Academic works that make a difference in the periphery

Atualizado em 13 de junho | 10:21 AM

This interview was originally conducted in Portuguese and published on this blog, having been kindly translated by the website It was first published in English on


Culture, literature, digital technologies and periphery productions can be found in the work of professor, journalist, essayist, and researcher Heloísa Buarque de Hollanda. Born in Ribeirão Preto, in the state of São Paulo, Heloísa graduated in Literature from the Catholic University in Rio de Janeiro (PUC/RJ) and completed her master and PhD degrees in Literary Theory at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ). She obtained a post-doctoral degree in the same area from Columbia University in New York.

She’s an emeritus professor at UFRJ, where she coordinates the Advanced Program for Contemporary Culture. She worked in journalism at various media outlets, presenting TV and radio programs and collaborating with the printing press, as well as the web. She also performed executive functions as director of the Museum of Image and Sound in Rio de Janeiro (MIS/RJ), between 1983 and 1984.

Currently, Heloísa is director of Aeroplano Editora, a publishing house of alternative editorial projects, and curator of a website on contemporary culture. Author of important publications to Brazilian culture and creator of projects that integrate periphery and academia, the researcher talked to Ecaderno about her professional trajectory, and about the obstacles and results of her work.

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Atualizado em 7 de maio | 12:40 PM

This article was originally written in Portuguese and published on this blog, having been kindly translated by the website It was first published in English on

In the context of the wide dissemination of urban cultural production at the end of the 20th century, one surprising segment is the activity of artists’ collectives in various formats other than graffiti – the visual expression, considered the official one, of hip hop culture.

These collectives came into being at the end of the 1990′s and produce intervention work in the public space.

Rapidly, such interventions permeated by the motto “important is to act”, began to take on the political role of social whistle blowing displayed in the public space. At the same time, the works produced also address production structures, within the framework of the art circuit and market.

Collectives, increasing in geometrical proportions around Brazil, bring something of a novelty plus. Collectives are not configured by their members, but rather by actions, always acting in a context of public intervention. Collectives are not cooperatives, they are not groups, they do not have a fixed membership number, nor can they be characterized as artistic movements. Their forms of organization are independent and for each action, or group of actions, collectives seek sponsorship, offering courses, selling works or performing services like illustration, design, video etc.

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Urban Connections: New Forms of Engagement

Atualizado em 18 de agosto | 1:55 AM

I have an operational addiction: reading newspapers while holding a pair of scissors in my hand in order to cut out anything relevant for future works. Well, then. For the last 4 years, my folder of clippings has been increasing and becoming almost monothematic. Funk taken over FM radios stations and middle-class parties. Cobertores (Blankets), a sold-out show about the reality of street children, directed by choreographer Carmen Luz with a cast of youngsters from the Andaraí slum. The world of fashion bowing to the style of slum artists. A novel such as Cidade de Deus (City of God) making to the list of best sellers and its film adaptation becoming an Oscar Indication.

In this scenario, at least one thing is making itself clear: a new element is reformatting (REFORMEITING) our cultural paradigms and expanding throughout the urban landscape of Brazilian cities.

Examining my increasingly heavy folder of clippings and surrounded, in my own daily life, by the force of this cultural effervescence, I began to work with this new phenomenon with a critical bias.

At this point I noticed the first issue that this material raises, one that signals the importance of the new cultural expressions currently emerging from the peripheries of the large cities.

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Two poetics, two moments

Atualizado em 18 de agosto | 1:55 AM

Heloisa Buarque de Hollanda

Federal University of Rio de Janeiro

I will examine emerging young poetry on the Brazilian cultural and political scene at two specific moments, both identified as moments of collapse, or at least decline, in the freedom and quality of artistic production. This is the case of marginal poetry –produced in the 1970’s during the full force of the military dictatorship — and of a new aesthetics of rigor, as the new poetry of the 1990’s has been called. The latter is produced under the most recent form of dictatorship imposed by the logic of consumption and the processes of globalization.

I will begin by discussing marginal poetry that, taking into account the negative reception of this generation of poets at the time, perplexingly entered into the canon as the expression par excellence of 1970’s poetics in Brazil.

What we now call marginal poetry was a kind of cultural event or, better, a poetic “outbreak” (to avoid the word movement, which implies a homogeneous and programmatic project) around 1972-73 that had a significant impact on the cultural environment of silence dictated by censorship and by the violence of military repression in Brazil.

This poetry was characterized by structural informality, not only in terms of a textual production marked by colloquial and witty expression, but also the manner that these authors conceived artisanal production and independent distribution of new and creative books of poetry.

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Atualizado em 18 de agosto | 1:54 AM

Revista Brazil Brasil – edição de 1985

Brazil is the 5th biggest country in the world, the most highly industrialized country in South America, it has a huge foreign debt (but is trying not to pay it), and its territory incorporates 60% of the Amazonia region ( which means that the world depends on us to breathe). Nowadays, Brazil’s 140.000000 inhabitants are “delighted” with our handsome & athletic 41 year-old president, Brazil’s first democratically elected head of state in three decades. Known as “Captain Marvel”, as the London Sunday Times called him last month, President Collor’s political obssession is to turn Brazil from a third world into a first world country.

Besides all these national wonders, we have a splendid natural landscape with beautiful beaches and a hot sun shining brightly throughout the year. In Brazil, women have always been allowed to display their bodies, their sexuality and their independent looks on the above referred seashores , during carnival , on television, or on the sidewalks as the tourists can often attest. If you are thinking at this point that Brazilian women are only objects of desire you’re wrong, and I can prove it. At this very moment, the fate of our country is in the powerful hands of a 37-year old single woman, with no children, named Zelia Cardoso de Mello.

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