Sunday, November 25, 2007

Frente 3 de Fevereiro

Frente 3 de Fevereiro is a research and artistic intervention group concerned with racism in Brazilian society. The group’s goal is to create a new understanding and contextualize the fragmented information the general population receives via mass media. The group’s artistic interventions create new forms of protest pertaining to racial issues.

New strategies are required to think and to act in a constantly changing reality permeated by cultural transformations on a diverse scale. Frente 3 de Fevereiro connects with the artistic legacy of generations that thought out new ways to interact with urban space in light of the history of the Afro-Brazilian struggle and resistance.

We Are Zumbi: A Cartography of Racism to the Urban Youth - Chapters 1 & 2 (English - PDF)

About Cartography

Frente 3 de Fevereiro was founded by artists, a filmmaker, a graphic designer, musicians, a historian, a sociologist, a dancer, a lawyer, a set designer and actors. It was born out of this group’s mobilization after a real occurrence: on February 3rd, 2004 when a young black man, Flávio Sant’Ana, was mistaken by a thief and murdered by the São Paulo military police.

To us, the murder of Flávio, a young, recently graduated dentist, was more than a mere fact: it was an exemplary case, a denunciation of social contradiction. The idea of idealized racial democracy in Brazil is perpetuated, affirming a discourse that this is a mixed-race country, which is therefore automatically “free” of racism. On the other hand, Flávio’s death brings forth the daily racial profiling of a young black man as a “suspect”, as a “threat.” Therefore, Flávio Sant’Ana’s murder reveals racial democracy as a deliberate attempt to deny perverse social practices punctuated by legacy of slavery.

Following this event, the group began to observe how the media narrated the story, and we noticed that most of the time, the racial factor easily disappeared in the news, describing the murder as “yet another case of violence.” That was our catch: how to racialize this occurrence? How to expose the racism behind the police’s violent action legitimized by a society that is equally racist and violent?

We performed several actions: we built a horizontal monument in the exact spot where Flávio was murdered—a plate on the floor observing the occurrence in remembrance; we pasted posters throughout the city claiming: “Who polices the police? Police racism.”

Thus we began our cartography trying to decompose the historical thread that has been rendered “natural” through new social practices. But how are these practices structured? What are the limits of the slave legacy in our quotidian experience? How can we break free from this logic by inscribing other forms of sociability?

Cartography is to us more than a map. It is writing understood in a larger sense, a stance before the world. We are cartographers when we recognize and organize that which instigates us to act, giving us hearing, a voice and form to our anxieties and desires, poetically expressing and inscribing onto reality that which moves us.

It is not enough to unveil the past in the present. It is necessary to invent new ways of reading and writing our desires, therefore inventing new forms of sociability. Once we own our daily practices, believing in what we feel, we abandon a place of constant reactions to what is socially reproduced. That way, we recognize our historical legacy and move to an active place where we produce new practices, a new logic, and new maxims, always yet to be invented.

“Everything that voices the movements of desire, everything that serves to coin expressive material, is welcomed. All entry points are good, so long as there are multiple exits. That way the cartographer uses a variety of sources, not only written or theoretical [...]. The cartographer is a true cultural cannibal: always expropriating, appropriating devouring and giving birth, trans-valuing. The cartographer is always seeking elements/nourishment to compose his/her cartographies.”

Zumbi Somos Nós: Cartografia do Racismo para o Jovem Urbano
(We are Zumbi: A Cartography of Racism for Urban Youth) is not a treatise about racism in Brazil. On the contrary, it is an attempt to create a device for dialogue through our paths, doubts and desires. We are Zumbi presents a sketch of our itinerary, the organization of a gaze attentive to quotidian experience, constructed through diverse layers of understanding: our actions, poetic manifestos, text fragments, interviews with scholars, research, newspaper articles, etc.

The group’s artistic actions synthesize different “areas” from this cartography. Our focus on urban space re-signifies quotidian elements through a symbolic “detour.” The power of direct action without institutional mediation, and the creation of poetic situations open to the subjectivity of possibilities to build a different future.

NOVEMBER 13 - 20 : 2007

Political art that is refreshingly amoral

A migratory installation of artists, activists, and militant researchers: in art spaces, parks, and a museum; around a university, under a bridge, and on the train.

These events will bring together artists and activists from throughout Latin America and Los Angeles to create public discussions and performances in Santa Monica, Westwood, Hollywood, Downtown, and on the way to Tijuana.

