CAPACETE launches the second edition of its yearly program in the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for up to 12 international participants dedicated to research and practice in the arts and critical thought. It will start its second edition in March 2016. Thought is action.
Our globalized contexts are structured by an unequal social distribution of labour and wealth, increasingly moulded by speculative market-based economics. Many of today’s cultural manifestations are large-scale events that are too often either directed at a generic public or a restricted elite. This reduces and neutralizes the concrete ethical and political reach of art, as well as its potential for fostering discussion and inspiring other ways of working, thinking, relating, and living.
Our intention is to build situations and develop strategies that provide a concrete and actual alternative to this state of affairs. Our program is designed to reflect the cross-disciplinary character of contemporary aesthetic practices, by working with artists and thinkers whose endeavours articulate the theoretical world with artistic presentations in several formats and dynamics and for different audiences. By challenging the actual state of culture, economy and education, our primary function will embrace self-organized, artist-run, participatory and collaborative modes of action as a fundamental part of the content and structure of its activities.
Such initiatives can only be developed over time, by means of the simultaneous activation and advancement of various forms of exchange, distribution, and production. Our intention is to remain responsive and fluid throughout this process, adjusting our strategies, tactics, and aims as we develop. An integral aim of our program is to continually expand our platform of exchange, by bringing in new participants and interlocutors, fostering relationships with different institutions and organizations, as well as by deepening our ties and relationships with established collaborators.
CAPACETE acts at the intersection of various social and professional fields, thus requiring the selected participants to fully embrace an open and “horizontal” dialogue, and to actively engage in program activities by instigating projects that can in turn act as platforms for disseminating information, promoting active responses, and generating public debate.
Brazil’s paradoxical reality has been moulded by colonial power structures, as can be seen in its asymmetrical class structure, regular incidents of state violence, and in its unexamined logic of unrestrained exploitation and profit, all of which were reinforced by two military dictatorships in the 20th century and more recently by Latin-style neo-liberalism. Constantly undergoing economic changes and political transformations, the government’s predilection for short- term cultural policies added to a lack of investment in cultural institutions, has generated a fragile cultural context. Meanwhile, corporations have been actively investing in and dominating the cultural landscape, motivated in large part by tax deduction policies and federal laws (cf. Lei Rouanet, 1995). This has generated high-profile venture and publicity but very little in the way of productive and continuous critical and political discussion, hence weakening an already fragile cultural context. In a country that has one of the highest wealth concentrations in the world, this has contributed to accentuate and maintain socio-cultural disparities.
One perverse result of a weak cultural scenario is the isolation of autonomous cultural producers and authors who, despite having a strong and important practice, cannot find the means to articulate their research and knowledge with other practices, actors and systems. CAPACETE intends to operate on a micro-scale, raising different modes of representation and production by means of intimate connections. Its cross-disciplinary approach aims to challenge and reinvigorate the actual Brazilian context and give it a different visibility, by creating actual alternatives to the existing cultural networks and formats. Working on a small scale is an essential part of our endeavour, as was also the case with the Capacete Entertainment Residency Program. In that sense, CAPACETE can be seen as the continuation and reactivation of practices and strategies developed by its former residency program, both designed to thicken socio-political and cultural practices by providing an active ground for discussion, debate, and cultural reflection.
CAPACETE has its own infrastructure: a house located in the neighbourhood of Glória, Rio de Janeiro, which consists of a fully equipped apartment for visiting contributors, a library (in different languages), a small flexible multi-purpose exhibition space, a lecture room, multi-purpose rooms, a garden, 2 fully-equipped kitchens (one in open air for bigger events). CAPACETE also co-runs a hotel-like structure where many professionals have been hosted during their visit to Rio de Janeiro. This structure will stay in close contact with CAPACETE and provide support for its activities.
+ To build on the legacy of 16 years of activity by the CAPACETE entertainments international residency program within a different program and structure;
+ To contribute to the local context by providing an educational research program of public interest for national and international young practitioners;
+ To foster new modes of operation and instigate a collective sensibility;
+ To rethink modes of production in an accelerated society;
+ To shape different labour relations based on conviviality and exchange;
+ To promote cross-disciplinary research within the different spheres of the social, establishing a forum for continuous public debate and exchange related to contemporary aesthetical practices and socio-political issues;
+ To establish and maintain a specialized archive and database on local and international cultural practices, including publications, dossiers, exhibitions, seminars and a website;
+ To create an environment that is accessible to participants from different economical backgrounds by helping finance their living expenses and participation in the program;
+ To interact with the local art context and community;
+ To collaborate with other similar national and international initiatives;
+ To operate in a sustainable and environmentally-conscious manner, and foster awareness by means of specific events, such as seminars, events, use of eco-friendly technologies, etc.;
12 participants will be selected for the program. Our aim is to reserve 4 positions for Brazilians, 4 for South Americans, and 4 for the rest of the world. The duration of the program is 10 months, from the 1st of March to the 16th of December, with a one-month break in August during the Olympic games, which will be held in Rio de Janeiro.
The program is designed as a fluid and adaptive platform of exchange between the participants and the lecturers and advisors. The program will offer 9 seminars given by 9 lecturers from different backgrounds. Seminars will extend from 3 days to up to 5 days duration. Each lecturer will also do a public talk open to the main public. In addition, different talks, presentations and events will be organized throughout the year with other guest lecturers.
One of the ambitions of our program is to have each yearly program culminate in a collective project, designed by the participants, one that can take on any number of forms (presentation, performance, publication, exhibition, seminar etc.). However, in keeping with the participative logic of our project, rather than frame this as a requirement, we prefer to conceive of it as a potential whose actualization will be decided by the participants themselves.
Participants are also encouraged to develop individual projects. Use of the facilities of CAPACETE resort office and exhibition space and other infrastructure will be made available for such projects, and contact with local institutions and agents will also be facilitated. The program will organize trips to different sites of interests in accordance with the selected group of participants (walks, seminars in different sites); and for this, will collaborate with similar organizations in Brazil and South America.
Studio visits with local and visiting professionals, as well as visits to the studios of local artists will also be organized. It is important to note that CAPACETE is not a studio-based program. Work facilities are available and can be organized on a case-by-case basis, but designated workspaces are not automatically provided for each participant.