Flavio de Carvalho: Media Artist Avant la Lettre

by Rui Moreira Leite

Translation by Izabel Murat Burbridge, with additional translation by Eduardo Kac

ABSTRACT: This paper examines the work of Brazilian artist Flàvio de Carvalho (1899--1973) from the perspective of contemporary media art, highlighting his practical and theoretical legacy. Initially associated with the Anthropophagy art movement, Carvalho used mass media creatively and incorporated insights from psychology, sociology and anthropology into his art. He realized events that went beyond "performance art," including a pioneering presentation on television in 1957. This article offers a brief overview of Carvalho's trajectory.


This article presents certain aspects of the work of Brazilian modern artist Flàvio de Carvalho (1899--1973) reinterpreted from a contemporary viewpoint: the early days of his career as an architect, in 1927--1929, when he championed the press as forum for the discussion of projects he entered in official contests; and three subsequent instances in which, driven by personal pursuits, he executed projects that favored personal experience over the creation of art objects. In his Experiencia No. 2 (Experience #2), Carvalho challenged Corpus Christi procession attendants with the objective of testing their reaction (1931); designed a provocative men's summer outfit that he wore on the streets of downtown São Paulo (1956); and joined an expedition destined for making first contact with Native American Indian tribes on the upper Rio Negro (1958). In all three instances, the events became independent of the investigation that originated them. Well aware that the media is the arena for public action, the artist always sought to secure extensive press coverage for his creations. Almost a decade before the emergence of video art, Carvalho's flaunting in his original summer attire was covered live on television. A proper understanding of these aspects of the artist's work requires a preliminary description of his career and the context in which he operated [1].

The Brazilian Modernist trend, the earliest manifestations of which date to the second half of the 1910s, asserted itself throughout the 1920s. This initial combative period, which began in São Paulo with the Semana de Arte Moderna (Week of Modern Art) in February 1922, ended with the onset of the Antropofagia (anthropophagy) movement, launched by Oswald de Andrade (1890--1954) and Raul Bopp (1898--1984) in 1928. They envisioned the incorporation of European culture into the Brazilian scene (hence the choice of the word "anthropophagy," a synonym for cannibalism) through a particular approach based on indigenous myth and tradition.

After attaining a degree in civil engineering in 1922 from the University of Durham at Newcastle upon Tyne, where he also attended art school, Flàvio de Carvalho returned to Brazil in the second half of the same year. In São Paulo, where he settled, Carvalho initially remained detached from the city's group of Modernist artists and writers. Only in early 1928, when he started his career as an architect with a project design for the Governor's Palace in São Paulo, did he come in closer contact with the Modernist circle. Carvalho adhered to the Antropofagia movement in 1928 when he entered an international design competition for the Columbus Memorial Lighthouse in the Dominican Republic. Flàvio de Carvalho's design combined the Futuristic style of monumental buildings surrounding the huge lighthouse structure and interior design with decorations inspired by pre-Columbian cultures and civilizations. Carvalho attended the Fourth Pan-American Congress of Architects, held in Rio de Janeiro in 1930, as delegate of the Antropofagia movement. At the event, he held a conference titled "A Cidade do Homem Nu" (The City of Naked Man), in which he proposed an urban Utopia: the city transformed into an immense home where a single chartered authority, namely a research center, was to set guidelines for individual and community life. The conference title endorsed the idea of individuals ridding themselves of the taboos imposed on them by Christianity, which was one of the tenets of Antropofagia.

Flàvio de Carvalho's artworks earned him recognition as a painter almost exclusively devoted to rendering portraits and nudes with a personal, Expressionist accent. In addition to contributing to the Brazilian modern movement with his work, Flàvio de Carvalho stood out, particularly in the 1930s, as the most celebrated cultural producer in São Paulo. In his role as secretary of the Clube dos Artistas Modernos (Modern Artists' Club), he organized recitals, lectures and exhibitions animated by lively debates, held throughout the year of 1933. At the end of that year, he heralded the renovation of stage acting with the performances of his Teatro da ExperiAEncia (Experience Theater). Finally, as May Salon organizer and collaborator in 1938 and 1939, he was among the first to show works by contemporary European and U.S. artists in Brazil.

