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Women on the Move. Contributions to the aesthetic-political activism approach of Brazilian migrant women

Paula GUERRA, Maria da Graça HOEFEL, Denise OSÓRIO SEVERO et Sofia SOUSA

Résumé

This research project as a qualitative approach, anchored in the theoretical-methodological perspective of life-histories, and aims to reflect on the aesthetic-political activism of female Brazilian activist artists with a history of migration, in order to understand the meanings, concepts and processes of said activism, as well as the representations reflected in different experiences. The study may offer clues to think about the situation of women and, above all, discuss the importance of the arts in the emancipatory processes of migrant women. The research instruments adopted were: semi-structured interviews, field diary and photographic records. Five interviews were conducted via the web, which were transcribed and analyzed in the light of content analysis. The results reveal a multiplicity of experiences that are expressed through performances, occupations of the urban space, music, netativism, video-installation, among others. Aesthetic-political activism is conceived as an action that materializes in aesthetic expressions with an inherently political character, centered on the fight against social inequalities and oppression relations, as well as the creation of other discourses, representations and spaces capable of subverting the instituted social order.

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Introduction

  • 1 World Migration Report 2020. Geneva, Organização Internacional para as Migrações, 2019.
  • 2 Balestro, Ana Cristina. Pereira, Telma. « Língua e cultura na feminização das migrações no Brasil » (...)
  • 3 Ibidem. See also: Oliveira, Catarina Reis. Gomes, Natália. Indicadores de integração de imigrantes: (...)

1Migration processes are a historical constant, despite the variations in their origins and determinations. According to the World Migration Report 2020 from the International Organization for Migration1, the number of international migrants in 2019 reached 277 million, with 74% of migrants being of working age (20-64 years). Several authors and organizations indicate that there is a process of feminization of migration and of changing the profile of migrant women2. In the case of Portugal, recent data endorse this issue of feminization and signal a new profile, characterized by foreign women slightly younger than men, in fertile and active ages, between 20-49 years (61.2%), with higher qualifications, both higher and average levels3.

  • 4 Ibidem. See also: Breidahl, Karen. Larsen, Christian Albrekt. « The myth of unadaptable gender role (...)

2 Despite this context, gender inequalities persist and remain invisible4, as do the particularities of the real symbolic, cultural and social universes experienced by these women in their daily lives. Notwithstanding this, migrant women, whether Brazilian or of other nationalities, resist and reinvent their lives. They represent a connected and globalized generation, which establishes other forms of social relations, permeated by intense imagetic, artistic and technological languages, presenting a mastery of technologies that no other previous generation had. The activation of these capitals has allowed, on the part of these migrant women, the dynamization of processes articulated in networks and crossed by artistic expressions that aim at the confrontation of iniquities, revealing a pulsating aesthetic-political activism that signals expressive potentialities for the evocation of demands of reality, in line with the global scenario.

  • 5 Aladro Vico, Eva. Jivkova-Semova, Dimitrina. Guedes Bailey, Olga. « Artivism: A new educative langu (...)

3 In fact, social manifestations around the world highlight the diversity of expressions revealed in graffiti, performances, music, literature, urban occupations, among others, present in numerous countries5. The aesthetic-political expressions evidenced in the manifestations that broke out in Latin America in 2019, and that spread throughout the continent, as well as the recent expressions spread on social networks in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, translated into numerous hybrid forms circulating on social networks, that reiterate the aforementioned placements and signal how much the dimension of the arts passes through social dynamics. In fact, women have led numerous experiences of aesthetic-political activism that denounce iniquities and evoke various non-conformities with unequal gender relations, reproduced over centuries and in force until today. In this sense, migrant women have also stood out in the construction of these processes, whose expressions have signalled the potentialities of the arts as devices capable of bringing to light silenced universes and enabling the creation of new narratives and relationships.

4 The challenges inherent in the condition of migration and the situations experienced on the threshold of borders - symbolic and real - which are established between the place of exclusion and, paradoxically, the locus of transformation, reiterate and seem to point out important paths to reflect the intersection between the arts, migration and politics. In the context of the social phenomenon of migration, the understanding of the meanings and processes of aesthetic-political activism developed by Brazilian migrant women, as well as the representations reflected in different experiences, can offer clues for thinking about the situation of women and, above all, discuss the importance of the arts in the emancipatory processes of migrant women. Ultimately, it is believed that this discussion can contribute to the construction of new possible ways to foster artistic initiatives capable of promoting social emancipation and the reduction of inequalities.

  • 6 Held during the first semester of 2020 by the authors under the MigraWomen project led by the Unive (...)
  • 7 Lévy, André. Ciências Clínicas e Organizações Sociais, Belo Horizonte, Editora Autêntica, 2001.
  • 8 Bardin, Laurence. Análise de Conteúdo, Lisboa, Edições 70, 1977.

