“To live together in the world means essentially that a world of things is between those who have it in common, as a table is located between those who sit around it; the world, like every in-between, relates and separates men at the same time.”

Hannah Arendt. The Human Condition.

Instituto MESA is dedicated to transdisciplinary research, projects and publications that foster and deepen encounters between art, culture and society.

MESA Philosophy

Micro-geographies of hope
Drawing on key concepts such as Ernst Bloch’s “principle of hope” and Milton Santos “geography of actions,” a micro-geography of hope seeks a 1:1 human scale as a counterpoint to the monumental via aesthetic and environmental interactions and small socio-political gestures.

Ethic of shared experiences
The process of a collective construction of knowledge grounds an ethical practice that fosters both singularity and solidarity as a means to offer new understandings of the meaning of (the) public both for art and its institutions. In this way, the confluence between the place of art’s creation and reception is re-imagined politically by a public praxis of sharing of multiple voices, by welcoming new forms of production and knowledge circulation both inside and outside the fields of art, culture and education.

From the poetics of infinity to a pedagogy of infinity
An experimental relation between art and education where the processes of creation and subjectivization are intrinsically and mutually affected as open and living discoveries. This convergence of aesthetics, pedagogy and process invokes the practice of Paulo Freire who noted that “the only option for a progressive educational practice will never be anything other than an adventure in unveiling” and the understanding of aesthetic practice as both a finely tuned and unconscious process of “knowing what you are doing without knowing what you are doing” as articulated by Jacques Ranciére.

Collections of experiences
A collection of experiences takes into account the registering of voices and interpretations that constitute and institute the public life of art and its institutions. This curatorial approach conceives of an institutional collection not only as one of an accumulation of objects, but also as a collection of experiences that over the years will institute and deepen the production of critical and public meaning about the reception of art.

Care and belonging
The practices of care and belonging focus on the construction of relations and social bonds in the production and reception of art as places of and opportunities for affection, potential action, and the multiplication of voices and narratives. This reflects an emergent demand for new ways to think and act in the public sphere via an understanding of publicness or an active and processual, rather than fixed, sense of belonging, care and responsibility for being in the world.

Working with the principle of the Moebius Strip
The Moebius Strip’s seemingly two- but actually one-sided surface offers a complex interrelated image / process to think systemically, which counteracts binary systems of historical and socio-cultural oppositions. In so doing, it symbolically breaks down traditional divisions of class and narratives and collapses dichotomies such as inside and outside, subject and object, subject and world, public and private, art and education.


Co-founder & director: Jessica Gogan is an independent curator and educator based in the US and Brazil and director of Instituto MESA and co-editor and coordinator of Revista MESA, the institute’s digital periodical. Recent projects include: coordination of the seminar Art & Environmental Action held at Museum of Contemporary Art, Niterói, the Experimental Nucleus of Education & Art at the Museum of Modern Art, Rio de Janeiro, evaluation of the pedagogic project of the 8th Mercosul Biennial, Porto Alegre, Brazil and the exhibition and residency by Brazilian artist José Rufino at The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh USA, where Gogan was formerly director of education and curator of special projects. She is also currently a Ph.D. candidate in Art History at the University of Pittsburgh.

Co-founder & academic consultant: Luiz Guilherme Vergara is a professor in the Department of Art at the Federal Fluminense University (UFF) and teaches in the graduate programs: Studies in Contemporary Arts and Culture and Territoriality. As curator/ director of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Niteroi (MAC) 2005-2008 he was responsible for curating several exhibitions focusing on the dialogue between the architecture of Oscar Niemeyer and contemporary artistic practices, such as Poetics of the Infinite (2005) and Lygia Clark: Poetic Shelter (MAC, 2006) as well as the outreach initiative Art and Environmental Action (MAC, 1998 -) working with the favela community Morro do Palácio. In 2013, on returning to MAC, he curated exhibitions of the Brazilian artists Alexandre Dacosta, Suzana Queiroga, and Carlos Vergara as well as co-curating the exhibition Joseph Beuys: Res-Publica: Conclamation for A Global Alternative. His research interests focus on the interface between art, museums and society and he is co-editor of Revista MESA.

Co-founder & General Coordinator: Sabrina Curi develops, manages and coordinates diverse cultural projects. She is currently Development Director at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Niterói as well as general coordinator of Instituto MESA. Recent projects for the institute include administrative management for the Experimental Nucleus of Education & Art at the Museum of Modern Art in Rio de Janeiro (MAM) (2009–2013) and the education project for the exhibition Hélio Oiticica – Museum is the World at Paço Imperial/Casa França Brasil, 2010. She was Administrative Associate for the company World of Ideas where she managed the restoration project of the urban artist/prophet Gentileza called Rio with Gentileza (2010-2011), and where she also coordinated the launching of five books. She lived in London from 2006–2008 where she was Executive Producer of the project Brazilian Contemporary Art and coordinator of Art, Culture and Education both at the Brazilian School. She graduated with a degree in Cultural Production from UFF in 2002.

