A Sunday afternoon and evening at Impakt HQ action packed with a reading, films, music and a Brazilian BBQ: on 20 May, we have a scrutinizing look at Brazilian myths in a programme compiled by artist Joris Lindhout and curator Maaike Gouwenberg who investigated the influence of Gothic Literature in Brazil. In the run-up to the Impakt Festival 2012 around the theme ‘No More Westerns’, this event demonstrates how stories from the past lie at the basis of a national identity and cultural cannibalism in contemporary Brazil.
What are the origins of Brazil’s contradictory image of exotic rituals and primitive violence? In Cannibalizing Cannibal Myth, Joris Lindhout and Maaike Gouwenberg introduce us to this complicated matter through film fragments, visual material and two films.
Focal point of this programme is the manner in which the myths created by Brazil’s first colonists, have found their way into these modern times. One example relates to the 16th century story of German Hans Staden who escaped a cannibal tribe and wrote in his diary how Tupi Indians ate their enemies to gain possession of their powers. His book later served as the blueprint for obscure cult cinema classics such as Cannibal Holocaust.
In the 20th century, Brazilian authors such as Mario de Andrade managed to use the myths created by outsiders in a strategic manner, in a quest for national identity. In Andrade’s book Macunaíma, cultural cannibalism or ‘antropofagia’ is a positive metaphor for the melting of cultures. In the footsteps of the man-eating Tupi Indians, the different cultures in Brazil had to digest each other in order to turn Brazil into a stronger nation.
The darker aspects of the nation are depicted in the Brazilian version of Frankenstein: Zé do Caixão. This mythological character, a violent Nietzschean funeral undertaker with a strong aversion against religion, was, among others, featured in the film Mojica by José Mojica Marins that will be screened.
The present Brazilian artists in residence of Impakt Works use the moniker “Leandro Nerefuh and Caetano Eh Macumba” to add music to this event with a Macumba soundtrack featuring Afro-Brazilian rhythms set to surprise our European ears. In addition, there will be a BBQ fitting to the theme and traditional Brazilian snacks. In conclusion of this event, the iconic rendition of Macunaíma by Joaquim Pedro de Andrade (1969) will be screened.
Joris Lindhout works as an independent artist at self formed Grok Projects and is currently building the ‘Department of Crime, Myth and Monstrosity’. Maaike Gouwenberg works as a curator at W139, De Zaak MG and is director of A.P.E. (art projects era).
Read more about their research in São Paulo on their blog Gótico Brasileiro.