Asked by the 7 billion Others project to make a film in São Paulo to be incorporated in the exhibition at the MASP, producers Kika Nicolela and Lucas Bambozzi decided to tackle one of the most challenging aspects of this metropolis: that of human mobility, namely of immigration and migration. São Paulo, the largest city of the southern hemisphere, has a long history of integration, assimilation and miscegenation of different ethnic groups and cultures. The influence of these peoples is easily discernible in the rich diversity in the composition of the São Paulo social texture.
Globally speaking, intolerance, preconception and exclusion have made it difficult to respect the differences in the dialogue between peoples. A distinctive potential is anticipated for São Paulo, its emergence as an example of a pluralistic city sheltering all cultures and races.
The question is whether this miscegenation process occurred without ambiguities or contradictions, free of racism or conflicts. What were the challenges faced by these peoples in their integration into society? And what about the most recent immigration, principally from Bolivia and African countries, or the migratory flow arriving from other states of Brazil? Is there no rejection or exploitation also in relation to these migrants/immigrants? Conversely, is not the very diversity of the culture, music, food, art, customs, religions, accents and physical features of the people of São Paulo significant proof of the harmonious coexistence of the people who came from other countries and states?
The film examines these questions through interviews with over 60 participants from among migrants, immigrants and children of immigrants, who shared their stories and experiences. People of different ethnic groups who came to São Paulo for the most diverse reasons - leaving behind their family, friends, culture, property and all that was familiar to them - and who today are all a part of São Paulo.
ABOUT THE SUBJECT
"We proposed to Yann Arthus-Bertrand this thematic outline - to speak about immigration and migration in São Paulo - principally because we believe that increasingly this is a basic subject in global terms. The more Brazil grows economically and the stronger it becomes politically, the more relevant it is to think about how the country must position itself in a probable new influx of immigrants, which is already becoming reality. From the interviews that we collect, generally it is perceived that São Paulo was a city shaped by immigrants and that this process occurred peacefully and cumulatively, but that there are still various flaws in the politics and legislation as regards immigration. Furthermore, we believe that this thematic outline creates a very interesting dialogue with the 7 billion Others project - as if in São Paulo we can find a sample of this global diversity, concentrated in a megalopolis, and even more diverse on account of decades of a process of miscegenation." Kika Nicolela
"The miscegenation process in Brazil is quite complex, as is any thought about what "Brazilian identity" is going to become. The population of São Paulo reflects this in quite an interesting way, since São Paulo brings together people from over 70 countries. We are led to think that this immigration process occurred with tolerance, in experiences of assimilation and integration. When we talk to people, we learn of stories that emphasize other nuances, since each feels this in a different and unique way, beyond the generalizations made around cultural diversity and migratory flows. What we did was to reexamine this subject, seeking harmony with the language already defined by the 7 billion Others project. To go into the questions of immigration and diversity is always enriching, a process that reveals fascinating aspects, that sometimes elude methodology and allow us to see through others, in studies that traverse various areas, involving different types of sensitivities." Lucas Bambozzi
ON THE RESEARCH AND RECORDING PROCESS
"From the invitation for production of the work, through the intermediary of Andrea Caruso, we widely discussed possibilities of introducing a more local framework, some procedure that would be relevant to our convictions as producers of documentaries, installations or projects considered more innovative. Both Kika and I already had some previous works that led us to differ somewhat from the suggested pattern. Since it would be a shared production, we wished to seek an interview logic or methodology common to both of us. We thought for instance of making with the actual interviewees of this sequence the interviews with the others, involving them in a less hierarchical narrative thread. We ended by adopting a language that gave priority to nearness to the interviewees, seeking the common denominator that finally was as much the result of our convictions as the need for a language compatible with the general project format." Lucas Bambozzi
"The interviews were carried out in studio. We decided to carry out the filming in studio mainly because of the limited production time that we had (less than 1 month in all for the project, and barely 3 days for recordings) and also for a consistent aesthetic option. However, we carried out research for almost 3 weeks in various neighborhoods of the city, and the interviewees also live in several different areas. Finally, we selected 61 interviewees." Kika Nicolela