In 1938 Flàvio de Carvalho's architectural vision was realized for the first and last time in a group of 17 houses built in a middle-class São Paulo residential district and in his family home at Fazenda da Capuava, a farmstead near Valinhos in the state of São Paulo. His design of the townhouses combined interpenetrating interior volumes with his personal version of Expressionism---in two houses, the layout made their faU`ades look like human faces. In the farmhouse, the central salon, with a trapezoidal shape and 25-ft-high ceiling, brought to mind the monumental designs of the previous decade. In this house, however, interior design and lighting played a key role in creating the unique atmosphere. Kinetic art pioneer Abraham Palatnik (1928--) cherishes the memory of a night he spent at the farm in 1951---while the First São Paulo Biennial was being held---together with art critic Mario Pedrosa (1900--1981) and Flàvio de Carvalho. In the dining room, the lighting under the crystal tabletop cast distorting shadows on the faces of diners at the table, leaving their plates in darkness: a true "diabolical feast," in Palatnik's words [2]. In the central salon, an apparatus sprayed water on the aluminum fireplace hood, thus producing a cloud of steam that was colored by special lighting. For the ceiling, Carvalho designed an enormous reflective aluminum plate, flanked with colored lamps, that was meant to slide from under a skylight so as to let in daylight or offer a night view of star-studded skies.

As a consequence of the economic crisis of 1929, the restructuring of the Brazilian government brought about by the "1930 Revolution" made room for participation by political dissidents. In the field of culture, São Paulo intellectuals introduced a series of reforms and reorganization projects, including the founding of São Paulo University in 1934 and the creation of the Department of Culture of the São Paulo city administration in 1935. During this decade, when social and political issues replaced the formal investigation that had marked the 1920s, Flàvio de Carvalho remained at the hub of activity as an organizer, although his work ran counter to the prevailing trend in Brazil, which championed social engagement. Likewise, in the 1950s, when various abstraction trends reached their apex, Carvalho's work maintained an individual direction founded on his personal inquiries into anthropology and psychoanalysis. Beginning in the 1940s, Carvalho published a series of articles in São Paulo newspapers manifesting his unique vision and interests. But Carvalho's creations were not restricted to writing. His artistic investigations into the realm of fashion conventions led him to launch a controversial summer men's outfit that he paraded in downtown São Paulo, and his interest in anthropology drove him to join an expedition to establish contact with indigenous tribes in the Amazon jungle.

Media Architecture

In 1922, Flàvio de Carvalho began his professional career in Brazil when he got a job working as a structural designer for a São Paulo engineering company. In those days, the ideas that had informed Brazilian literary and visual Modernism had not yet influenced architecture. By the time of the exhibition of project designs for the São Paulo Governor's Palace in January 1928, the situation had begun to change. São Paulo's first modern-style home, designed by Russian-born architect Gregori Warchavchik (1896--1971), was then under construction. Warchavchik and a colleague of Italian descent, Rino Levi (1901--1965), had already published texts in the press defending the new style.

Flàvio de Carvalho used the official competition to present to the press a personal interpretation of the Modernist movement rendered in his project design. Several characteristics of both the design and its presentation had the quality of a manifesto: Carvalho conceived the Palace as a reinforced-concrete stronghold equipped with airstrips, a fallout shelter, defensive weaponry and powerful searchlights. Although his unique proposal required more detailed explanation, Carvalho was not in a position to offer any direct elucidation because he had entered the contest under a pseudonym. Speaking up would have meant exposing his real identity. Thus, as parts of the project description were published (Fig. 1a), he presented clarifications, attributing them to a fictional engineer. The project made the front page of the evening daily Diàrio da Noite [3], with accompanying sketch reproductions showing a night view of the Palace, with searchlights (Fig. 1b) and mural decorations proposed for the building halls (Fig. 1c).

Fig. 1a
Fig. 1b Fig. 1c Fig. 1d

Fig. 1.

