Body Against Body

Instituto Moreira Salles

The battle of images, from photography to live streaming

In the search of the 5th Element
Bárbara Wagner

Wagner has dedicated herself to observing the relationship between manifestations of popular culture, especially music.

Her research into the brega-funk (literally, tacky funk) scene in Recife led to her film You’re Seeing Things (2015) and extended with her project about funk in São Paulo (Masters of Ceremony), which won a Photography Grant from ZUM/IMS in 2015.

Bárbara photographed more than 300 boys and girls who were determined to compete in front of a jury, paying careful attention to their look, performing new compositions, risking their voices and bodies in stage performances.

Some of the young people face the camera, making visual contact that conveys determination and confidence; while others look away, as if they were lost in daydreams of fame or were harboring doubts about the outcome of the contest.

The Body’s Resistance
Letícia Ramos

Letícia Ramos is a photographer-scientist, a traveler through the centuries, revisiting the inventions which changed the way we represent the world.

This work, The Body’s Resistance, refers to the developments of the Industrial Revolution, a period in which the photograph was used to support scientific theses, improve the “workshop of the world” and expand productive capacity.

The fragmented bodies, the mechanical devices, the dark background with dots of light, all establish a calculated and mysterious atmosphere, as if we were immersed in a robotic or space experience. The use of photography gives veracity to the work and gives even an unlikely situation a documentary feel when photographed.

The use of photography gives veracity to the work and gives even an unlikely situation a documentary feel when photographed.

Mídia Ninja

In June 2013, a group of young people stole the scene on the social networks with its coverage of the demonstrations against an increase in public transport fares.

Connected by computers and cell phones, Mídia Ninja produced live coverage and streamed video of the events breaking out in Brazil.

Embedded with the demonstrators, the young reporters provided thousands of viewers with a distinct perspective of the same event.
The impact was tremendous. In a brief time, the traditional press was consigned to the position of a blundering pachyderm, unable to keep up with the news as it developed.

The low quality of the images was obvious, but improved with time. Pixelated views, smudgy night shots, or even frozen images started to form a specific cinematic style of their own.

The Mask, the Gesture, the Paper
Sofia Borges

Sofia Borges’ photographs are the result of a period she spent in Brasília in February 2017, when she photographed what was going on in the Brazilian Congress, at a time when the actions of Congress and the Senate were weighing more heavily on the political scene.

Less than a year before, Congressmen and Senators had been highly visible during disturbing voting sessions, which culminated in the removal of the sitting President.

There are two sides to each of the works
in The Mask, the Gesture, the Paper. One side has photographs of slightly out of focus mouths, reproduced from the oil paintings by Urbano Villela celebrating previous Presidents of the Senate.

On the other side are gestures extracted from photographs of legislative sessions.

Postcards to Charles Lynch

Brazil boasts a shameful number of lynchings, many of which are documented and reproduced in photographs and videos. Perplexed by this situation, the Garapa collective decided to focus on these images.
They spent months of excruciating work researching Brazilian videos on YouTube.

In the book Postcards to Charles Lynch codes on shots from the videos are manipulated, by inserting the comments that they receive on the social networks.

The comments destroy the image code, leading to a visual distortion that reminds us of the visual noise on old TV s.

Cameras and cell phones have made the recording of lynchings commonplace now.

If there exist images of lynching, it is because there are people who photograph and film them, people who may be active participants, bystanders, or just witnesses.

Postcards to Charles Lynch is a manifesto of protest and a funeral monument against the desire to judge others and violate their body.

Me, mestizo
Jonathas de Andrade

Between 1950 and 1951, researchers coordinated by anthropologist Charles Wagley, from Columbia University, Thales de Azevedo, from the University of Bahia, and Luiz de Aguiar da Costa Pinto, from the University of Brazil (current UFRJ), carried out field studies in three communities to understand the economic, political, cultural and psychological factors that influenced race relations.

The project valued the community studies as a way of addressing complex social situations, matching empirical investigation with interpretative theories. Photography had a special role amongst the different research
tools. During the visits to the villages, photographs of men and women considered white, mulatto, black or mixed-race were shown to the inhabitants, who were asked to select those which showed “most, less, or least of a given attribute.”

The survey chose six attributes – wealth, beauty, intelligence, religiosity, honesty, and fitness for the job – and analyzed the results. They also asked standard questions: “Would you accept this person as a neighbor?” “Would you invite this person to dinner?” “Would you accept this person as a brother or sister-in-law?”

The results of the research were published under the title Race and Class in Rural Brazil: a UNESCO study (1952). While the book did not give examples of the images used by the researchers, it did include some photographs taken by Pierre Verger.

With the book in his hands, Jonathas de Andrade walked the streets of various Brazilian cities photographing people of different types in all sort of poses, some spontaneous, others posed. Between 2016 and 2017, he set up his portable studio in São Paulo, Maranhão, and Bahia, and produced hundreds of portrait photographs, ranging from full body shots to 3×4s. The portraits were then grouped and printed on
cheap cardboard, of the type used by stores to display full-sized images of celebrities and products.

Credits: Story


The battle of images, from
photography to live streaming

An exhibition by Instituto Moreira Salles Paulista, 2017

Artists: Bárbara Wagner, Garapa, Letícia Ramos, Sofia Borges, Mídia Ninja, Jonathas de Andrade

Curators: Thyago Nogueira e Valentina Tong (assistant)

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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