5 This article presents a qualitative approach research, anchored in the theoretical-methodological perspective of life stories6, in which the research subjects were female Brazilian activist artists with a history of migration, current or former, as well as female Brazilian activist artists working on migration issues. The aim is to bring to light the path and the meanings of their experiences, as well as to enable an immersion in the other elements that can elucidate perceptions and conceptions about the aesthetic-political activism developed by them, respecting the social, cultural and political contexts experienced by each of the participants7. For this purpose, semi-structured interviews, the field diary, and photographic records of the experiences narrated by the women participating in the study were adopted as research tools. The snowball technique was incorporated in order to select the group of participants, which consisted of four migrant Brazilian activist artists with a history of migration in Portugal, France and Denmark, as well as a Brazilian activist artist linked to the topic of migration. The data collection was done through the web, with the help of Skype, and the interviews were later transcribed. Additionally, each of the interviewees was asked to send by e-mail the image records (photographs, videos, websites, among others) that best reflect their experiences of aesthetic-political activism. The data was analyzed through the content analysis of Bardin8, as well as the narratives of experiences, in line with the adopted theoretical perspective. The processing of data has led to the emergence of five key analytical categories: (i) narratives, migration and processes; (ii) conceptions of aesthetic-political activism; (iii) borders, subversion and emancipation of art worlds and gender; (iv) discrimination and language borders; (v) discrimination and body borders. It should be noted that this article constitutes only a first cut-out of the research and is limited to the first two categories mentioned above.

Aesthetic-political activism and social emancipation

  • 1 Coletivo 28 de Maio. « O que é uma ação estético-política? (um contramanifesto) », Vazantes, n (...)

6Although aesthetic-political activism is increasingly present in contemporary society, especially after the first decade of the 21st century, there is no consensus on its definition. Many are the notions and nomenclatures that suggest points of convergence, but also distinctions and proper perspectives of interpretation, which is why the understanding of its conception constitutes one of the central elements of this article. Some of the nomenclatures and theoretical perspectives found refer to activist art, artivism, protest aesthetics, aesthetic-political activism, aesthetic-political action, among others. According to the Coletivo 28 de Maio1, represented by Vasconcelos and Pimentel, aesthetic-political action concerns, above all, a strictly political and non-ideological, anti-capitalist, anti-racist and feminist stance, centred on the collective and guided by the issues that present themselves as urgent today. It is, therefore, based on the praxis. They are actions that shape thought, action and doing it in a single time. It is defined as counter-art, very much linked to performative practices, but not limited to them. It is, then, the act of producing actions. In the words of Coletivo 28 de Maio, aesthetic-political action is ‘art without an artist’, even if they are artists who do it, since the importance does not reside in who did it, but in the act of establishing what the authors call the “indiscernible” zone, referred to as a risk zone that makes it impossible to define precisely whether the action constitutes art or protest. For this reason, the aesthetic-political action is defined as border, edge, abyss.

  • 2 Sandoval, Chela. Latorre, Guisela. « Chicana/o Artivism: Judy Baca’s Digital Work with Youth of Col (...)
  • 3 Campos, Ricardo. Sarrouy, Alix. « Juventude, criatividade e agência política », Tomo, nº 37, 2020 (...)
  • 4 Raposo, Paulo. « “Artivismo”: Articulando dissidências, criando insurgências ». Cadernos de Arte (...)
  • 5 Guerra, Paula. « Nothing is forever: Um ensaio sobre as artes urbanas de Miguel Januário±MaisMenos± (...)

7 On the other hand, several authors discuss the concept of artivism, which describes a new type of language that emerged at the beginning of the 21st century. Sandoval and Latorre2 were the first authors to use the term in academic research, which they defined as “a hybrid neologism” that organically links art and activism3. Raposo advances that artivism is consolidated “as a cause and social claim and simultaneously as an artistic rupture - namely, by proposing alternative scenarios, landscapes and ecologies of fruition, participation and artistic creation4”. According to Guerra, artivism appeals to the ancient connection between art and politics. Though for many, art and politics are in spheres far from each other, the truth is that there is an already long anti-cultural artistic tradition against the status quo, although the idea still persists that art should not mix with politics5. Art plays a crucial role in resisting and overturning the status quo. Artivism proposes a double rupture: with the vision of art by art and with the state of things, through the recovery of artistic activity as a form of social intervention, which translates into a set of aesthetic, poetic, performative interventions, etc.

  • 6 Aladro Vico, Eva. Jivkova-Semova, Dimitrina. Guedes Bailey, Olga. « Artivism...», op. cit.
  • 7 Mourão, Rui. « Performances artivistas: Incorporação duma ética de dissensão numa ética de resisten (...)

8 However, Aladro-Vico, Jivkova-Semova and Bailey6 consider that artivism is not just an oppositional art. Its great strength is the ability to highlight injustices and social inequalities through a set of languages, images, metaphors, etc., alternatives, seeking to generate events that break the structure of conventional communication. For Mourão, the meaning of artivism is associated with the idea of active art [arte atuante], since it subverts established norms and standards. For this author, artivism “is the most radical, interdisciplinary and risky vanguard of artistic action in reality”7. It is interesting to note that the author stresses the approximations between artivism and performance in the current context, and refers to several other expressions very present in protests, demonstrations and other actions, especially from more contemporary social movements, such as: happening, site-specific, installation and ready-made.

  • 8 Guerra, Paula. « Raw power: Punk, DIY and underground cultures… », op. cit.
  • 9 Raposo, Paulo. « “Artivismo”: Articulando dissidências… », op. cit.
  • 10 Ardenne, Paul. Un arte contextual. Murcia, CENDEAC, 2008.
  • 11 Guerra, Paula. « Nothing is forever…», op. cit.

9 Artivism has as influences a mixture of graffiti, urban art, do-it-yourself punk8, situationalism and its favorite stage: the urban space. For Raposo, this is a new wave of struggle for the right to the city; a new force for the power of visibility in the cities9. The city, as a space of struggles for visibility, became even more the favorite space for an artistic activity with social or claiming purposes10. It becomes almost impossible to think of artivism outside the city, since it is in these that the new social movements involved in anti-capitalist struggles emerge11. Again Mourão underlines the deep relationship between artivism and the practices of occupying public space, the relationship between artivism and the emerging social movements, combined with a certain tendency of contemporary art to explore its political potential, which adds visibility to artivistic practices.