ON THE INTERVIEWS
"Several of the interviews left a strong impression on me. A Polish lady, aged over 80, who described with great emotion how her father and her brother died in the concentration camps, and how she fought in the Resistance; a young Korean lady who cried from start to finish of the interview because she has not spoken to her family for a year because she is in love with a Brazilian, and who gave a very intelligent testimony of what it meant for her to be an immigrant child; a 50-year-old Egyptian man who until this day has been unable to find his cultural identity and is unreconciled to the immigrant status, which he himself finds absurd because he arrived in Brazil when he was barely a year old; an Argentinean who came as a political exile, and who spoke movingly about his companions who died during the dictatorship and on the way that he found a home in São Paulo; a lady over 90 years old of Russian origin who was born and lived in China, until she was expelled by the Chinese government and came to São Paulo alone with 3 small children; a young grandchild of Japanese who decided to look for his roots in Okinawa, in Japan, and gave a wonderful interview on how the memories, the family stories and our identities are in a constant process of construction (and deconstruction); these are some of the interviews that touched me the most, but there were many such." Kika Nicolela
ABOUT THE DIRECTORS
Kika Nicolela is an artist, filmmaker and independent curator. Her work is based on the encounter with others through the mediation of the camera, generally involving participative methods in the creative process and dealing with questions such as identity building and communication. She received a degree in Cinema and Video studies from the School of Communication and the Arts, University of São Paulo (ECA/USP) in 2002, and has already participated in approximately 100 solo and collective exhibitions in Brazil, Canada, Spain, Germany, USA, England, France, Portugal, Austria, Finland, Poland, South Korea, Slovenia, Sweden and Ukraine with video projections, installations and photographs. Her videos were exhibited and have won awards at festivals in over 40 countries. She won the Prêmio Mostras de Artistas no Exterior prize of the Biennial Foundation and Ministry of Culture, Support for the Production of the Visual Arts of the Department of Culture of the State of São Paulo, the Distribution and Cultural Exchange Program of the Ministry of Culture, the Exhibition Program of the São Paulo Cultural Center and the Support to Production of the Recife Art Week. She was artist-in-residence at the Gyeonggi Creation Center (South Korea), Künstlerdorf Schöppingen Foundation (Germany), Sumu AIR (Finland), Rondo Studio (Austria) and Casa das Caldeiras (Brazil); in 2011 she will also participate in the residency programs of Objectifs (Singapore) and Route Fabrik (Switzerland). Kika Nicolela is represented by the São Paulo gallery DConcept and by the Toronto-based distributor Vtape.
See her work on www.dilemastudio.com and www.vimeo.com/kikanicolela
Lucas Bambozzi is a documentarian, artist and researcher in 'new media'. He works in various means and media and has built up a sizeable body of works in video, film, site-specific installations, media interventions and interactive projects. His works have already been exhibited at festivals and exhibitions in over 40 countries. He was curator of events such as Sónar SP (2004), Life Goes Mobile (2004 and 2005), Container Art (2008) and Lugar Dissonante (2009). He is creator of the arte.mov International Mobile Media Art Festival (2006/2011). He was artist-in-residence at the Planetary Collegium in Plymouth, England, where he completed his M.Phil with research on pervasive systems in public spaces. He devotes himself to critical investigation of new independent media formats, and has participated actively in the emergence of media intervention collectives and of live video performances with the Cobaia and FAQ/feitoamãos groups. The questions relating to the concept of informational space and the specific features of an art produced from the mobilities and immobilities of the urban context are a constant in his recent works. In 2010 he participated in exhibitions at the ISEA in Germany and at the Ars Electronica in Linz, Austria, where his Mobile Crash project won an award. In 2011 he has a retrospective of his work at the LAA Alameda Art Laboratory, in Mexico, DF. His works are represented by the Luciana Brito Art Gallery.
See his work at www.lucasbambozzi.net
ESPM – Escola Superior de Propaganda e Marketing (Higher School of Advertising and Marketing)
Alice Shintani / Arsenal da Paz / Arsenal da Paz e Simone Bernardi / Associação de Coreanos / Carmen Victor / Casa do Imigrante/ CEABRA / Centro Cultural Africano / Comunidades Ciganas / Coral de Poloneses em São Paulo / Demétrio Portugal / Dona Lisa / IDDAB (Instituto da Diáspora Africana no Brasil) / Instituto da Diáspora Africana no Brasil (IDDAB) / Marcele Garcia Guerra / Marília Canovas / Memorial do Imigrante / Museu do Imigrante / Pastoral do Imigrante / Povo Indigena Pankararu / Projeto Fábrica / Roberto Casemiro / Rosana Gaeta