Other design competitions in which the architect entered his works, always under the pseudonym "Efficácia" (Effectiveness), included the Argentine embassy in Rio de Janeiro, in March 1928; the Minas Gerais University in Belo Horizonte, in November 1928; and the State of São Paulo Congressional Palace, in February 1929. All his designs featured unique constructive details in monumental buildings. Notwithstanding the jury having excluded his design for the Argentine embassy, Flávio de Carvalho managed to have illustrations of the front and side views of his project published in a Rio de Janeiro newspaper, but he was not granted press space for discussion of the project. As for his Minas Gerais University plan, illustrations showing the front and side views of the project the architect had designed under the pseudonym Efficácia were published in O Cruzeiro, a weekly news magazine distributed throughout Brazil. Clearly, Carvalho actively employed the media to disseminate his architectural ideas [4].

Flàvio de Carvalho's architectural designs clashed with conservative tendencies at their own den, the official competitions. Hence the manifesto character of these designs and the architect's attempt to link them all to the same author under a common pseudonym. In the case of the Governor's Palace design, the idea of a stronghold equipped with heavy weaponry stressed the designer's oddity while illustrating his tenacity and sense of humor.

The idea of the press as principal space for publicizing Carvalho's projects was conveyed on the design plates, which were always set on a dark background to facilitate the reproduction process. In the design of the Governor's Palace, Flàvio de Carvalho produced a second plate (Fig. 1d) showing the building faU`ade---the night view with searchlightsO?N--because the original plate showing the faU`ade was not optimized for newspaper reproduction (i.e. it did not have a dark background).

Experience #2: Art as Experience and Mass Psychology

In 1931 Flàvio de Carvalho carried out Experience #2, in which he challenged the participants in a religious procession. This piece was the first in a series of experimental works predicated on creating new experiences that revealed the tension between the individual and society.

It all happened on a sunny June morning. As he watched a Corpus Christi procession moving along the streets of downtown São Paulo, Flàvio de Carvalho conceived the idea of conducting an investigation into mass psychology. He went home, put on a green cap bought in his college days in England, and went back to meet the procession, which forbids the use of head coverings for men. Immediately one of his peers cautioned him to cease this deliberate provocation. Undisturbed, Flàvio de Carvalho mingled in the cortege, now moving against the procession, now approaching younger women with unsolicited attention. Soon the early, timid voices of protest were joined by cries of objection and admonishments for him to uncover his head. Gradually these demands grew more insistent, to the point that a boy snatched the cap from his head. Immediately, however, the boy handed the cap back to Carvalho, challenging him to put it on again. Just as the artist started to verbally defy the mob around him, a clamor for lynching began, which promptly led a group of people to gather logs from a firewood pile outside a nearby bakery. At this point, the artist was forced to make a swift departure from the scene, bumping hastily into unaware procession attendants. Finally he took refuge on the roof of a dairy shop, from which he was rescued by a police squad under insulting remarks from his pursuers. Flàvio de Carvalho was taken to the nearest police station for questioning. He was released after stating who he was and explaining his mob-psychology experiment [5].

Later in 1931, Carvalho published a book, also called Experience #2, containing an account of the episode and his own interpretation of its results on the basis of concepts found in texts by Freud and ethnographer James Frazer. According to Carvalho, his defiant attitude had transformed him before the eyes of the faithful into an extension of the Holy Father God. Therefore only his assassination could appease the crowd's totemism, just as the young men of primitive hordes, whose sexual instincts were repressed, killed their fathers. The best part of the book comprises the pages in which the author offers a lively description of the experiment, abundantly illustrated with his own drawings (Fig. 2a). Although all São Paulo newspapers reported on Flàvio de Carvalho's experiment (Fig. 2b), they were all informed by the artist's own statement to the police.

Fig. 2a Fig. 2b

Fig. 2.