  • 12 Silva, Augusto Santos. Guerra, Paula. Santos, Helena. « When art meets crisis. The Portuguese story (...)
  • 13 Guerra, Paula. « Nothing is forever...  », op. cit.

10Thus, the concepts mentioned, found in academic literature, of artivism and aesthetic-political activism, among others, give an account of the dynamics between creativity and processes of political agency. Individual and group creativity is associated with the idea of change and can be understood as provocative for more conservative visions, because it creates tension in the face of the stable and established. The creative dimension of political participation refers to original, unexpected, and disruptive formats of mobilization, expression and claim, which contrast with the rigid and predetermined nature of institutional politics12. An active citizenship is exercised creatively by individuals from the very act of creation, from which, the instituted is questioned, the crystallized is broken, innovation is produced, and social transformation is proposed. Expressions of everyday creativity applied in the spheres of leisure, sociability or cultural and symbolic production, such as aesthetic production through visuals and style and the creation of musical, digital, videographic content, among others, as well as creativity applied to space, referring to new formulas of appropriation of territory, other than the predefined and authorized uses, are all acts of citizenship, as they involve an affirmation or a struggle for rights of expression or use of the city, for example13.

  • 14 Silva, Augusto Santos. Guerra, Paula. Santos, Helena. « When art meets crisis… », op. cit.; Mourão, (...)
  • 15 Gonçalves, Fernando do Nascimento. « Performance: um fenômeno de arte-corpo-comunicação », Logos, n (...)
  • 16 Gonçalves, Fernando do Nascimento. « Performance: um fenómeno…», op. cit., p. 77.

11This was visible in Portugal during the years of economic crisis. Social criticism and political activism were key components of numerous works and artistic performances. Artivism in those years (and still is) was understood as a crucial and indispensable instrument for mobilization against neoliberal ideological hegemony and the political power of the Portuguese troika and government. Activistic actions that were not only limited to marginal artists and organizations, but also came from central institutions in the Portuguese cultural field. All this served to reconsider and review the political dimension and social responsibility of artists14. Performance is paradigmatic at this level. Gonçalves points out that it is a body art that is born as a contestation, as a break with formal and aesthetic conventions, developed especially since the beginning of the 20th century in Europe and in the United States of America and defined by Cohen as border art15. It is an artistic expression that promotes ruptures and agglutinations and lies hybridly between two genres, on the borderline between the plastic arts and the performing arts. In the words of the author: ‘‘Border’’ here also has the objective of demarcating something that ends and begins, and above all, of announcing something that happens in ‘’between’’16.

  • 17 Rancière, Jacques. A partilha do sensível: Estética e política, São Paulo, Editora 34, 2005.
  • 18 Shapiro, Roberta. « Que é artificação? », Sociedade e Estado, vol. 22, n. 1, 2007, p. 135-151.

12The idea of frontier - of this kind of interstice - and of the powers that inhabit this place of “between”, refers to the potentialities that can come from spaces in which the evocation of dissonant voices is possible, where they can be recognized and where it is possible, from the creation of another place of speech and representation, to build counter-hegemonic narratives that favour the social and aesthetic emancipation of oppressed groups. These spaces refer to the perspective of the spaces of the sensitive common of Rancière and of the sharing of the sensitive, insofar as they imply the recognition of dissent and the simultaneous possibility of affirming silenced perspectives17. In this sense, it would constitute a locus of social emancipation, understood as a process of affirmation of historically separated social groups, inducing other forms of intervention that they find in expressions and representations, whether they are imaginative, sound or discursive - as mentioned by one of the artists interviewed in this research - a space of liberation from oppression and emancipation. Let us also mention that new dimensions come into play, especially when it comes to new processes of artification that bring out different forms of art, recent symbologies. In fact, these processes of artification are translated, in western societies, into the transformation of non-art into art18 and reflect the existence of new attributions of meaning, which are accompanied by the transfiguration of daily life and communities. The course of these processes not only triggers expected transformations but also poses challenges, particularly to different cultural institutions.

Narratives, migrations and life processes

13The migration process has great importance in the design of aesthetic-political activism experiences; however, it is not stated that migration was the start of the artistic trajectories of the interviewees, because with the exception of one interviewee, the others had already started their artistic careers before producing the works with more focus on migration or before having started their migration trajectories. However, if migration was not the start of the career, it was certainly a driving force behind the engagement of these artists in collective creative processes that reinforced and corroborated the aesthetic-political activism of these women. The expressive value of these experiences should be given to the processes of collective construction of lives and not to the products or the work itself. That is, the performances, gigs, occupations and video-installation discussed below were highlighted as creations whose power resided more in sharing and making and less in their formalistic aspects of finished artistic work. These are on going processes, works co-constructed in the becoming of the trajectories of involvement and activist awareness of these women. Regarding the centrality of the collective process, it is important to say that there was one interviewee who circumscribed her artistic initiatives to the more individual dimension, but even so, her narrative was permeated by influences of the migratory process in her path. For example, the narratives point out daily challenges in the musical/artistic universe that are crossed by the image and the place that women occupy in this scenario populated with stereotypes, as well as the artistic paths explored when immersed in another culture of activism, participation, collaborative co-creation.It is also interesting to note that several experiences were not carried out in the country she settled in, but in other countries that were part of their life journey before, during or after the migration process and/or the experience with the topic. However, the emphasis on the collective process is expressively evident, regardless of where the action took place and the host country.

