Accepted Paper:

'All in One Rhythm': Brazil's Museu de Arte do Rio  


Alex Ungprateeb Flynn (University of California, Los Angeles)

Paper short abstract:

This paper questions the notion of 'All in One Rhythm', the official slogan of World Cup 2014. It argues such discourse masks the competing interests of state and corporate patrons as to how ideas of Brazilian identity are to be reflected and produced through cultural politics.

Paper long abstract:

Nicolas Bourriaud's concept of 'relational aesthetics' (2002) argues that art has 'as its theoretical horizon the realm of human interactions and its social context rather than the assertion of an independent and private symbolic space' (2002: 14). Art works in this sense produce microtopias, small, temporary communities where we can 'invent democratic relations with our neighbors' (ibid: 45). Operating from this intellectual framework, how can we understand institutional spaces to negotiate the projection of a Brazilian 'national identity' and how 'democratic' are the microtopias created within these spaces? In the lead-up to mega-events, competing state and private interests are delineating new psycho-social and geographical spaces through which ideas of Brazilian identity are reflected and produced (Pardue 2011). The Ministry of Culture's 2013 budget of £1.5 billion represents a 65% increase on 2012 and investment is driving diverse projects, including the recently opened Museu de Arte do Rio (MAR). Financed partly by the state, and partly by Roberto Marinho, the 'Brazilian Citizen Kane' (Soares 1999), MAR foregrounds how forms of sociality generated by relational aesthetics can be freighted with bureaucratised understandings of aesthetic, political and financial value. This paper proposes an analysis of MAR's beginnings and its relations therein to corporate patrons. The paper seeks to deepen understandings of cultural politics and collective identities in institutionalised spaces.

Panel P042
Relational patrons: anthropological perspectives on transnational and intimate art collaborations