Curatorial Committee
Angela Mascelani was born in São Paulo and moved to Rio de Janeiro in 1976 after completing her BA in Art Education. She completed a Masters in Visual Anthropology at the School of Fine Arts of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro in 1996 and a PhD in Cultural Anthropology from the Institute of Philosophy and Social Sciences of the same university in 2000. In 1996 she assumed the curatorship of Casa de Pontal folkloric and popular art museum, actively contributing to the formulation and implementation of a new model of institutional management. Throughout her career she has written articles for newspapers and magazines and worked in various areas as a researcher, filmmaker, educator and curator of exhibitions of both national and international art. She is author of the books: O mundo da Arte Popular Brasileira (2002) and Caminhos da Arte Popular: o Vale do Jequitinhonha (2008). Recent curatorial work includes: O Brasil na arte Popular Brasília, (2010), Máquinas Poéticas – Abraham Palatnik together with the artists Nhô Caboclo, Laurentino, Adalton e Saúba (2010); Farnese de Andrade e os ex-votos (2011/2012) e Criaturas Imaginárias: Manoel Galdino e os contemporâneos Angelo Venosa, Cristina Salgado, Eliane Duarte e Zé Carlos Garcia (2013). She has been curator and director of Casa do Pontal since 2004.

Bia Jabor is an artist and art educator. She received her BA in Education with specialization in Fine Arts from FAAP (Fundação Armando Alvares Penteado) in São Paulo. Since 2008 she has been Manager of Art and Education at Casa Daros, Rio de Janeiro. From 2004 to 2008 she was director of the Division of Art Education at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Niterói and prior to that a member of their education team. In 2007 she coordinated the educational program of the Telecommunications Museum and cultural space Oi Futuro in Rio de Janeiro. She has more than fifteen years experience in the area of museum education including coordinating projects for temporary exhibitions, developing educational research and materials for teachers, and mediation training.

Carlos Vergara was born in the city of Santa Maria in Rio Grande do Sul in 1941. He began his career in the 1960s, when as young artist he incorporated resistance to the military dictatorship into his work. In 1965, he participated in the show Opinião 65 at the Museum of Modern Art, Rio de Janeiro, considered an historical landmark in the history of Brazilian art. This exhibition prompted the forming of the New Brazilian Figuration movement in which Vergara played a key role along with other artists, such as Antônio Dias, Rubens Gerchmann and Roberto Magalhães, all of whom produced art with strong political content. In the 1970s, Vergara’s work underwent a major change and he began to carve out his own particular space in the history of Brazilian art, mainly through photographs and installations. Since the 1980s, the artist has integrated his extensive travels into his work incorporating experimental techniques with painting and monotype prints. Over the course of his career, Vergara has been involved in more than 180 solo and group shows.

Frederico Coelho is Professor of Literature and Performing Arts at PUC-Rio. Assistant curator at MAM-Rio de Janeiro between 2009 and 2011, Coelho has organized several books and written numerous articles, texts and essays on Brazilian visual arts. He was one of the first curators for the exhibition project Travessias in Bela Maré, a cultural center in Rio de Janeiro’s Maré favela (2011). He is author of the books: Livro ou Livro-me: os escritos babilônicos de Hélio Oiticica (EdUERJ, 2010) and Conglomerado Newyorkaise (with César Oiticica Filho, Azougue, 2013).

Jailson de Souza e Silva has a degree in Geography from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (1984), a Masters in Education from the Pontifical Catholic University (PUC) of Rio de Janeiro (1994), and Ph.D. in Sociology of Education from PUC (1999). He finished his post doctorate at John Jay College of Criminal Justice – City University of New York. He is Associate Professor at Federal Fluminense University (UFF) and founded in 2001 the Favela Observatory of Rio de Janeiro. He was Secretary of Education of Nova Iguaçu and Executive Sub-Secretary of the State Department of Social Welfare and Human Rights of Rio de Janeiro. He has research and studies published in Urban Studies and Policies focusing on the following subjects: social policies, slums, suburbs, violence, education, and drug trafficking.

Luiz Camillo Osorio has a doctorate in philosophy and is a professor in the Philosophy Department of PUC-Rio as well as being the chief curator at the Museum of Modern Art, Rio de Janeiro. He is author of the following books: Flavio de Carvalho, Cosac & Naify, SP, 2000; Palatnik, Cosac & Naify, SP, 2004; Reasons Critical Zahar, RJ, 2005, and Angelo Venosa, Cosac & Naify, SP, 2008. Osorio has also curated numerous independent projects and exhibitions.

Pedro Duncan graduated in civil engineering from the Federal Fluminense University and received a masters degree in production engineering from Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) as well as two executive MBA, one from UFRJ and the other from São Paulo University. He worked for Brazil’s national bank of social development (BNDES) for 31 years holding a variety of executive positions in the area of business relations notably those dedicated to developing financial products to support small and medium size innovative companies and improve their governance and administration. Amongst the various positions he held: Manager Variable Income Operations, Head of the Department of Investments in Private Equity and Venture Capital and of the Department of Participation Management and Superintendent of Social Development and Head of Administration. Since 2008 he is active as an executive consultant and is a member of various committees and boards: Audit Committee and Administration Board of the IOCHPE company (april 2010 – 2013 and re-elected in april 2013), Fiscal Committee of Cultural Inglesa SA (2011 – 2013 re-elected in april 2013) and Administration Board of BERTIN SA (april 2008 to february 2010).

Virgínia Kastrup has a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Pontifical Catholic University (PUC) São Paulo and is Associate Professor at the Graduate Program in Psychology at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ). She is a member of Group for Cognition and Collective Research (NUCC) and is a National Center for Research (CNPq) scholar. Her investigations are focused on the areas of art, the production of subjectivity and visual impairment. She has published: A invenção de si e do mundo (Papyrus, 1999; Authentic, 2007) Políticas da Cognição (Kastrup, Tedesco and Steps, Sulina, 2008). She is one of the organizers of Pistas do Método da Cartografia (Steps, Kastrup and Escóssia, Sulina, 2009) and Exercícios de ver e não ver: arte e pesquisa com pessoas deficientes visuais (Moraes and Kastrup, Nau, 2010) and has written numerous texts in diverse edited collections and specialized magazines.