  • 1 For further developments, see http://grafiasdebiamedeiros.blogspot.com/2014/04/presenca-eorganicida (...)
  • 2 The Bundalelê is a sarcastic practice against the power and the system.
  • 3 In the late 1980s, Bia Medeiros returned to Brazil and became a professor at the Arts Institute of (...)
  • 4 Medeiros, Maria Beatriz. Aquino, Fernando. « Kombi, Kombeiro, Kombunda e Bundalelê na Kombi. Perfor (...)

14This was reported in relation to the performances performed in France (Poulet Rôti and Anthropophagie) and the Netherlands (Poulet Rôti) by the artist Bia Medeiros, in the 1980s1, as well as in all others developed after her return to Brazil, with emphasis on Bundalelê2 and Mar(ia Sem Ver)gonha, both created by the artistic collective entitled Corpos Informáticos3 [Computer Bodies]. In the words of Bia de Medeiros, « The Computer Bodies use red waxers to remove in flock, pack or simply making bundle and calling this 'performance'»4. Subversive, she continues:

  • 5 Medeiros, Maria Beatriz. Aquino, Fernando. « Kombi, Kombeiro, Kombunda e Bundalelê… », op. cit, p. (...)

Mar(ia-sem-ver)gonha is a kathapax term and must remain so […]. The bum, if seized by language, will never be a bum again. Where is the Kombi in the bum of the world? Where is the butt in the Kombi? Kombi without a butt, can it still be called that? Kombeiro, kombunda, with ass the Kombi carves itself in the rotten old iron from where it came out to shine as contemporary art. In the old iron, the rotten one. The Kombis are in the alleyways now? They're in the rain, in the drought, and inside of them, plants are pulling up [...] Mar(ia Sem Ver)gonha is the term, lame, that the Computer Bodies created to say, in a renewed way, the word ‘performance’. Mar(ia Sem Ver)gonha derives and advances on the concept of ‘rhizome’ of Deleuze and Guattari. Mar(ia-sem-ver)gonha are simultaneously tree and rhizome in being Brazilian, that is, coming from Zanzibar5.

15Also present in the urban intervention made by the artist Tila Cappelletto in the former Real Fábrica de Tabacos [Royal Tobacco Factory] in Spain, in the performances entitled Radioativos [Radioactive] and in the intervention Editatona [Editatone]- the latter held in Portugal. In Tila own words:

  • 6 See https://feminista.pt/evento/editatona-visibilizando-as-margens-juntes-editamos-a-wikipedia-25-m (...)

An Editatone is an editing marathon that brings together various people to create new content or improve on those already on Wikipedia. During this Editatone we will learn and edit together in a session dedicated to the margins. We will create and improve Wikipedia content about non-white women, rural, trans, non-binary people, etc. and organizations with an intersectional approach. Together we will make them visible and visible! Did you know that less than 10% of Wikipedia editors are women?6

  • 7 The association entitled Archives de l'Immigration Familiale (ARIFA) is one of the largest and olde (...)
  • 8 Washington, Claudia Teresinha. Rasgo : a arte de engendrar espaços. Brasília, Universidade de Brasi (...)

16In addition, the experiences of the Migrant Parallel Lives Project within the framework of ARIFA7 and the performance of Sopro [Blow], performed by the artist Claudia Washington, respectively in France and Brazil, are also examples present in the narratives, which emphasize the intrinsic relations between aesthetic-political activism and the collective dimension. The Migrant Parallel Lives Project developed with ARIFA reflects a collective creative experience to the extent that its main purpose was precisely to reveal, through imagetic devices and other forms of artistic expression, the daily life of migrant women themselves, favoring aesthetic-political activism and the evocation of their demands. On the other hand, as far as blow performance is concerned, it constitutes an experience of its own, but linked to the aforementioned project. The performance was centered on the expression of the concept of “rips”8 intrinsic to the migration process. Let us observe some of the positions of the interviewees in this regard:

I see the activist art very collectively. You can have individual activist actions, but they are always in the collective context, they are always engaged in a common, something in common that needs to be expressed and that needs to change, because if it is something only individual, we don't need to move the whole world. (Interview1)

You make art, all right, for a certain personal satisfaction at the time of creation. But you do it so that there's once reverberation in the other. If you don't have an audience, if you don't have one to see it, if you don't have one to see it, the question is even if it's art. (Interview 2)

17On the other hand, this is also present in the narrative of artist Juliane Peixoto, through the collective processes developed with mining workers and indigenous peoples located in Brazil, whose expressions included videoinstallation. Some fragments of these experiences can be visualized in the image mosaic of Figure 1, Figure 2 and Figure 3.

  • 9 Rancière, Jacques. A partilha do sensível…, op. cit, p. 15.

18The images of the mosaic in dialogue with the narratives that emphasize the process and the collective, allow us to identify resonances with Rancière's positions on the concept of sharing of the sensitive, as a process that materializes and operates only when there is the possibility of creating the space of the sensitive common, in which sharing happens. As the author points out, the sharing of the sensitive refers to “the system of evidence that reveals the existence of a common one and the cut-outs that define places and respective parts9”. In other words, it has a double sense of division and of commonality, since the sharing of the sensitive makes it clear who can take part in the common.

Figure 1. Poulet Rôti, performance of Bia Medeiros and Suzete Venturelli. Paris, 1985. And Bundalelê, performance of Corpos Informáticos (Bia Medeiros), Brasília, 2010. Source : Alexandra Martins photo courtesy of Bia Medeiros.

