Hidden Lives

Nº6

03 2021

Revista MESA Nº6

Hidden Lives

Focusing on the interfaces between art and contemporary socially engaged practices, the 6th issue of Revista MESA, “Hidden Lives,” explores the multiple meanings of the hidden in society. Throughout the quest to shed light on the issues that shape, inform, and threaten our existence is recurrent, as is a critical and (re)generative desire to question – what art can do in contemporary life? The issue comprises case studies, articles, interviews, dialogues, films, and photo essays that come together as a body of collective initiatives, counter narratives, and different poetic and political strategies. Art here is part of the struggles for: restorative justice and social inclusion; recuperating memory and fighting repression; dealing with trauma; investigating hidden places and unraveling entangled silences; questioning school, religious, and psychiatric systems; generating other perspectives of what art can be, some not yet or beyond defining themselves as art; and inhabiting and transforming adversities as a catalyst for re-enchantment and imagining worlds otherwise.

As a platform for documentation, collaboration, and reflection, MESA functions as a magazine-as-commons and school, acting as a vital connective ground for learning and discussion and working with multiple organizations, collaborators, artists, researchers, institutions, universities, communities, and professors and students from diverse disciplines and backgrounds both in Brazil and internationally. These processes have been key to the singular cartography of the hidden that the issue aims to profile. Developed over the course of 2019-2021, inspired in part by the exhibition Guanabara Bay: Hidden Lives and Waters held at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Niterói, in 2016, this 6th MESA issue moves from local initiatives in peripheral “hidden” territories of Rio de Janeiro’s outlying regions – the Bumba favela in Niterói to the suburban region of São Gonçalo – to a web of connections with hidden lives and creative and imaginative worlds in Vale de Jequitinhonha in Brazil’s center-east; from questions of faith and religion to the legacies of dictatorships in Brazil, Argentina, and Chile; and in turn from collective actions in Pequena África [Little Africa] in the center of Rio de Janeiro to socially situated practices in distinct geographic and socio-cultural contexts and organizations in Ireland, Scotland, and Cyprus. 

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Care as Method

Nº5

12 2018

Revista MESA Nº5

Care as Method


This special 5th issue of Revista MESA Care as Method brings together multiple voices, practices and experiences to reflect on care: as a site of micropolitical action, artmaking and social reproduction. We are vested in a notion of care that thinks about and co-moves with the other that is, acts with, affectively and collectively. However, such possibilities have often been lost (or distorted) via the various uses or misuses of the word “care” in at times dismissive and authoritarian discourse. Drawing on this complexity as well as the potential of care practices in different socio-cultural contexts, this magazine is the result of three years of cross-cultural dialogue between Brazil and Scotland and aims to explore and understand how care can be mobilized as a method within contemporaneity and diverse forms of art practice.

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Past as Blueprint Hybrid Practices/Limit Zones

Nº4

05 2015

Revista MESA Nº4

Past as Blueprint Hybrid Practices/Limit Zones


This 4th issue of Revista MESA brings together critical reflections that draw on inspirational histories as vital contemporary touchstones.

Edson Sousa’s think piece explores utopia as a movement from the future to the past, a current against reality. In her photo essay Graciela Carnevale shares this idea of the counterflow of the future with the silenced utopias of the radical experiments of the Argentine Artistic Vanguard Group in 1968.

Two national case studies explore contemporary projects inspired in the experimental histories of the School of Visual Arts Parque Lage and Museum of Modern Art in Rio de Janeiro in the 1970s. In their international case study Mary Jane Jacob and Kate Zeller explore the vital historical touchstones of John Dewey and Jane Addams for their multifaceted project A Lived Practice in Chicago. In Santiago, Chile, Claudia Zaldivar narrates the history of the Museo da la Solidaridad Salvador Allende and its genealogy of hope and struggle.

In his article on free universities Sergio Cohn sketches the history of anarchist-inspired schools in Brazil and explores contemporary parallels. The issue’s video interview explores The Model: A Model for a Qualitative Society at Moderna Museet, 1968 and The New Model: An Enquiry, a contemporary research project that investigates The Model’s legacy.

