Sunday, November 25, 2007
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)
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.
TRÁNSITOry PÚBLICO | PUBLIC TRANSITorio
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)