Welcome

an_apertura_enc13_0009_570pxPhoto/Foto: Alexandre Nunis

From the Directors

Dear friends and colleagues,

Welcome to the 8th International Encuentro of the Hemispheric Institute and to the celebration of our 15th anniversary! Since we started in 1998, Hemi has worked to create a space for interaction and dialogue among artists, activists, and scholars across the Americas.

Why look at bodies and embodied practice? What can we learn and share by exploring practice rather than by privileging artistic products, or documents and historical records?, we asked in our first Encuentro (Rio de Janeiro, 2000). How has religious observance both sustained centuries of culture and belief and deprived people of rights and freedoms, even threatening at times communities with cultural extinction (New York, 2003)? We have combined our energies to confront ongoing issues of human rights violations, memory, and trauma (Monterrey, 2001) and to re-focus the continuous presence of indigenous acts of art and resistance (Belo Horizonte, 2005). We have investigated formations of race, class, and gender (Buenos Aires, 2007), explored what it means to be a citizen (Bogotá, 2009) and how notions of public space have shifted due to migration, exile, and globalization (Lima, 2002). All of these issues remain urgent and find new life in each Encuentro, often building on the collaborations and insights developed in earlier ones. While artists, activists, and scholars have long worked at the intersections of these issues, the Encuentros offer us an arena to share our practices and develop new relations and networks.

This year’s Encuentro, CITIES | BODIES | ACTION : The Politics of Passion in the Americas, expands our exploration of urban sites as areas of coexistence, conflict, and collaboration. The struggles have been many: after decades of dirty wars and growing economic inequalities, cities became the recipients of large internal migrations of displaced peoples that ended up living in peripheral or blighted areas. Urban renewal and gentrification projects throughout the Americas have pushed the disenfranchised yet further to the edges. The city center, in neo-liberalism, seems reserved for commodities, consumers, and tourists. In the last few years, students and activists have taken to the streets in cities from Montreal to Santiago de Chile to defend their rights to education, free assembly, and viable economic futures. Protesters have lived in tent encampments in cities as large as Mexico and New York. Artists have intervened in the most unexpected places, bringing attention to the creativity and vibrancy of the most forgotten communities. This Encuentro, aptly taking place in São Paulo, calls attention to the city as the stage for contemporary social struggles.

I would like to thank all the people and institutions in Brazil hosting and co-producing this Encuentro, but most particularly my friend and colleague Elisabeth Silva Lopes, professor at the Universidade de São Paulo. She has been a most dedicated and inspiring partner. I’d also like to thank Danilo Santos de Miranda and the entire team from Sesc, as well as Ivam Cabral and his colleagues from SP Escola de Teatro, for their hospitality and support. Our gratitude also goes to Ricardo Muniz Fernandes and his production team at PROD.ART.BR, without whom this event would have not been possible.

Additionally, I want to thank the Hemi team that has concentrated on this Encuentro — everyone from our full-time staff Marlène Ramírez-Cancio, Marcial Godoy-Anativia, Niki Kekos, Frances Pollitt—to our fabulous part-time crew—Zoe Lukov, Lisandra María Ramos, Abigail Levine, Zena Bibler, Marcos Steuernagel, Leticia Robles-Moreno, Cristel Jusino Díaz, and all the others who have helped with the many different aspects of organizing an event such as this one.

But the Encuentro, for all its centrality, is only one part of Hemi. What we do here, in our intense days together, has a continued life in our digital video library and artist profiles; in e-misférica, Hemi’s online, tri-lingual peer-reviewed journal; in courses, teaching modules, books; and at our centers. Hemi New York hosts visiting artists and scholars and provides frameworks for presenting new work and training emerging artists. Our ongoing collaborations with FOMMA, the Mayan women’s theatre group in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, has strengthened our Hemispheric ties and provides an environment for our Art and Resistance course. The Hemi Graduate Student Initiative organizes annual “convergences” for students from throughout the Americas. In short, everything we do supports our shared vision and practice.

Hemi, as a shared project, depends on the continued support, generosity, and dynamism of many individuals and institutions. I want to acknowledge and thank New York University for the infrastructure and support that it has offered us over the years. Some of our most wonderful collaborators have been the foundations that have partnered with us. The Ford Foundation has been our longest collaborator—here, Roberta Uno and Mario Bronfman deserve our special gratitude. The Rockefeller Foundation, The Andrew Mellon Foundation, The Henry Luce Foundation and The Rockefeller Brothers Fund have helped us develop specific parts of our project. We are also deeply indebted to our Member Institutions our wonderful Board for their rich contributions to our shared work. Finally, we thank the thousands of artists, scholars, activists, students, and cultural creators whose passion and commitment have been the energy and substance of all that we do.

Fifteen years and counting!

