The 3rd edition of the Frestas – Triennial of Arts The River is a Serpent will start an online program that takes place from October to December of 2020, after reformulating its initial proposal due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Organized by SESC São Paulo, in Sorocaba (a municipality located 87 km from the city of São Paulo), the Triennial is a continuous program that brings together local artists with both regional and international productions, establishing a dialogue between social matters specific to the Brazilian context and reflections on a global scale.
In this edition, curated by Beatriz Lemos, Diane Lima, and Thiago de Paula Souza, a program of activities, debates, and workshops will be made available to serve as a transdisciplinary platform, promoting actions related to contemporary art and other fields of knowledge, as well as an exhibition project envisaged for 2021.
Under the title The River is a Serpent, this Frestas edition introduces a cosmovision of the strategies and negotiations that constitute its curatorial process. By questioning the limits between the negotiable and the non-negotiable in the realization of a contemporary art exhibition during the times that we live in, the platform investigates the possibilities, potencies, and challenges that transit through several natural, spiritual, and subjective ecosystems. It gathers a set of technologies that have been forged by other bodies, which in distinct historic times and spaces were conditioned into providing permanence and access as the only means of guaranteeing the maintenance of their existence.
The serpent, as a metaphor expanded by its ample cosmology in the most varied mythical and cultural narratives, here serves as a vantage point from which to discuss non-linear time and the effects of the innumerable contradictions unlocked by the advancement of neoliberal capital, as well as the systemic processes of capturing identity politics for the generation of value, and the reenactment of colonial ethics.
Starting in October, the artists Castiel Vitorino Brasileiro, Davi De Jesus Do Nascimento, Denilson Baniwa, Denise Alves Rodrigues, Ella Vieira, Gê Viana, Iagor Peres, Jonas Van Holanda, Juliana Dos Santos, Laís Machado, Luana Vitra, Pedro Victor Brandão, Rebeca Carapia, Sallisa Rosa, and Ventura Profana, will participate in the Study Program. The Program is one of the platform’s main pillars, and is composed of formative activities that aim at instigating radical educational practices while simultaneously encouraging policies of redistribution and access. In addition to this program there will be free online events, such as courses, seminars, talks, publication releases, and film and video screenings that will have as their common thread The River is a Serpent’s curatorial proposals. These events will take place digitally and will be free of cost and open to the public. The curatorial research for this 3rd edition of Frestas began with processes of listening and exchanging with several cultural agents from Sorocaba and the region surrounding it, expanding up to Boa Vista and the Raposa-Serra do Sol Indigenous Land in Roraima; Manaus and the surroundings of the Tupana river in the Amazon; Belém, in Pará; Serra da Capivara National Park, in Piauí; Alcântara and São Luís, in Maranhão.
As it flows into Sorocaba, The River is a Serpent resumes its dialogue with the city, articulating gazes towards its geographies and possibilities of affectation, meetings, and memories with agents, collectives, groups, artists, independent cultural centers, radios, and community libraries. This way, new landscapes are created, questioning in what way codes and languages are made, and what mechanisms cooperate with the maintenance of infrastructures that regulate power dynamics, legitimize discourses, condition accesses, halt criticism, and make a forgery of the idea of pacification and consensus.
“The river is a Serpent because it hides and camouflages, and in between the unpredictable and the mystery, it creates strategies from its own movement.”
About Frestas — Triennial of Arts
Frestas is an initiative made up of three axes—a public program, publications, and an exhibition — that compose the wide cultural program organized by SESC São Paulo, a private entity that has been supported for over 70 years by entrepreneurs in the commerce of goods, tourism, and services. Through its educational actions, SESC São Paulo aims at providing well being and quality of life to the workers in this sector, as well as to the community at large.
Frestas has collaborated in widening the contemporary art scene in the state of São Paulo. In addition, it has contributed to the training of art educators and the creation of networks of professionals of culture outside of the capitals.