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Publicness in Art

Nº3

05 2015

Revista MESA Nº3

Publicness in Art

The 3rd issue of Revista MESA presents an ecosystem of writings, practices and politics that call out for global alternatives and new forms of publicness.

Peter Pál Pelbart’s think piece initiates the issue’s play of networks and webs, associating the contemporary human being with the spider, in turn, intersecting with Rodrigo Nunes’ article on the political practice of “counterpimping” and Danilo Streck’s video interview on the reconfiguration of the public, then crisscrossing with the poignant embodiments of the Brazilian 2013 protests captured in the film by the collective ¡NoPasaran!.

A specially expanded volume, this issue highlights three national case studies with essays, videos, reflections, and testimonials resulting from the traveling project Publicness in Art, made possible by a grant award from the 10th edition of Funarte Redes de Encontros nas Artes Visuais (Networks of Encounters in the Visual Arts) of Brazil’s national art foundation: Rio de Janeiro, Porto Alegre in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul, and Juazeiro do Norte, Cariri, in the north eastern state of Ceará.

This web of insights is also cross-cultural with the inclusion of two international case studies: Glasgow Museum of Art, Scotland and Keleketla Library, Johannesburg, South Africa.

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Poetic Spaces = Ethical Languages Diverse Practices in Latin America

Nº2

03 2015

Revista MESA Nº2

Poetic Spaces = Ethical Languages Diverse Practices in Latin America

The 2nd edition of Revista MESA explores the interconnections between ethics and aesthetics that traverse art, activism and pedagogy in Latin America.

Fred Coelho’s think piece explores the themes at play in the issue and points to a collective searching for finding ways and means of  “how to live together”. The issue presents four case studies: Angela Carneiro introduces readers to the outreach course University of Quebradas; Roberta Condeixa explores Juan Manuel Echavarría’s experience in his therapeutic painting laboratory with former guerrillas of drug trafficking in Colombia; Felipe Moreno writes about René Francisco and his “pragmatic pedagogy” that engages students in creating collective actions outside the class room; and the argentine collective Ala Plástica describes their environmental and bioregional activism.

The video interview for this edition features the artist Carlos Vergara who, with his constant practice of dislocation and world travel, posits the potential of the artist as a “supporting actor”. The magazine also presents a sound essay by the artist Guilherme Vaz filmed and recorded in a part of Niterói’s Atlantic forest, once traveled by Charles Darwin. Finally, Cristina Ribas’ article explores her project “political vocabularies for esthetic practices,” a collaboration with 30 artists and researchers to create new political and transversal vocabularies.

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Territories and Practices in Process

Nº1

02 2014

Revista MESA Nº1

Territories and Practices in Process

Territories are defined by their practices; and in turn, practices are embodied in their territorializations–moments of instantiation amidst the daily flux. The 1st issue of Revista MESA explores this complex and mobile territory within the areas of contemporary art, curatorship and education. 

Tania Rivera’s “think piece” points to the poetic resonance of art in the world and the importance of a curatorial, critical and pedagogical practice of dispersion and dissemination. In two International case studies Claudia Zeiske and Nuno Sacramento speak to the vitality of contemporary art in rural contexts. Two national case studies explore the potency of the public life of art: 8th Biennial of Mercosul, Porto Alegre and diverse reflections on Ernesto Neto’s The Animal SusPensiveIntheLandGenscape. This vitality also offers new horizons to re-imagine art making as practices of caring and healing such as the collaborative process between Brazilian artist José Rufino and Alzheimer patients–part of an exhibition and residency at The Andy Warhol Museum. 

In addition, the video interview with Jailson de Silva e Souza, director of the Favela Observatory in Rio de Janeiro explores the city as a creative and pedagogic territory and the photographic essay by Leonardo Guelman captures the vitality of the folk religious world of people in northeastern Brazil.

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