Figure 2. Videoinstallation LAVRA of Juliane Peixoto. Belo Horizonte, 2015. Source: Photos from the personal collection of Juliane Peixoto.

Figure 3. Sopro, performance of Claudia Washington, Montreuil, 2019. Source: Photos from the personal collection of Claudia Washington. And Installation details Rasgo Coletivo - Les sans-papiers of Claudia Washington, Montreuil, 2019.

19In this sense, it is possible to deduce that the absence of this common, that is, the collective space, as well as the inexistence of the possibilities of subversion of the respective places that were conferred normatively to each one in the society of classes, meaning precisely the absence of the sharing of the sensitive. It follows that the creation of spaces of common sensitivity alludes to the construction of democratic and emancipatory spaces and relations. They would thus constitute a kind of border, in reference to the senses attributed by Cohen and Gonçalves. We cannot fail to mention here the weightings of Rocha and Kastrup on Rancière's work:

  • 10 Rocha, Tatiana Gomes da., Kastrup, Virginia. « A partilha do sensível na comunidade: interseções (...)

The aesthetic is endowed with a double potential of emancipation. On the one hand, this potential resides in idleness, in the refusal to any form of subordination or functionality, in the resistance to social control […]. On the other hand, the aesthetic regime advocates the self-suppression of art in favour of its full integration in the construction of renewed common life, which makes art and politics, work and leisure indistinct, in short, promotes the union of the opposites10.

Activism as a way of life: Concepts of aesthetic-political activism

20These same elements converge with the meanings and aspects presented in the narratives, as well as being inseparable parts of the meanings attributed to the second category of analysis: conceptions of aesthetic-political activism. It is noted that there is a consensus around two aspects that stands out in the definition and manner in which the women interviewed conceive aesthetic-political activism. The first dimension attributed refers to its intrinsic relationship with struggles for rights and the breakdown of oppressive relations as well as inequalities present in societies Clearly, we are facing a struggle for equal rights of access to education, housing and leisure based on a society structured in profound inequalities of gender, class and ethnicity/race. As such, it is evoked as a process concerning the universe (real and symbolic) of the collective, and not of the individual, which explains the emphasis on joint construction previously discussed: or, as many today call do-it-together.

  • 1 Bennett, Andy. Guerra, Paula (Eds.). DIY Cultures and underground music scenes. London / New York, (...)
  • 2 Beck, Ulrich. The risk society: towards a new modernity. London, Sage, 1992.

21But the ballast of these representations comes from behind. Bennett and Guerra argue that “while not avoiding counter-hegemonic concerns, this transformation of DIY into what could reasonably be called an ‘alternative culture’ has also seen it evolve into a level of professionalism aimed at ensuring aesthetic and, whenever possible, economic sustainability1” of cultural production practices. In this sense, the authors argue that the conceptualization of the notion of career do-it-yourself presupposes understanding it as a form of professional trajectory, which starts from the need to manage the “pathological effects”, both politically and economically, of post-industrialization, and consequently, the risk and uncertainty that characterize contemporary societies. In a context like that in which we live - the society of risk2 - not only are the biographical paths more uncertain and unpredictable, but the processes become more and more individualized, and the social actors are impelled to create their own trajectories. Do-it-yourself cultural practices emerge as a response to this context, asserting themselves as creative cultural expression and materializing in economic practices - DIY cultural economies - that is, assuming themselves as viable occupations in professional terms. Technological innovations and the emergence and generalisation of the Internet contributed greatly to this.

  • 3 Bennett, Andy. « Conceptualising the relationship between youth, music and DIY careers: a critical (...)

22Although they do not provide a total democratization of cultural production processes (to the extent that, although smaller, there are still costs associated with the acquisition of technological tools, as well as intermediaries and, therefore, hierarchies of power struggles), their role as facilitators of access by an increasing number of people to the means necessary to produce and disseminate their own cultural products, be they music, literature, art, films or related artifacts, enabling them to transform cultural production practices into professional careers, is undeniable. In this sense, Bennett draws attention to the fact that if, on the one hand, the DIY career concept remains linked to the original dimensions of the DIY ethos and the search for independence, on the other hand, today this ethos is coupled with a recognition of the need to achieve a sustainable lifestyle, in which notions, previously taken for granted, such as a stable career and a constant salary no longer make sense3. And the networks, the “being with”, the do-it-yourself together is crucial.

The activistic art […] is to have the capacity to alter the relations of oppression, the relations of power. And that, of course, will have as a place of political choice and, a place of aesthetic expression. […] The potential of art to transgress, to surpass, to widen the space of life for myself and for a collectivity (Interview 1)

I don't think I could say a very formatted concept, but I think that activism, basically is the reaction to inequality. […] Aesthetic, I think, is a brilliant tool. I understood the issue of art as aesthetic, the intervention of public space […] is to occupy the spaces and change the narratives. (Interview 3)

Activism is connected to what exists of urgency, it is in the place of the action of the event of what is a problem now, of what is offered as a confrontation of the things that are happening now, no matter how much they have a history. (Interview 4)

23In the context of this conception associated with struggles for rights, it is pointed out that aesthetic-political experiences are conceived as processes that lead to empowerment and social emancipation, especially for women, because they awaken critical awareness and an affirmative posture in the face of oppressions experienced routinely, in such a way that the experiences of activism are not separated from everyday life, but incorporated as a way of relating and intervening in the world.