Wishing you a most productive Encuentro,

 

Diana Taylor
Founding Director
Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics


It is with great pleasure that we welcome all participants of the 8th Encuentro of the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics. The materialization, in Brazil, of a meeting about performance in the Americas is undoubtedly an affirmation and an appreciation of the artistic manifestations of the continent, reflecting the ever-increasing importance of the country on the international stage, not only when it comes to economic gains, but also its artistic, cultural, and social achievements. This event also represents the growing dialogue between the Universidade de São Paulo and the Hemispheric Institute, as well as an effective coming together of the university community and the inhabitants of the city of São Paulo, as well as the strengthening cultural, academic and artistic ties between artists, scholars and institutions from different regions of Brazil and the Americas. These are certainly ties that signal a great step toward the permanent exchange of experiences between institutions and their researchers.

The importance of this achievement is also related to the theme of the event, Cities, Bodies, Action, focusing on the urban occupations and the performative interference in public spaces, which is associated with the exploration of the “corpography” of large cities in the Americas, from North to South. This exciting thematic focus will undeniably ensure the interest of Brazilian artists and researchers in this broad interplay of ideas, bodies and geographies. The 8th Encuentro will undoubtedly generate dialogue between divergent performances from the Americas, in addition to contributing to a collective reflection in search of artistic responses to the political and social issues of our different countries. Partnerships are the solidification of social relationships between the public and the private realm, disseminating art, culture and insights produced by similar institutions, such as universities and the participating artists from throughout the Americas. It is worth noting that the quality of the proposal expands the network of relationships with universities throughout the Americas, from neighboring regions to the most distant, with which we rarely have the opportunity to come together to share thoughts and artistic productions.

I would like to thank many people, especially Diana Taylor, acknowledging her formidable ability to motivate and aggregate, transforming the city of São Paulo into a space of ideas and performances, bringing together artists and researchers from throughout the Americas to this 8th Encuentro. I also would like to demonstrate my admiration for Marlène Ramírez-Cancio and Marcial Godoy-Anativia, whose dedication and extreme rigor in conducting the Encuentro had no limits, and I want to thank all the other members of this prestigious Institute. I want to express my gratitude to my colleagues and friends from the Department of Theater Arts, our chair Helena Bastos for her contagious enthusiasm, Zebba Dal Farra, Felisberto Sabino da Costa and Silvia Fernandes for their unconditional support, to my dear staff from Cac, especially to Roby and Jôsi, who worked tirelessly to produce this great event. I must also give a big thanks to USP for its encouragement, particularly the Provost of Culture and Extension, and for supporting the project of Arts and Extension Exchange, without which this event would not have been possible. Similarly, I must recognize and acknowledge the support of FAPESP and CAPES. I also must thank the School of Communications and Arts at USP, especially the Director Prof. Wilton Mauro de Souza and Deputy Director Maria Dora Genis Mourão who, from the beginning, accepted this challenge. I must also thank Ivam Cabral and Lúcia Camargo, as well as all our colleagues from SP Escola de Teatro, which opened its doors with much enthusiasm and friendship. I thank all of Interior Productions, especially the dedication of Ricardo Muniz Fernandes and Carminha Gongora. Finally I thank Sesc, in its unwavering support of Brazilian art and culture.

 

Beth Lopes
Theatre Director, Professor and Researcher
Department of Theatre Arts School of Communication and Arts / Universidade de São Paulo


The work of this Argelian author—whose humanist roots convey an ongoing reflection on freedom—confers on the arts, and culture more broadly, the expressive framework of free will. Despite all our continued defenses against the armies of obligations that threaten these spheres, we cannot deny this: preserving freedom is necessarily a political move that bans forbidden territories, offering them resistance.

Both the body in its individuality and the urban space, that macro-body of multiple relationships, are territories fraught with tensions resulting from an endless flow of information. These spaces lend themselves to scenes of convergences and divergences, excesses and shortages, agreements and disagreements, hate and love, among other dualities inherent to life.

From the word performance—whose possible Latin origins are formare, “to give form”, or performatus, “having just been formed”—we get a sense of processuality. As something that happens in the encounter between the bodies of the artists and the reflections of those who witness this construction, performance is an art that reaches its existence socially. It is a moment of connection between people whose histories and apprehensions may be different, but who share an inevitable experience in time-space, thus its affinity with social movements, which so often result from this aesthetic resource.

To enable the kind of gathering that facilitates the holistic development of individuals, based on the articulation of diverse cultural manifestations in its educational, mobilizing, and above all, transformative dimensions, is at the heart of SESC’s actions. This is why it is such a valuable opportunity to gather representatives from the arts, the academy, and social movements, together with the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics, the Universidade de São Paulo, and the SP Escola de Teatro, for the 8th Encuentro, fittingly titled Cities | Bodies | Action: The Politics of Passions in the Americas.

Danilo Santos de Miranda
Regional Director, Sesc São Paulo


 HIDVL Video of the Encuentro 2013 Institutional Welcome, Opening Remarks, and Senior Fellows Awards

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