompeia, a former factory, and Lina Bo Bardi’s architectural project.