With punk you have to live punk […] It has to be a real thing, you have to be there with a political position against the system and there has to be something revolutionary. (Interview 5)

24 The other strongly mentioned dimension holds that aesthetic-political activism has the role of questioning the established places of representation and creating mechanisms capable of constructing new narratives, in the sense of breaking with the crystallized norms and unequal parameters. In this perspective, aesthetic-political activism would be viscerally linked to the creation of another “place of speech”, which would make possible the evocation of discourses consonant with the affirmation of the autonomy of subjects and collectives, making possible the emersion of voices, thoughts, and looks historically silenced.

When art is inserted in this place of political action, if it is, it is not always inserted. It is questioning these places of representation. […] also rethinking how this set of politics can touch representation, be it imaginative, be it sound or, be it even discursive representation, how we construct discourse and, how we put ourselves to talk about things. (Interview 4)

  • 4 Rancière, Jacques. A partilha do sensível…, op. cit., p. 17.

25It is perceived that the conceptions of aesthetic-political activism presented bring to light the issues of representation and discourse as pillars of this type of activism. Converging with this perspective, Rancière points out that “politics is concerned with what is seen and what can be said about what is seen, who has the competence to see and the quality to say, the properties of space and the possible of time4”. Again, it is possible to observe the interfaces between the empirical material and the mentioned references. The interviews signal elements that refer to the elaborations of the mentioned author, whether in relation to politics, the sharing of the sensitive, the duality of the sensitive and the aesthetic regime of the arts: all of them seem to express themselves in the daily life of the aesthetic-political activism of Brazilian migrant women artists.

And they continue to evolve: some conclusive clues

  • 1 Guerra, Paula. Quintela, Pedro. « From Coimbra to London: To live the punk dream and ‘meet my tribe (...)

26The movement of people is one of the main drivers of the phenomenon of globalization as it brings cultures closer together1. Today we are witnessing a fusion between the local and the global, which creates new spatial-temporal dimensions such as the transglobal, the translocal and the glocal. Cultures lose their authenticity as a result of the global influences that come to them, but new processes emerge from which we highlight new forms and narratives of aesthetic-political activism. The results presented allowed an initial approach to the universe of aesthetic-political activism led by female Brazilian activist artists with a history of migration, constituting a kind of signalling of the profusion of existing artistic experiences and the possible social and political implications for the strengthening of the fight for rights in the different host countries.

27 In this sense, it should be emphasized that these processes are in line with the construction of spaces and relationships of sharing of the sensitive that act as poles radiating democratic values and the affirmation of the role of the arts in the transformation of societies. This finds resonance in the conception of aesthetic-political activism unveiled, which is conceived as an action that materializes in aesthetic expressions with an inherently political character, centred on the struggle against social inequalities and oppressive relations, as well as the creation of other discourses, representations and spaces capable of subverting the established social order.

28 Thus, this study highlights the importance of the arts as devices promoting social emancipation and signals the need to develop new research in order to deepen the theme and subsidize the construction of public policies to promote the arts and culture, contributing to social inclusion and the guarantee of human rights of migrant women. Let us highlight the dynamics and processes, the flows, and refluxes of these women - fed by the arts, in a perspective of emancipation and social participation of do-it-yourself together.

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Notes

1 World Migration Report 2020. Geneva, Organização Internacional para as Migrações, 2019.

2 Balestro, Ana Cristina. Pereira, Telma. « Língua e cultura na feminização das migrações no Brasil », Trabalhos em Linguística Aplicada, 58(2), 2019, p. 779-794. Neves, Ana Sofia. Nogueira, Maria da Conceição. Topa, Joana Bessa. Silva, Estefânia. « Mulheres imigrantes em Portugal: uma análise de gênero », Estudos de Psicologia (Campinas), nº 33(4), 2016, p. 723-733. Yamanaka, Keiko. Piper, Nicola. Feminised migration in East and Southeast Asia: Policies, actions and empowerment, nº 11, Geneva, United Nations Research Institute for Social Development, 2016.

3 Ibidem. See also: Oliveira, Catarina Reis. Gomes, Natália. Indicadores de integração de imigrantes: Relatório estatístico anual 2018 (Imigração em Números – Relatórios Anuais 3), Lisboa, Observatório das Migrações, 2018. Carvalho Gomes, Ana Beatriz. Fernandes, Emilia. « Processos de discriminação de profissionais imigrantes e qualificadas em contextos laborais tipicamente masculinos », Ex aequo, nº 33, 2016, p. 117-132.

4 Ibidem. See also: Breidahl, Karen. Larsen, Christian Albrekt. « The myth of unadaptable gender roles: Attitudes towards women’s paid work among immigrants across 30 European countries ». Journal of European Social Policy, nº 26(5), 2016, p. 387-401. Kofman, Eleonore. Raghuram, Parvati. Gendered Migrations and Global Social Reproduction. Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, 2015.

5 Aladro Vico, Eva. Jivkova-Semova, Dimitrina. Guedes Bailey, Olga. « Artivism: A new educative language for transformative social action ». Comunicar, nº 26(57), 2018, p. 9-18. Becker, H. S. Art worlds. Berkeley, University of California Press, 1982. Kellenberger, Sonja. Espaces publics et formes de mobilisation politique: Le rôle des pratiques artistiques, Paris, Programme interministériel de recherches, 2000. Guerra, Paula. « Keep it rocking: The social space of Portuguese alternative rock (1980-2010) ». Journal of Sociology,n.º 52(4), 2016, p. 615–630. Guerra, Paula. «Raw power: Punk, DIY and underground cultures as spaces of resistance in contemporary Portugal ». Cultural Sociology, 12(2), 2018, p. 241–259. Costa, Pedro. Lopes, Ricardo. « Artistic urban interventions, informality and public sphere: Research insights from three ephemeral urban appropriations on a cultural district ». Portuguese Journal of Social Science, nº 16(3), 2017, p. 323-342.