Experience #3: Launching a Summer Outfit

In 1956, Carvalho conducted his ExperiAEncia #3 (Experience #3), which consisted of parading the streets of downtown São Paulo dressed in a provocative summer outfit he had designed. The ensemble, presented as men's attire, included a short skirt, blouson and sandals to be worn with or without fishnet hosiery. Carvalho, who had started researching the evolution of clothing in the early 1930s, presented this innovative design concept for the first time in an interview with journalist and art critic Luis Martins (1907--1982) in 1952 [6]. He claimed to have taken into account the body's need for ventilated clothing to prevent it from getting sticky with sweat. His intention was to promote the quick evaporation of sweat from the skin and, consequently, reduce the sensation of body heat [7]. Flàvio de Carvalho's study on the evolution of clothing, which he released in the press in that same year, was a decisive factor in his design of the summer outfit [8].

Finally, he announced the forthcoming official launch of the new outfit, which was produced for him by Maria Ferrara, sewing studio director of Ballet do IV Centenàrio (the ballet company sponsored by the São Paulo city administration, for which Flàvio de Carvalho had designed stage sets and costumes).

Although the announcement was made in late June 1956, it was only on 18 October that Flàvio de Carvalho launched his new design on the streets of downtown São Paulo, where his studio was located. On the occasion, this striking nearly 6-ft-tall man unperturbedly paraded the new style before astonished and amused passersby (see article frontispiece, top). He further discussed the advantages offered by the outfit in terms of perspiration control and quality of the specified fabric. To facilitate the work of news reporters following him on his promenade, Flàvio de Carvalho visited the writing room of the media complex Diàrios Associados, where he stood on a table to show off his innovative design to photographers (see article frontispiece, bottom). Prompted by reporters, he went back on the street and even managed to enter a movie theater, flagrantly violating the dress code, which required coat and tie for men [9]. The news of Flàvio de Carvalho's summer outfit was reported throughout Brazil in newspapers as well as in the only two weekly magazines of nationwide distribution at the time, O Cruzeiro and Manchete. Then, before the issue vanished from news reports, Flàvio de Carvalho left for Rome, where he showed his paintings.

After his return to Brazil in the beginning of 1957, Carvalho appeared on an evening TV talk show hosted by actor Paulo Autran [10]. For the show, broadcast live from Carvalho's studio [11], the artist wore his summer outfit (Fig. 3a). On this occasion, he remarked on the progress of his research in a manner that showed his unique sense of humor. In 1958 the artist designed and produced a printed card (Fig. 3b) with sketches and diagrams of the summer outfit. The card was designed to disseminate the concept of the summer outfit that, he claimed, had not been fully grasped. In view of the wide repercussions of his endeavor, in a 1963 lecture Carvalho announced his intention to write a book featuring his analysis of reactions he provoked. "One day I intend to write a book on my experience with fashion, including the emotional impact it caused on the Brazilian nation, based on the newspaper clippings I have; I plan to classify them and write a book I will call Experience #3" [12].

Fig. 3a Fig. 3b

Fig. 3.

Experience #4: An Amazonian Expedition

In 1958 Flàvio de Carvalho joined an Amazonian expedition launched to establish first contact with a Native Brazilian tribe on the upper Rio Negro. When reporting on this undertaking, the media referred to it as ExperiAEncia #4 (Experience #4). The artist's interest was stirred by the prospect of furthering his investigation on human and social evolution as previously featured in the press. Furthermore, Carvalho was obsessed with the idea of uncovering the origins of humanity in the American continent, as he indicated in numerous texts [13]. In fact, he had taken part in an earlier expedition that film producer M1/2rio Civelli (1923--1995) organized in 1952 for the shooting of O Grande Desconhecido (The Great Unknown). On that occasion, the film crew came in close contact with the Karaja tribe on Bananal Island. When Flàvio de Carvalho undressed to join in a tribal dance, he complained to expedition member and wilderness explorer Francisco Brasileiro (1906--1989) about other expedition members who joined the dance fully dressed: "Do you think I have come this far to dance with Christians?" [14]

