Open from July 6 through August 10, 2018, the call for the selection of artists for the 21st Contemporary Art Biennial Sesc_Videobrasil receives applications of works in any format and language from the Global South, Portuguese-Speaking Countries, and members of native peoples from any country. The selected artists take part in the exhibition at Sesc 24 de Maio and in parallel activities at Galpão VB (São Paulo, Brazil) from October 2019, through February 2020, and compete for awards granted by the 21st Biennial:
- State of the Art Award – Cash prize in the amount of R$100,000 for best participating artist or group.
- Sesc Contemporary Art Award – Two prizes for works by Brazilian artists in the amount of up to R$50,000 each. Works will become part of the Sesc Brazilian Art Collection
- Residency Awards – Offered to three young artists to support the production of a unique work in partnership with the Videobrasil’s residency network (details to be announced soon)
- O.F.F. Award – Cash prize in the amount of R$25,000 offered by the Ostrovsky Family Fund to an artist with original research on moving image.
About the 21st Contemporary Art Biennial Sesc_Videobrasil | Imagined Communities
From different shades of the political spectrum, nationalism has reemerged as a critical theme to understand the disputes that shape our time, raising questions about the duration and scope of this new regressive cycle. In this context, the 21st Contemporary Art Biennial Sesc_Videobrasil | Imagined Communities borrows the title of Benedict Anderson’s classic study of the rise of nationalism to investigate how poetics stemming from the South have been addressing the phenomenon. Without losing the geopolitical focus, the curatorial team of the 21st Biennial, composed of Gabriel Bogossian, Luisa Duarte, Miguel López, and Solange Farkas, intends to expand the repertoire of questions and broaden the diversity of the voices we hear. Thus, they consider stateless communities, indigenous peoples, religious or mystical communities, communities uprooted from their original lands, fictional, utopian, and clandestine communities, or those constituted in the subterranean universes of sexual experiences and dissident bodies.
Aiming at a more explicit positioning in the global art scene, and without neglecting current changes in our local context, we have now adopted the name Contemporary Art Biennial Sesc_Videobrasil. With its usual dynamism and originality, the Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil enters a new stage, aligned with the purposes and international calendar of Biennials.
Such changes do not alter the Festival’s encouragement of art production outside the market, the creation of reflective content through seminars, debates, and publications, the initiatives to educate audiences, and the incentive for concrete exchange among artists. Opening in October 2019, the 21st edition unfolds into three curatorial platforms—exhibition + film program, public programs, and publication—each one in the charge of a guest curator.
Videobrasil is a contemporary art biennial, an art venue, and a cultural association that researches and disseminates art produced in regions of the world’s geopolitical South—Latin America, Africa, Eastern Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Chaired by Solange Farkas, it is part of a network of initiatives that includes exhibitions, displays, publications, documentaries, meetings, and artistic residencies. Galpão VB, a research, exhibition, and meeting space, houses and activates the collection of works and publications gathered by Videobrasil since the Festival’s creation in 1983.
The Sesc – Serviço Social do Comércio (Social Service of Commerce) is a private nonprofit institution, established in 1946 by entrepreneurs of the goods and services market all over Brazil. In the state of São Paulo, Sesc has 39 centers that encompass its areas of activity in fields of Culture, Education, Sports, Leisure and Health. Sesc São Paulo activities are guided by their educational nature and the pursuit of social welfare based on a comprehensive understanding of the term culture. In this sense, by offering full accessibility to its spaces and contents, the institution aims at the democratization of cultural assets as form of individual autonomy.