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São Paulo, Brazil


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Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil

Over the years, the Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil, created in 1983 by Solange Farkas and directed by her ever since, has become increasingly established as a diverse, multiple platform for spreading, fostering and promoting reflection on art productions from the Global South. This region of interest comprises countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, South and Southeast Asia and Oceania. Significant geopolitical changes are underway, radically resizing the notions of North and South, but the Festival still believes in the need to work for an art and culture scene in areas that are yet to create new forms of circulation and visibility.

Thus, the biennially held Festival sets out to identify, publicize and discuss emerging productions from the Southern scene, covering all video art languages and media. The open call-based selection of artists by a curatorial committee is a key democratic strategy to the Festival, enabling the construction of a space to showcase, discuss and produce knowledge about art made in the featured countries.

Diffusion and thought

The shortlisted artworks are made available by Videobrasil on online research platforms, websites, social media, documentary films and TV shows. The Festival also hosts Public Programs meetings, including debates and book launches, where artists, curators, critics, researchers, and delegates from various organizations and artist residency sponsors convene to ponder and discuss pressing issues from art and culture. Through these avenues, the Festival strives to enhance and broaden collaboration among artists, peoples and cultures, encouraging dialogue and horizontal debate to shed light on the flows of ideas and practices in the contemporary world.

The Festival’s bilingual publications comprise essays, reviews and pictures of the artworks and creative processes of the shortlisted artists, extending the organization’s efforts beyond the duration of the actual event and allowing international circulation of the featured pieces. More than merely documenting the Festival, these publications constitute an important part of the curatorial project, a key component for it to achieve its goals of spreading and discussing the issues set forth in each edition.

Awards and displacement

The Festival also grants a cash prize and two-month artist residency prizes, undertaken at Videobrasil Residency Network partner organizations around the world, based on the choices of an Award Jury composed of outstanding international curators. The winners receive trophies created for each edition by established artists. Previous collaborators such as Carmela Gross, Erika Verzutti, Luiz Zerbini, Raquel Garbelotti, Rosângela Rennó and Tunga, among others.

As part of Videobrasil’s mission, the Festival also enables the circulation of winning works, allowing broader access to them via its On Tour programs. The artworks are shown in new exhibitions held at Sesc units across the state of São Paulo, in the years subsequent to the Festival.


In its first edition, held in 1983, the Festival drew together a pioneering crop of Brazilian artists and video makers, becoming the first major effort in fostering the production and screening of works in this language. In the years that followed, the Festival kept breaking new ground by incorporating electronic art creations and configuring itself as a space for experimentation and risk-taking.

Beginning in 1992, the first year of its partnership with Sesc São Paulo, the Festival expands and affirms itself as a landmark international event, setting its geopolitical focus on countries of the Global South.

In 2011, the 17th edition of the Festivalunderscored new and important changes, as its open call embraced artworks in all visual arts languages, with no restrictions regarding medium or technique.

The Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil also played a key role in fostering dialogue between Southern art productions and the works of established artists from different parts of the world, having featured exhibitions by Olafur Eliasson (Denmark); Bill Viola, Gary Hill and Coco Fusco (USA); Peter Greenaway (United Kingdom); Marcel Odenbach (Germany); Akram Zaatari (Lebanon); Fabrizio Plessi (Italy); Robert Cahen (France); Eder Santos, Chelpa Ferro, Waly Salomão (Brazil), among others.

From its 19th edition, in 2015, onwards, Videobrasil innovates once again by launching two separate open calls. In a previously unseen initiative, the Festival will sponsor the development of four art projects, with oversight from the curators, to be shown during the event.

(From press information)


See also:

Associação Cultural Videobrasil
Objectives and activities

President and curator:
Solange Oliveira Farkas - biography



Associação Cultural Videobrasil
Av. Imperatriz Leopoldina, #1150
Vila Leopoldina
05305-002 São Paulo - SP

Tel.: + 55 (11) 3645-0516
Fax: + 55 (11) 3645-4802
Website / Email

Press contact:

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