As at the time when the summer outfit was launched, Flàvio de Carvalho announced the expedition well in advance. A first reference to the journey was made in an interview the artist gave after his return from a trip to northern and northeastern Brazil. During his visit to Manaus, Carvalho had applied at the Servio de Proteio aos Indios (Indian Protection Agency), or SPI, to become a member of the first expedition to contact the Xiriana tribe. The journey was scheduled for May 1958. However, successive delays and the rainy season ended up postponing the group's departure. In the meantime, Flàvio de Carvalho publicized his plans to shoot a film in the jungle. This production was to double as travelogue documentary and feature film based on the saga of a white girl abducted by Indians, who lived in their tribe as a goddess for 20 years before returning to civilization [15]. After the announcement the artist engaged in busy activity, selecting actresses for the leading role and purchasing equipment for the film and expedition.

Following the ample news coverage of the preparations based on information that the artist himself spread, the expedition finally departed. During its initial phase, Flàvio de Carvalho contributed accounts that were published in the São Paulo press. The event gradually drew so much attention that the newspapers went so far as to report the total lack of news from the group. The journey ended after having successfully made contact with the Xiriana tribe; however, the artist returned without having produced the intended footage [16].

The accounts of Flàvio de Carvalho and cameraman Raymond Frajmund (1927--) allowed the reconstitution of the history of their contact with the Waimiri-Atroari, Paquidare and Xiriana tribes. Among other deeds, the artist managed to shoot footage of the Waimiri-Atroari on Camanau River and of the Paquidare on Demini River, where he attended a ritual cremation ceremony. However, the most interesting accounts concern the Xiriana tribe, settled near the source of the Orinoco River, close to the Brazil-Venezuela border. After several days of travel on foot, the expedition members suddenly found themselves surrounded by 200 to 300 Indians. A few hours later the natives led the group to their village and gave them food. Among other things, expedition members attended a ritual that began with Xiriana warriors sniffing a brown powder. The more they sniffed, the more agitated and erratic in manner they became. Finally they gathered in pairs, as related in a description by Flàvio de Carvalho (Fig. 4) [17].

Fig. 4a Fig. 4b
Fig. 4c Fig. 4d

Fig. 4.

Conclusion: "Art Foresees the Future Doings of Social Beings"

Ultimately, the descriptions of Flàvio de Carvalho's interventions reveal, on the one hand, the promotion of living experience to the category of art making and, on the other hand, an awareness that the media stands as an arena for public performance and social intervention, hence the artist's interest in communicating his works through mass media. Carvalho's endeavor to secure newspaper space in which to discuss his architectural designs was followed by news reports on his Experience #2. The artist only made a full assessment of the importance of the media when he began his careful preparations to launch the summer outfit and, later, in the successive stages of the Amazonian expedition. His interest in the expedition was stirred by the possibility of making contact with the Xiriana, and the film was conceived as a means to ensure publicity for the event. This deduction is made based on the fact that Carvalho did not produce even a rough draft of the film script, thus practically preventing the connection between the real (a record of the expedition) and the imaginary (the presentation of the white goddess figure in the feature film).

Fig. 5 Fig. 5 Fig. 5

Flàvio de Carvalho's body of work is very rich and deserves to be studied in greater depth. Several of his projects indicated possibilities that were only pursued later by other artists. His little-known postage stamps (Fig. 5), created in 1932, are among the earliest pieces of mail art. In 1951 he created a luminous-kinetic costume that his friend, Zilda Vergueiro, wore when she dressed up as a pearl for the Carnival Ball held at Clube dos Artistas e Amigos das Artes (Artists and Art Friends Society) in São Paulo (Fig. 6). As part of the apparatus, a hand switch turned on blinking lights that were speckled all over the costume. Also noteworthy is a series of works created with fluorescent paint in 1970, which were exhibited the same year in São Paulo and Santos.

Fig. 6

Fig. 6.

The identification of aspects of his work with the art scene of the 1960s prompted the reinterpretation of Experience #2 (his confrontation with religious procession followers) and of Experience #3 (the launching of the costume) as a harbinger of happenings and performances. Currently, Flàvio de Carvalho's contribution towards media-based electronic art can be seen in the first series of his architectural designs (discussed and presented in the newspaper space) and in his experiments (characterized by the importance ascribed to the event itself) with press and television media. Of particular relevance is his emphasis on experience and his involvement in interactive situations in which he negotiated the flow of events in real time.

