Documents, Essays and Manifestoes

Guest Edited by Eduardo Kac

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A series of articles on the topic of Brazilian artists working with electronics and technology will appear in the Leonardo website, as well as in the print journal Leonardo with an introduction by Eduardo Kac.

The newest addition to this section is Waldemar Cordeiro: Art and Computing, a testimony by Giorgio Moscati about his experience and collaboration with Waldemar Cordeiro, pioneer of computer art in Brazil.

To Be and Not To Be: Aspects of the Interaction Between Instrumental and Electronic Compositional Methods. by composer Flo Menezes. The Author provides an overview of the many consequences that the arrival of electroacoustic music has produced on musical material...

"Between Form and Force: Connecting Architectonic, Telematic, and Thermal Spaces" by Mario Ramiro. Ramiro surveys his work from the late 1970s in Brazil to the present in Germany, describing specific pieces and discussing key ideas.

"Evanescent Realities: Works and Ideas on Electronic Art," by Carlos Fadon Vicente. Vicente started his artistic career as a photographer and has gone on to work with digital imaging, multimedia and telecommunications. He discusses the conceptual and aesthetic aspects of his experimental work in the context of the "multiple and complex" culture and history of Brazil.

"Lygia Clark and Hélio Oiticica: A Legacy of Interactivity and Participation for a Telematic Future," by Simone Osthoff. During the 1960s and 1970s, both Clark and Oiticica departed from traditional object-centered art forms to work in ways that focused attention on the experiences and actions of the participant(s). Osthoff's original account of this development points to parallels between Clark's and Oiticica's non-technology-based sensorial works and other technology-driven experiments with interactivity, including early virtual-reality devices and works by contemporary artists such as Stelarc and Roy Ascott.

"Flavio de Carvalho: Media Artist Avant la Lettre" by Rui Moreira Leite. 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.

Also featured are three texts about the work of artist Waldemar Cordeiro, who played a central role in the Concrete art scene in the 1950s and 1960s, then moved on to become a pioneer of computer-based and electronic art. The three texts presented here include:

"Waldemar Cordeiro's Oeuvre and Its Context: A Biographical Note," by Eduardo Kac

"Waldemar Cordeiro: Computer Art Pioneer," by Annateresa Fabris

"Arteônica: Electronic Art," by Waldemar Cordeiro.

Included in this special section is a gallery section curated by Eduardo Kac entitled "Nomads."

The gallery section features the work of Brazilian artists who share a cultural background, but belong to a large tribe of electronic nomads who developed their work while living abroad. These artists "share an interest in the exploration of contemporary issues in art through the use of new technologies . . . [and] displace common expectations of what Brazilian art should look like," according to Eduardo.

The first contribution to this project is "The Brazilian Art and Technology Experience: A Chronological List of Artistic Experiments with Technosciences in Brazil."

Also currently available is an accompanying article about Brazilian kinetic art pioneer Abraham Palatnik by Mario Pedrosa, and an interview with Palatnik conducted by Eduardo Kac.

In a reprint of his 1952 review, Walter Zanini discusses a groundbreaking exhibition of Palatnik's early kinetic painting.

Arlindo Machado explores the roots of Brazilian video art, outlining some of the achievements in the medium from the 1970s through the present.

As Kac says, "There seems to be great interest internationally about Brazilian art nowadays. Helio Oiticica had a retrospective that travelled to many countries. Lygia Clark was recently on the covers of Art in America and October, just to give a small example. Not long ago the NY MOMA staged a big Latin American survey, giving Brazil a lot of space. And so on. What most critics, curators and artists don't know is that Brazil has a good, strong tradition in technological art -- which raises interesting questions about high-tech avant-gardes in Third World countries (a contradiction or a necessity?). Brazil is the largest of four non-Hispanic South American countries. Brazil takes fifth place in the world in size and sixth in population, with around 160 million inhabitants. It is the biggest country of Latin America, of which it occupies approximately fifty per cent."

Updated 31 April 2010