Tools/Guaraná Power at Sao Paulo Biennial

Guaraná Power at Sao Paulo Biennial

Right before the 27th Sao Paulo Biennial in 2006 the president of the biennial foundation, Manoel Francisco Píres da Costa censors SUPERFLEX by forbidding the curators from displaying the Guaraná Power soft drink as well as any references to the product. In order to bring attention to the struggle of the guaraná farmers, SUPERFLEX responded by self-censoring the label even more. SUPERFLEX not only removed the name of the product but added a black strikethrough on all text in the biennial reader related to SUPERFLEX and the project. In addition a huge Guaraná Power party was held the day before the biennial opening and the soft drink was distributed in the park outside the biennial building during the opening. In 2003, SUPERFLEX initiated a collaboration with a guaraná farmers' cooperative from Maués in the Brasilian Amazon in order to produce the Guaraná Power soft drink. The farmers have organised themselves in response to the activities of the multinational corporations XxXxx and XxxxxXx, a cartel whose monopoly on purchase of the raw material has driven the price paid for guaraná seeds down by 80% while the cost of their products to the consumer has risen.

Graphic design by Rasmus Koch.

Censored version, São Paulo Bienal, Brazil 2006 - Photo: Superflex


Tuesday, October 3, 2006 Filed under: Art, Press release, Brazil , Press release from SUPERFLEX regarding their participation in the27th Sao Paulo Binnial: The Art work that Brazilians are not allowed to see at the Sao Paulo biennial The President of the Bienal Foundation, Manoel Francisco Píres da Costa censors an international well-known art piece for the Brazilian audience. SUPERFLEX was invited by the group of curators of the 27th Bienal of São Paulo to show their work and, in particular, was asked to present their internationally known work XXXXXXX XXXXX - a social and political work that deals with the curatorial concept of this biennial, “how to live together”. However, the president of the Bienal Foundation, Manoel Francisco Píres da Costa, annulled the invitation made by the group of curators to show this particular work. Mr Píres da Costa stated that XXXXXXX XXXXX is not a piece of art but “a product whose foremost aim is commercialism” and therefore cannot be shown at the biennial. According to the definition of Píres da Costa, the work XXXXXXX XXXXX is not considered “artistic activity” and goes against the “purposes foreseen” in the laws of the foundation. The use of the word “guaraná” was even prohibited, arguing that it could upset possible “third party interests”. “We have, however, not been able to get a clear answer as to which third party interests mr. Costa refers to and how those are linked to the biennial”, says SUPERFLEX “It’s a contradiction that the president of the biennial censors a political work that was originally created in Brazil and deals directly with a local, political and social conflict”, says SUPERFLEX. XXXXXXX XXXXX has been shown at numerous important art institutions and international biennials. The work was first shown at the Venice Biennial in Italy in 2003 and has later been shown at, among other art institutions, the Stedeljlik Museum in Amsterdam, Netherlands, and Kiasma, Museum of Modern Art in Helsinki, Finland. The work has been discussed and critiqued in several art magazines and books around the world. The work XXXXXXX XXXXX uses global brands and their strategies as raw material for a counter-economic positioning. XXXXXXX XXXXX reclaims the Maués guaraná plant as a powerful natural tonic, not just as a symbol of a brand name. The XXXXXXX XXXXX softdrink is produced by a guaraná farmers cooperative in Maués in the Brazilian Amazon, in collaboration with The Power Foundation. The farmers have organized themselves in response to the activities of the Brazilian and multinational corporations XXXXX and XXXXXXX, whose xxxxxxxx xxxx position on the purchase of the raw material has driven the price of guaraná berries down 80%, while the income from the end products to the consumer has risen. XXXXXXX XXXXX contains original Maués guaraná for energy and empowerment. Although being censored from the São Paulo Bienal by Mr. Píres da Costa, a new version of XXXXXXX XXXXX is being produced in collaboration with Galeria Vermelho. It will be available for free for tasting at numerous events in Brazil during the coming months. But not at the biennial. “The censorship of XXXXXXX XXXXX is a censorship against the social and economic reality we all live in. Even presidents have to face reality.” – Says SUPERFLEX Due to the ban by the President of the 27th São Paulo Bienal, SUPERFLEX will show three other works that confronts issues of copyrights, trademarks and intellectual property and the power embedded in these laws and how they affect society.

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Author: Will Bradley, 2003

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