Flàvio de Carvalho's experiments were nurtured by his interest in psychoanalysis and ethnology, given that these sciences represent, according to Foucault, "a perpetual principle of restlessness, doubt, and interrogation" [18] in relation to acquired knowledge. They were what the artist called "a source of mental turbulence," which Flàvio de Carvalho recognized as being pivotal to artistic creation. To him, artistic renewal, which supposedly develops in cycles, depends on how the artist apprehends primeval creative forces. As he stated (in an interview entitled "Art Foresees the Future Doings of Social Beings"), "We have to recover our primitive plasticity so as to make up a new world" [19].

Carvalho rejected artistic manifestations that remained stagnant in the form of stereotyped repetitions. He found solutions in street events, encounters with native tribes, media interventions, popular culture, science, non-religious rituals such as Carnival, and many other unconventional approaches. Carvalho's trajectory reveals a lifelong commitment to the integration of art and life.


Project editor Eduardo Kac wishes to thank Carlos Fadon and Niura Ribeiro for their assistance in producing the photographs for this article.

References and Notes


1. On the artist and his work, see my article "Flàvio de Carvalho: Modernism and the Avant-Garde in São Paulo, 1927--1939," Journal of Decorative and Propaganda Arts No. 21 (1995) pp. 196--217 (the original Portuguese text was reproduced in A Vanguarda Liter1/2ria no Brasil, a bibliography and critical anthology edited by K. David Jackson [Frankfurt, Germany, and Madrid: Vervuert/Iberoamericana, 1998]) pp. 309--322. The cataloging of Flàvio de Carvalho's work and a comprehensive bibliographic survey may be found in the second volume of my Ph.D. thesis, Flàvio de Carvalho entre a experiAEncia e a experimentaU`No (São Paulo: Escola de ComunicaU`y?Les e Artes, Universidade de São Paulo, 1994). For a biography of the artist with an extensive bibliography see J. Toledo, Flàvio de Carvalho o comedor de emoU`y?Les (São Paulo/Campinas: Brasiliense/UNICAMP, 1994). ExposiU`No Flàvio de Carvalho (São Paulo: FundaU`No Bienal, 1983), the catalog of a retrospective exhibition curated by myself and Walter Zanini, also featured texts by Newton Freitas, SU?Lrgio Milliet, Nicanor Miranda and Sangirardi Jr.


2. Abraham Palatnik, statement to the author, 10 June 1997.


3. "O Futuro Pal1/2cio do Governo Paulista," Diàrio da Noite, 30 January 1928; "O Novo Pal1/2cio do Governo e o Projecto Modernista," Diàrio da Noite, São Paulo, 4 February 1928; "Ainda o atordoante projecto Effic1/2cia," Diàrio da Noite, São Paulo, 6 February 1928.


4. Editor's note: Carvalho's relentless seeking out of space in the media to enact in the world the force of his ideas must, from the perspective of contemporary media art, be differentiated from standard "journalistic coverage." The key difference is that, while news coverage represents the initiative of reporters who interpret the facts secondhand according to the guidelines of their news organization, Carvalho's work is an authorial, artistic media intervention designed to disseminate his avant-garde vision to both art and non-art audiences alike. Carvalho's media work did not report on external facts; it was, itself, the fact, i.e. it originated meaning. ---Eduardo Kac


5. Narrative based on the description given by Flàvio de Carvalho in his book ExperiAEncia #2, realizada sobre uma procisSão de Corpus Christi (São Paulo: IrmNos Ferraz, 1931).


6. In this interview Flàvio de Carvalho suggests three outfits that would be suitable for the São Paulo weather: a summer outfit; clothing for autumn or spring; and a winter outfit. See Luis Martins, "Flàvio de Carvalho homem telrico: O agricultor U?L o trouxa da naU`No!" Coma^cio, 22 May 1952.


