Associação Cultural Videobrasil and Edições Sesc São Paulo have launched the tenth Caderno Sesc_Videobrasil. Working under the theme Uses of Memory, Elvira Dyangani Ose, the first non-Brazilian curator ever invited to conceive a Caderno issue, compiled essays by some of the foremost artists and researchers from African and diaspora countries.
The launch event in São Paulo featured a conversation between Dyangani Ose, the curator of the 8th Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art – GIBCA (2015) and former international art curator for Tate Modern (2011–14), and Theo Eshetu, one of the collaborating artists for the publication.
The essays and artistic propositions in Caderno Sesc_Videobrasil 10: Uses of Memory relate to Dyangani Ose’s choices for the GIBCA and provide an instigating panel of ideas that can transform the historical perception of Africa. The collaborations address the scenario of decolonization, pondering on archives and history as the focus of art.
“Many contemporary artists defy the claim of history’s truthfulness or completeness, and claim art as an exercise in memory construction and/or retrieval that aims to reformulate historical representation. The artists and scholars invited to this edition of Caderno Sesc_Videobrasil follow that particular current,” Elvira relates. To the guest collaborators on this publication, “art provides them with an alibi to claim from an individual perspective the narration of a collective memory,” the editor writes.
Caderno Sesc_Videobrasilis an annual magazine that transposes contemporary curatorial possibilities into the print medium. Each issue is devised by a different guest editor who plays the role of a curator, autonomously building an editorial project with contributions from artists and scholars, resulting in a multifaceted reflection, at once plural and cohesive, about a relevant current subject. Caderno Sesc Videobrasil 10: Uses of Memory is available at Sesc São Paulo’s online bookshop.
Contents and collaborators
In “Archiving to Oblivion” Yaiza Hernández Velázquez, a professor in Exhibition Studies, Philosophy and Art Theory at Central Saint Martins (London, United Kingdom), explores the reasons why archives “became a concern of contemporary art” throughout the 1990s.
Chimurenga collaborates with “FESTAC ’77 – A Research Project”, a mapping of the legacy of the 2nd World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture, held in Lagos, Nigeria’s biggest city, in 1977.
Theo Eshetu‘s “Blood. Of light and likeness” is a fragmented account based on video footage from his trip to Ethiopia to pay tribute to his grandfather, a former member of the court of Emperor Haile Selassie (1892–1975).
Maryam Jafri presents “Getty vs Ghana / Corbis vs Mozambique / Getty vs Kenya vs Corbis”,which contrasts identical historical photographs found in these countries’ official archives with those found in the image banks of commercial photo agencies, denouncing their inattentive compilation of data and manipulation of photographs.
The Otolith Group examines postage stamps issued in Africa during the 1960s in “Narcissus in Uniform”, claiming said stamps overlooked the unstable land of Africa’s newly independent states. Having exhibited in major museums and events around the world, The Otolith Group is featured in Videobrasil Collection.
In “Nice Time”, artist and researcher Emma Wolukau-Wanambwa focuses on photographs from the 1950s of prisons in the Uganda Protectorate, smuggled into the United Kingdom to ensure that the former colonies had no access to information that might embarrass the government or constitute grounds to legal claims.
In “A different direction: writing history with the craft of a work of art”, the critic, curator, editor and researcher Tracy Murinik interviews Premesh Lalu, a history professor and the director of the Centre for Humanities Research at the University of Western Cape in South Africa, about the intersections between art and history in the country and in Africa as a whole.