6 Held during the first semester of 2020 by the authors under the MigraWomen project led by the University of Porto. This article is part of the development of the Research Projects “Youth and the Arts of Citizenship: Creative Practices, Participatory Culture and Activism”, funded by the Foundation for Science and Technology (PTDC/ SOC -SOC/28655/2017) and “CANVAS - Towards Safer and Attractive Cities: Crime and Violence Prevention through Smart Planning and Artistic Resistance” (Ref. POCI-0145-FEDER-030748).

7 Lévy, André. Ciências Clínicas e Organizações Sociais, Belo Horizonte, Editora Autêntica, 2001.

8 Bardin, Laurence. Análise de Conteúdo, Lisboa, Edições 70, 1977.

1 Coletivo 28 de Maio. « O que é uma ação estético-política? (um contramanifesto) », Vazantes, nº 1(5), 2017, p. 191-200.

2 Sandoval, Chela. Latorre, Guisela. « Chicana/o Artivism: Judy Baca’s Digital Work with Youth of Color ». In Anna Everett (Ed.). Learning race and ethnicity: Youth and digital media. Cambridge, The MIT Press, 2008, p. 81–108.

3 Campos, Ricardo. Sarrouy, Alix. « Juventude, criatividade e agência política », Tomo, nº 37, 2020, p. 17-46.

4 Raposo, Paulo. « “Artivismo”: Articulando dissidências, criando insurgências ». Cadernos de Arte e Antropologia, nº 4(2), 2015, p. 3-12.

5 Guerra, Paula. « Nothing is forever: Um ensaio sobre as artes urbanas de Miguel Januário±MaisMenos± », Horizontes Antropológicos, nº 25(55), 2019, p. 19-49.

6 Aladro Vico, Eva. Jivkova-Semova, Dimitrina. Guedes Bailey, Olga. « Artivism...», op. cit.

7 Mourão, Rui. « Performances artivistas: Incorporação duma ética de dissensão numa ética de resistencia », Cadernos de Arte e Antropologia, nº 4(2), 2015, p. 63.

8 Guerra, Paula. « Raw power: Punk, DIY and underground cultures… », op. cit.

9 Raposo, Paulo. « “Artivismo”: Articulando dissidências… », op. cit.

10 Ardenne, Paul. Un arte contextual. Murcia, CENDEAC, 2008.

11 Guerra, Paula. « Nothing is forever…», op. cit.

12 Silva, Augusto Santos. Guerra, Paula. Santos, Helena. « When art meets crisis. The Portuguese story and beyond ». Sociologia, Problemas e Práticas, n.º 86, 2018, p. 27-43.

13 Guerra, Paula. « Nothing is forever...  », op. cit.

14 Silva, Augusto Santos. Guerra, Paula. Santos, Helena. « When art meets crisis… », op. cit.; Mourão, Rui. Representações de contrapoder: performances artivistas no espaço público português, Lisboa, ISCTE-IUL, 2013 and « Performances artivistas... », op. cit.

15 Gonçalves, Fernando do Nascimento. « Performance: um fenômeno de arte-corpo-comunicação », Logos, nº11(20), 2004, p. 76-95. Cohen, Renato. Performance como linguagem: Criação de um tempo-espaço de experimentação, São Paulo, Editora Perspectiva, 1989.

16 Gonçalves, Fernando do Nascimento. « Performance: um fenómeno…», op. cit., p. 77.

17 Rancière, Jacques. A partilha do sensível: Estética e política, São Paulo, Editora 34, 2005.

18 Shapiro, Roberta. « Que é artificação? », Sociedade e Estado, vol. 22, n. 1, 2007, p. 135-151.

1 For further developments, see http://grafiasdebiamedeiros.blogspot.com/2014/04/presenca-eorganicidade.html

2 The Bundalelê is a sarcastic practice against the power and the system.

3 In the late 1980s, Bia Medeiros returned to Brazil and became a professor at the Arts Institute of the University of Brasilia, where she developed activities that gave rise to the collective Corpos Informáticos [Computer Bodies]. As the years went by, the group Corpos Informáticos acquired its own artistic identity, becoming a collective, independent from the University of Brasilia. It focuses mainly on performances, that is, live actions. The group decides to invest in the use of obsolete objects (low-tech - low technology) and in the anthropophagic translation of terms-concepts such as performance, urban intervention, ephemeral, etc. It adopts a favorable posture to the Brazilian approach to issues related to the binomial art and technology. From this commitment, the resignification of terms such as “fuleragem”, C.U. (urban composition), 'mixuruca' and others emerges. The terms follow the logic inaugurated by Hélio Oiticica (1937-1980), in the use of moving words that, belonging to a vocabulary outside the official art circuit, challenge him by the simple mention. For example, the term “maria-sem-vergonha”, which designates the concept of rhizome, according to the philosophy of the French Gilles Deleuze (1925-1995) and Félix Guattari (1930-1992), ends up unfolding into two others: the “ia-sem-ver”, a kind of defense of action that uses all senses, and the "margonha", a word built with the remains of the previous pun.

4 Medeiros, Maria Beatriz. Aquino, Fernando. « Kombi, Kombeiro, Kombunda e Bundalelê na Kombi. Performance e memória ». In Anais do VII Congresso da ABRACE - Associação Brasileira de Pesquisa e Pós-Graduação em Artes Cênicas - Tempos de memória: Vestígios, ressonâncias e mutações, Porto Alegre, ABRACE, 08 a 11 de outubro de 2012, p. 3.

