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Atropelos - curated by Luiza Prado & Daniel Rourke

For the online component of the Islands programme, Luiza Prado and Daniel Rourke invite a potentially endless chain of artists to co-create a web-based billboard of graffiti-like visual calls and responses. Each artist will ‘run over’ one other in dissenting acts of ‘atropelo’: a term used in Brazilian graffiti culture for territorial interventions over someone else’s work. Subverting and writing over and into each other, the works appearing at atropelos.com and aos.arebyte.com throughout the latter half of 2018 will become a palimpsest of colonial counter-histories, and affirmative decolonising enunciations.

The project began with three physical posters created for the 2018 Walk&Talk Festival, in the Azores. The original works, pasted at locations of colonial significance across the shores of the island of São Miguel, addressed systems of power that have marked the history of the Azores islands. By inviting a series of artists to continue the project online, Prado and Rourke’s original inscriptions will become merely a part of a complex conversation on decolonising narratives.

In Portuguese, ‘atropelar’ is the act of running over something or someone; in Brazilian graffiti culture, the term is used to describe the act of running over someone else’s visual intervention by spraying on top of it. It is considered a sign of disrespect, an invitation to further conflict, in an ongoing battle of visual marks and linguistic encounters. In colloquial Brazilian Portuguese, the term can be used to describe the act of talking over someone – an act of silencing that is often gendered or racialized.

As part of the 2018 Walk&Talk Festival, Luiza and Daniel travelled to three locations across the island of São Miguel, marking each site with an evolving visual ‘billboard’ of pasted words and images. As they moved from one location to the next, a copy of the previous billboard was taken with them, becoming the canvas for the following intervention. The project highlighted the complex colonial narratives that criss-cross and overlap in the Azores islands, ‘atropelando’, or running over, colonial imagery and symbols through enunciative interventions, eventually building a series of overlapping inscriptions that address various systems of power that have marked the history of the Azores.

The continuation of this process online, with the inclusion of many artists from different disciplines and backgrounds, creates and imagines a generous form of community through its expression of revolutionary atropelos: a political engagement through the collective affirmation of new worlds. The commissioned interventions will present pluriversal (as opposed to universal) statements against borders, boundaries, and (Br)exits, and gesture to the possibility of collective futurities generated out of reinscription, and provocative, playful instances of dissent. Artists include Lucas Odhara, Jennifer Martin, Rasha Kahil, Flor NoveJosserand and Sorawit Songsataya, with more to be added as the project continues.

Thank you to everyone at Walk&Talk Azores Festival, and curator Dani Admiss for supporting the first part of the atropelos project.

Luiza Prado de O. Martins is an artist and researcher born in Rio de Janeiro in 1985, four hundred and eighty-five years after the Portuguese first invaded the land currently known as Brazil. She holds an MA from the Hochschule für Künste Bremen and a PhD from the Berlin University of the Arts. Her work investigates the ways in which colonial difference is inscribed and imposed upon and within bodies through technology; over the past four years, she has been researching practices of fertility management through performance, video, and installation.

Daniel Rourke is an artist, writer and educator, based in London. In his practice Daniel creates collaborative frameworks and experimental pedagogies for exploring the intersection of digital materiality, the arts, and post-humanist politics. One example of this is The 3D Additivist Manifesto and Cookbook, co-created with artist and activist Morehshin Allahyari in 2015/2016. Daniel has worked or exhibited with Tate Modern, The V&A, AND Festival, FACT Liverpool, Transmediale Berlin, Centre Pompidou Paris, Sonic Acts Amsterdam, and GLI.TC/H Fest Chicago. He has a PhD in Art, and is lecturer and coconvener of the MA in Digital Media at Goldsmiths, University of London.

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