Participants include: the Internacional Errorista (founders of the errorist movement); Argentine militant performance group Etcétera; Brazilian antiracist art group Frente 3 de Fevereiro; activist sound art collective Ultra-red; BijaRi, an interventionist design+performance+VJ collective from São Paulo; Argentine art and environmental organization Ala Plástica; La Lleca, an artist social intervention based in the prison system in Mexico City; Guatemalan performance artists Regina José Galindo and María Adela Díaz; Ecuadorian performance artist Jenny Jaramillo; and Los Angeles performance ensemble Butchlalis de Panochtitlan. Participants also include leading feminist artists Mónica Mayer, from Mexico City; Kirsten Dufour, from Copenhagen, and Suzanne Lacy, from L.A.; the Mothers of East Los Angeles; the former Eastside Artistas; anthropologist Pilar Riaño-Alcalá; Boyle Heights community garden Proyecto Jardín; editors of the magazines Make/shift and LOUDmouth; Xicana/Indigenous filmmakers collective Womyn Image Makers; the creators of just space(s); The Journal of Aesthetics & Protest; and architect Teddy Cruz.

TRÁNSITOry PÚBLICO is presented in collaboration with the Political Equator II.

Download Tránsito(ry) Público / Public(o) Transit(orio) Poster (PDF)

Download The Political Equator II Poster (PDF)

Sunday, November 04, 2007

The Pocho Research Society

The Pocho Research Society is a collective of artists, activists and rasquache historians who reside in Los Angeles.

Dedicated to the systematic investigation of space, memory and displacement, the PRS understands history as a battleground of the present, a location where hidden and forgotten selves hijack and disrupt the oppression of our moment.


Operation Invisible Monument

Public monuments are undeniably important sites in the projection and erection of hegemonic constructs. They often monumentalize heroic, romantic and militaristic versions of history and thereby deny density and complexity. Los Angeles is a rich and fertile terrain for the investigation of bulldozed and forgotten stories

In Operation Invisible Monument, the Pocho Research Society (PRS) confronts the construction of history through the public monument. Anonymous members installed mock historic plaques at four locations. These monuments entitled Tropical America, El Otro Ellis, The Displacement of the Displaced and The Triumph of the Tagger, commemorate moments in Los Angeles history that have not been officially recognized. In the first of several actions, the PRS identified strategic sites in an effort to pay homage to historic erasure. By inserting plaques, the PRS hopes to interrupt historical amnesia, trigger memory and interrogate the present in order to see the world with fresh eyes rather than the diesel haze of a media-blurred present. The result, ideally, is a reconstruction or destruction of the hegemonic world view responsible for the erection of the site's original monuments.

SITES: Tropical America / Displacement of the Displaced / El Otro Ellis / Triumph of the Tagger

Echoes in the Echo: A Series of Public Interventions About Gentrification In and Around Echo Park

Echoes in the Echo is a series of public interventions that will explore History and memory in and around Echo Park. This phase of the project commemorates a few of many queer Latina/o spaces that were a "home" to many for periods of up to a couple of decades and have since changed ownership and now cater to a new, straighter, younger and whiter clientele. This project takes place while the city, itself, is at a crossroads in its own history. Dramatic increases in real estate prices coupled with commercially driven development projects facilitated by elected officials are two of a multitude of forces that push many working class communities out of the city "core." Waves of new 'immigrants' (albeit from the Midwest) have in the process displaced longstanding cultural spaces created over several decades. Within this massive “land grab” questions like ‘where do drag queens, closeted quebradita dancers and gay cholos go once they been pushed out?’ arise. How and who defines a space? Is a space defined by its present incarnations or does its past ruthlessly resurface like dust in unswept corners?

Artist Leaves Mark on Former Latino Gay Bars (89.3 KPCC)

There's no shortage of opinion in the Southland about what constitutes a landmark. Earlier this week, in the dead of night, one Los Angeles artist cemented her own historical plaques to commemorate the Latino gay bars she says have been gentrified out of the Silver Lake area. KPCC's Adolfo Guzman-Lopez went along and filed this report.

Operation Invisible Monument @ The October Surprise

SITES: The DeCenter / The Popular Resource Center / The Vex


Operation Invisible Monument / The Journal of Aesthetics & Protest, Issue#3

Sandra de la Loza Statement & Biography