Skip to content Skip to footer

Open call for artists: 22nd Biennial Sesc_Videobrasil

Application period: August 1–September 2, 2022

The 22nd Biennial Sesc Videobrasil opens an open call for artists from August 1–September 2, 2022. The COVID-19 pandemic caused this edition to be postponed for two years; it will now take place in October 2023 in Sao Paulo. From artists and/or collectives born and/or based in countries of the Global South, from the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries (CPLP), or who have lived there for at least five years, as well as Indigenous artists of any nationality, the Biennial will accept submissions of works in any format and language.

About the 22nd Biennial Sesc_Videobrasil

The event, which is known for its vitality, will celebrate its 22nd anniversary in 2023 with the theme “Memory is an editing station,” which is drawn from Waly Salomo’s poem “Open Letter to John Ashbery” (1943–2003). The Biennial, which is co-curated by Raphael Fonseca of Brazil and Renée Akitelek Mboya of Kenya, also commemorates the 40th anniversary of Videobrasil, a festival that began as a celebration of video but has now grown to include the widest range of artistic mediums. In this celebration, “it is therefore necessary not only to reflect on time and the many conceptions of memory, but also to revisit the importance of video in these four decades,” write the curators. It is also important to keep in mind that modern technology has revolutionized and improved the editing options, making them more accessible and at our fingers.

The 22nd Biennial strives to choose works that explore communal memories, the dynamic of recollection and forgetfulness that shapes historical and social narratives relating to peoples, nations, and geographic regions, well beyond these specific “editing stations.” “What are the ethical boundaries of a cut?” Who holds the power to do so? How to forge the memory of what we didn’t see or feel in our bodies? What are the limits of memory?”, question the curators.

Solange Farkas, the founder and artistic director of Videobrasil, draws attention to the context in which the open call for artists is being held, more than two years after a pandemic that has killed millions of people worldwide. Solange Farkas organized her first Festival in 1983. As a result, the drive to survive as well as the need to consider a recent and already terrible history become vital. “Surviving in the face of adversity is necessary, and the Biennial cherishes the expression of different voices, ways of negotiating the historical past and forms of reflecting on image creation today.” 

Those selected will take part in the exhibition at Sesc 24 de Maio (São Paulo, Brazil) and compete for the following prizes, to be awarded by the 22nd Biennial:

State of the Art Award: given to the work considered by the jury to be the most thought-provoking, powerful and significant in the Biennial.

Sesc Contemporary Art Award: given to outstanding works in the 22nd Biennial, produced by Brazilian artists and/or collectives that will be included in the Sesc Brazilian Art Collection.

O.F.F. Award: offered by the Ostrovsky Family Fund, it is given to a participating artist, of any nationality, who presents an original investigation of the moving image.

Artistic residency prizes will also be given, which will provide residency periods at partner institutions. Prizes include airfare, accommodation and per diem during residencies, which have an eight-week duration.

About the organizers

Associação Cultural Videobrasil

Associaço Cultural Videobrasil was established by Solange Farkas in 1991 in order to institutionally house the expanding collection of works and publications acquired since the first Festival Videobrasil, which took place in 1983. Since that time, the association has been steadily working to activate its collection, which includes works from the Global South, masterpieces of video art, original creations, and a sizable library of art periodicals. In addition to the Sesc Videobrasil Biennial, the Association also conducts significant research, dissemination, and mapping activities pertaining to its collection through national and international exhibitions, touring performances, publications, TV programs, documentaries, seminars, workshops, and get-togethers with artists and researchers, as well as artistic residency programs in conjunction with a global collaborative network.

Sesc—Social Service of Commerce

Sesc—Social Service of Commerce is a private, non-profit organization founded in 1946 by businesspeople in Brazil’s service and retail sectors. Sesc has about 40 centers devoted to culture, education, sports, leisure, and health in the state of So Paulo. Every year, almost 20 million people visit Sesc So Paulo. The role of Sesc So Paulo in education and the pursuit of social well-being based on a broad definition of culture serve as the organization’s guiding principles. In this way, the institution’s unrestricted access to its spaces and offerings aims to democratize cultural resources as a means of promoting personal autonomy. The institution’s primary responsibility in the field of visual arts is to promote and disseminate the study of historical artistic production, the study of contemporary artistic production, and the intersections with other artistic languages, with the organization of exhibitions for all audiences serving as its central tenet.

Read here the curatorial approach of the 22nd Biennial Sesc_Videobrasil.

Sesc 24 de Maio
Rua 24 de Maio
São Paulo-
Instagram / Facebook / YouTube