5 Medeiros, Maria Beatriz. Aquino, Fernando. « Kombi, Kombeiro, Kombunda e Bundalelê… », op. cit, p. 3.

6 See https://feminista.pt/evento/editatona-visibilizando-as-margens-juntes-editamos-a-wikipedia-25-maio-festival-feminista-de-lisboa-2019

7 The association entitled Archives de l'Immigration Familiale (ARIFA) is one of the largest and oldest associations of social and cultural mediation located in the Île-de-France/France region and has as one of its objectives the reception and social insertion of migrants. It was one of the partners of the Parallel Lives Project (PVP) Migrants Brazil-France CAPES-COFECUB. This project constitutes an action-research carried out through international cooperation between the University of Brasilia, the State University of Rio de Janeiro, University of Paris 13 and University of Montpellier 3.

8 Washington, Claudia Teresinha. Rasgo : a arte de engendrar espaços. Brasília, Universidade de Brasilia, 2019.

9 Rancière, Jacques. A partilha do sensível…, op. cit, p. 15.

10 Rocha, Tatiana Gomes da., Kastrup, Virginia. « A partilha do sensível na comunidade: interseções entre psicologia e teatro », Estudos de Psicologia (Natal), nº 13(2), 2008, p. 99. Free translation.

1 Bennett, Andy. Guerra, Paula (Eds.). DIY Cultures and underground music scenes. London / New York, Routledge, 2019, p. 7.

2 Beck, Ulrich. The risk society: towards a new modernity. London, Sage, 1992.

3 Bennett, Andy. « Conceptualising the relationship between youth, music and DIY careers: a critical overview », Cultural Sociology, nº 12(2), 2018, p. 140–155.

4 Rancière, Jacques. A partilha do sensível…, op. cit., p. 17.

1 Guerra, Paula. Quintela, Pedro. « From Coimbra to London: To live the punk dream and ‘meet my tribe’ ». In Sardinha, João. Campos, Ricardo (Ed.). Transglobal sounds. Music, youth and migration. Londres, Bloomsburry, 2016.

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Table des illustrations

Légende Figure 1. Poulet Rôti, performance of Bia Medeiros and Suzete Venturelli. Paris, 1985. And Bundalelê, performance of Corpos Informáticos (Bia Medeiros), Brasília, 2010. Source : Alexandra Martins photo courtesy of Bia Medeiros.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/mimmoc/docannexe/image/5403/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 117k
Légende Figure 2. Videoinstallation LAVRA of Juliane Peixoto. Belo Horizonte, 2015. Source: Photos from the personal collection of Juliane Peixoto.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/mimmoc/docannexe/image/5403/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 231k
Légende Figure 3. Sopro, performance of Claudia Washington, Montreuil, 2019. Source: Photos from the personal collection of Claudia Washington. And Installation details Rasgo Coletivo - Les sans-papiers of Claudia Washington, Montreuil, 2019.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/mimmoc/docannexe/image/5403/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 232k
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Pour citer cet article

Référence électronique

Paula GUERRA, Maria da Graça HOEFEL, Denise OSÓRIO SEVERO et Sofia SOUSA, « Women on the Move. Contributions to the aesthetic-political activism approach of Brazilian migrant women », Mémoire(s), identité(s), marginalité(s) dans le monde occidental contemporain [En ligne], 21 | 2020, mis en ligne le 17 août 2020, consulté le 24 novembre 2020. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/mimmoc/5403 ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/mimmoc.5403

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Auteurs

Paula GUERRA

University of Porto, Faculty of Arts and Humanities and Institute of Sociology. PhD in Sociology. Sociology Professor at the Faculty of Arts and Humanities and Researcher at the Institute of Sociology of the University of Porto. Adjunct professor at the Griffith Center for Social and Cultural Studies in Australia. Collaborative researcher at the Transdisciplinary Research Centre “Culture, Space and Memory” and at the Centre of Studies in Geography and Spatial Planning, Portugal. E-mail: pguerra@letras.up.pt. ORCID: 0000-0003-2377-8045.

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Maria da Graça HOEFEL

University of Brasília, Department of Collective Health. PhD in Sociology by the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (2003), Post-doctorate from the Federal University of Ceará (2012), Post-doctorate from the University of Paris Descartes (2016). Professor at the Department of Collective Health of the University of Brasilia. National Coordinator of the Parallel Lives Project and the Indigenous Health Clinic of the University Hospital of Brasilia. E-mail:gracahoefel@gmail.com. ORCID: 0000-0003-2176-5013.

Denise OSÓRIO SEVERO

University of Brasília, Department of Collective Health. PhD in Health Sciences/Collective Health (2014) from the University of Brasilia and the University of Paris Descartes. Researcher at the Parallel Lives Project and the Indigenous Health Clinic of the University of Brasilia. Assistant Coordinator of the Parallel Lives Project. E-mail: denisesevero.unb@gmail.com. ORCID: 0000-0002-9337-9309.

Sofia SOUSA

University of Porto, Faculty of Arts and Humanities and Institute of Sociology. Master in Sociology from the Faculty of Arts and Humanities of the University of Porto. Research Fellow at the Centre of Studies in Geography and Spatial Planning and Institute of Sociology from the University of Porto. E-mail:sofiaarsousa22@gmail.com. ORCID: 0000-0002-3504-5394.

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