São Paulo Biennial
In his philosophical autobiography Bodenlos [No Firm Ground] (1992), Vilém Flusser describes his attempt to restructure the São Paulo Biennial within the context of his communication theory, thus implementing the results of his studies on the practice of communication carried out at the Fundação Armando Alvares Penteado (Bodenlos, 1992, pp. 228–229). In his text “Proposta Inicial para a Organização das Futuras Bienais em Bases Científicas“ [Proposal for the Organization of Future São Paulo Biennials on a Scientific Basis] (1972), Flusser assesses the so-called “communicological” structure of the biennial, the internal communication between the producers (artists, critics, academics, decision-makers, and those who manipulate communication channels), as well as their communication with consumers of culture.
In his approach Flusser attaches particular importance to the selection of works for the exhibition as well as the selection criteria, and he proposes – a quite obvious suggestion – to reinforce communication with the audience. The objective of this proposal is to replace the “closed” structure of the selection and curating of artworks for the exhibition with an “open” structure, by creating laboratories and teams made up of Brazilian and international members. Flusser’s proposal thus outlines an opportunity to establish new relationships between center and periphery, where Brazil could become a role model for other international exhibitions. This possibility of transforming the structure of the São Paulo Biennial from a mere receiver of information flows coming from the northern hemisphere is stressed in curator Sheila Leirner’s concept for the 18th edition of the São Paulo Biennial, as proposed by Flusser. In an article published in the Hamburg-based magazine Spuren, Flusser describes the exhibition as a medium whose traditionally discursive structure can be changed into a dialogic structure (“Die 18. S. Paulo Kunstbiennale,” in: Spuren, no. 14, 1986, p. 45).
Original article by Vinicius Spricigo