Project: Trope of the Tropics; the Brazilian Modern Paradigm
Class: Advanced Summer Travel Studio, California College of the Arts, Architecture Division
Date: Summer 2010
Instructor: Sandra Vivianco
Starting with the anthological Week of Modern Art of 1922 and culminating with the construction of one of the most significant utopias of the XX century, Brazil is paradigmatic of the new and the modern.
Historically Brazil has been fertile territory for the tension and dialogue inherent in different artistic manifestations within literature, music, and the visual arts: photography, film, painting, sculpture, and architecture. These interrelated modes of cultural expression help define a rich cultural concoction surrounded by the mystique of tropical exuberance. ‘Brazilianness’ is an interesting mixture of Western ideology, layered over a violent history of colonization and slavery. These specific conditions of modernity create compelling ideological tensions between typical categories such as national/ cosmopolitan, rural/ urban, and central/ peripheral.
The exchange originally established between the native artistic traditions of Brazil and the avant-garde languages of Europe at the dawn of last century will act as a foil for a series of explorations, physical and conceptual, in which students will engage during their time in SA?o Paulo. Together with their peers from Escola da Cidade, CCa students will construct temporary installations that seek to transform existing urban infrastructure to address social and cultural issues germane to city life in the largest Latin American metropolis.
Prior to the studio part of the class, we will visit three other major cities: Rio de Janeiro, best known for Carnival and the fluidity of its modern architecture; Brasilia, the visionary nation-state completed in 1960 and Belo Horizonte, one of the few planned cities in the Americas and locus of cultural memory in Brazil.