Global Criticism, Served Brazilian Style

Given that the majority of exchanges among artists making media-based work now have a global scope, it may seem arbitrary to define aesthetics or sensibilities in geographical terms. But 'Interconnect @ Between Attention and Immersion: Media Art from Brazil,' a large survey of work by fifteen Brazilian artists on view through October 29 at ZKM in Karlsruhe, Germany, makes a strong case for important regional similarities persisting in Brazil's recent media art. The show features work by finalists for the prestigious Premio Sergio Motta de Arte e Tecnologia, including Raquel Kogan, Simone Michellin, and Andre Parente. While diverse in subject and execution, much of the work demonstrates a common interest in an increasingly hybrid media landscape visible on a global level--as in television overlaping with information networks and architecture bleeding into video. At the same time, most of the work also traces where that churning landscape intersects with everyday social and political life, offering criticisms of global media that consider its impact on the changing social milieu in both the local gallery and, in several cases, back in Brazil. In fact, that firmly-rooted criticality may be the strongest connection among the works on view, and it could also be the show's biggest contribution to global media debates. - Bill Hanley$5236