7. Flàvio de R. Carvalho, "Nova moda para o novo homem---moda de verNo para a cidade" (New Fashion for the New Man: City Summer Fashion) Diàrio de S. Paulo, 24 June 1956.


8. "A Moda e o Novo Homem I--XXXIX" (The Fashion and the New Man I--XXXIX), Diàrio de S. Paulo, 4 March--21 October 1956.


9. "ExperiAEncia Social nmero 3 Flàvio de Carvalho surpreende a cidade ao apresentar a indument1/2ria do futuro" (Social Experiment #3: Flàvio de Carvalho Takes City by Surprise with Garment of the Future), Diàrio de S. Paulo, 19 October 1956. The article announced that the artist was to present a preview of his outfit on television that same day.


10. Paulo Autran, statement to the author, September 1997. It is possible that Flàvio de Carvalho had presented his creation on television a year earlier. At the time he announced the launching of his new outfit in downtown São Paulo, the media reported a preview on TV scheduled for that nineteenth day of October 1956. See [9] for reference to the former broadcast.


11. Editor's note: Carvalho's intervention in the electronic space of television is a pioneering effort, marking one of the earliest manifestations of avant-garde art in the context of television or video. From a historical perspective, Carvalho's electronic performance is preceded only by Lucio Fontana's 1952 Spatialist television broadcast, realized in Milan. Although videotape became commercially available in 1956, it was only in 1959 that it was first used in Brazil (at TV Continental, in Rio de Janeiro). There is thus no video record of Carvalho's television performance. ---Eduardo Kac


12. "Flàvio de Carvalho por ele mesmo VIII" (Flàvio de Carvalho, by the author himself VIII), Folha de S. Paulo, 21 September 1975.


13. The first such reference was made in Carvalho's article "Rumo ao Paraguai III" (Destination: Paraguay 3), Diàrio de S. Paulo, 15 September 1943. His investigation into human and social evolution continued through a lengthy series entitled "Notas para a ReconstruU`No de um Mundo Perdido I--LXV" (Notes for the Reconstruction of a Lost World I--LXV), Diàrio de S. Paulo, 6 January 1957--21 September 1958.


14. Francisco Brasileiro, statement to J. Toledo [1] p. 462.


15. It is not clear if this story has basis in reality, either in part or in full. See Norberto Esteves, "Esta U?L a Deusa Branca autAEntica que Flàvio Carvalho nNo encontrou" (This Is the Authentic White Goddess That Flàvio de Carvalho Did Not Find), ?ltima Hora, 19 December 1958. In this article, the photographer Norberto Esteves claimed to have found the real Umbelina ValU?Lria but, again, it is not possible to verify this claim.


16. The reconstruction of the events of the expedition had as its basis the reports of three sources: Flàvio de Carvalho; the photographer of the ?ltima Hora newspaper, Norberto Esteves; and Raymond Frajmund, who had joined the artist as cameraman. The accounts all register the immediate hostility that arose between Flàvio de Carvalho and Tubal Viana, who headed the SPI expedition. In the final stage of the expedition, after several brawls, the artist was said to have sought shelter in a boat and challenged Viana to a pistol duel. An account of the expedition was published in Time magazine: "Playboy at Work," Time, Latin American edition 72, No. 14 (22 December 1958) p. 17.


17. Flàvio de Carvalho, A Origem Animal de Deus e o Bailado do Deus Morto (The Animal Origin of God and the Dead Man's Ballet) (São Paulo: Difel, 1973) p. 55.


18. Michel Foucault, Les mots et les choses, une archeologie des sciences humaines (Paris: Gallimard, 1966) p. 385.


19. See the artist's interview with Daniel de Oliveira, "A arte prevAE aquilo que o homem social far1/2" ("Art Foresees the Future Doings of Social Beings"), Para Todos No. 12 (1--15 November 1956) p. 5.

This article is part of the Leonardo special project A Radical Intervention: The Brazilian Contribution to the International Electronic Art Movement," guest edited by Eduardo Kac.

For the print version of this article, see Leonardo Volume 37, No. 2 (2004), available from the MIT Press.

Updated 31 March 2010