1. logbook
      11 September 2011

      Do you think I came all the way here to dance with Christians?

      Inti Guerrero on Flávio de Carvalho, entry #5
      1. Flávio de Carvalho, 'Experience no 4: Deusa Branca (White goddess)', 1958. Images from the film production in the Brazilian Amazon.
    2. “Voce acha que eu vim até aqui para dançar com Cristão?”

      Those were the words that Flávio de Carvalho shouted to his colleagues of an expedition in the Amazon, when he turned around to see that unlike himself, they had not undressed to join the tribal dance of the Xirianãs; the indigenous people they’d just encountered. FdC was obsessed with knowing populations whom hadn’t been influenced by or hadn’t had contact with Western civilization. Because he was a Nietzschean iconoclast who searched the primitive self of individuals, de Carvalho developed a great fascination for indigenous populations in Brazil’s rainforest. Since the late 1930s until the 1960s he participated in several governmental missions of the Indigenous Protection Service (IPS), which led him to carefully think what artistic project could best represent his inquiry.

      In August 1958 Flávio de Carvalho embarked on an expedition to Rio Negro in the Amazon. He brought with him a filming crew and a white actress from the city of Sao Paulo (Olga Walewska, a Sao Paulo socialite of Polish descent) to realize his Experiencia no 4; a film with a fictional narrative that portrayed the encounter and assimilation of the indigenous tribe with a white woman, whom they capture (presumably with whom they procreate) and whom later becomes their White Goddess. As explained in the interview, FdC’s main interest was to create a counter-meaning that would disenchant the belief system of a given crowd, in this case the tribe. However, keeping in mind that the final outcome was a film to be screened back in the metropolis, de Carvalho’s intentions seem twofold, as one can only wonder if perhaps he also wanted to disrupt the racial constructs of metropolitan Brazilians on the indigenous. This I find a very interesting aspect, because, although Brazil self-celebrates its multicultural society, there is a huge paradigm over how in modern history they’ve dealt with their existing indigenous tribes.

      A work by Cildo Meireles best illustrates such construct that still persists today; in 1974-1978 Meireles produced Brazilian bank notes of zero value, bearing an image of an indigenous person on one side and of a psychiatric patient on the other side.

      Although it never made it to the cutting room, FdC’s film project still persists today as part of his oeuvre that revolted against all cultural paradigms of corporeality and subjectivity. Recently the roaches of the film cans and photographs of the expedition have been digitalized.

      If I Can't Dance,
      I Don't Want to Be Part of
      Your Revolution