chapter  5
25 Pages

Screening BrazilFootnotes on a wall

WithPedro Victor Brandão, Andrea Pavoni

In Cosme Velho, a leafy neighbourhood of Rio de Janeiro, a wall runs for about six hundred metres, its perimeter encircling two properties, one owned by the founder of Brazil’s biggest TV network. Standing before a wall, it is tempting to assume it as a barrier to overcome, a veil concealing a secret to be revealed. More interesting, however, is to probe the reality that its concrete body expresses. Not a matter of knowing what is beyond this wall, but rather letting the contradiction it materialises emerge. Letting the wall speak: this is what we do in this chapter, peripatetically encircling a specific urban wall and ventriloquising it by means of our words and images, so as to follow its economic, theological and aesthetic prolongations into the process of interiorisation through which Brazil has been walled in in the last decades: a dense imaginary that has defined, constructed and anaesthetised its reality, whilst an invisible skeleton of financial and economic interests, environmental exploitation and political corruption was being erected around it. The elusive forces, pervasive imaginaries and historical layers of a society, we believe, can be somehow registered through a phenomenological engagement with its material surfaces. This photo-essay is an attempt to do so, in the form of a series of scattered footnotes and pictures generated at the intersection between ethnographic walking, photography and critical analysis.