[-empyre-] Gambiologia as a Prelude to Critical Making in Brazil

Marcus Bastos info at contradiccoes.net
Mon Apr 7 07:50:13 EST 2014

Follow also the text I wrote for the Gambiólogos, catalog, this is one of the most important brazilian exhibitions related to critical making procedures: http://www.gambiologos.com/download/catalogo_gambioactivos_web.pdf 


Gambiólogos, curated by Fred Paulino is an amazing exhibition, almost an paradox in assuming such a dimension to address the precarious and the improvised. The 25 pieces gathered around the theme “Kludging in a DigitalEra” offer an eloquent testimony to the concentrated creativity available in practices related to the dismantling of hardware, the reuse of materials, the displacement of objects, and the reuse of waste.

They are artists of different generations, among Guto Lacaz, Paul Nenflídio, Fred Paulino, Jarbas Jacome, Fernando Rabelo and Alexander B, a cutout that allows us to understand the links between the pre-digital forms of kludging, and the latest developments, where the materiality of reprocessed scrap overlaps with algorithmic calculations typical of computers (uncertain, small, public, faulty, average, domestic, large, portable, fragile).

But this is not a retrospective, but a compilation. Another paradox, the amount of works,thediversityofartists,thesubtleties of approach, do not assume consistency in the work included in the show. In a sense, the exhibition set up in the Centoequatro, in Belo Horizonte, is a contemporary version of the park described by Rousseau, in which all the pieces fit together, but not the whole set. In Gambiólogos, the whole set fits, despite the explicit and intentional fracture of the pieces. Indeed, one of the important aspects of the exhibition is how the pieces on display function. Connections, gear, equipment, anything that is normally behind the scenes, is part of the space offered to the public. Besides the works, processes that encourage access to technology can also be seen, in a procedure that results in a stimulus to creative appropriation of the components.

Those works propose developments for the attitude of deconstruction of the other, of incorporating the external, of subversion of what does not belong. They are present in Oswald de Andrade, and the literary cannibalism of the Revista de Antropofagia (Antropophagy Magazine); in the disconcerting videoart of Eder Santos, especially in works like 4 maneiras de playtear a eternidade and Enciclopédia da Ignorância (4 ways of playtear eternity and the Encyclopedia of Ignorance), in which the artist builds sophisticated viewing devices and image fragmentation using few resources; in the corrosive cinema of Goifman Kiko, with movies that combine the domestic and the complex such as 33 and Filmefobia; in installations such as Spio and Mobile Crash in Lucas Bambozzi which subvert the logic of the devices hacking their operation.

The works present in Gambiólogos expand this approach which combines sophistication and precariousness by means of generous doses of invention. It is impossible, in this brief text, to explore all the diversity of approaches in the exhibition. Two examples represent a sample of this complex universe: Gambiociclo, a mobile broadcast unit which carries on the tradition of urban nomad vehicles, that exist for example in the work of Kristof Wodiscko. The work mixes visible and invisible components, searching for forms of broadcast which expand the collective aspect, distributed and common participatory in network processes; and Toc: trigger of everyday objects, a kind of jukebox devices of various types, which turns on and off in an unpredictable logic.

Gambiólogos, as well as the works in this exhibition, comprise a group greater than its parts. Together, the works in the exhibition provide a comprehensive diagnosis of outstanding practices in Brazilian art since, at least, modernism (including humor, irony, synthesis, resources optimization and the questioning of a downturn). Moreover, the works that comprise the taxonomy of kludging in a digital era allow a discussion concerning the ethics of recycling that has become central in the contemporary world. Opposite of garbage: Gambiologia... 

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