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  • Cultural Mobilities: A Cross-Perspective Between Brazil and Canada ed. by Pascal Gin and Walter Moses
  • Odile Cisneros
Gin, Pascal, and Walter Moses, eds. Cultural Mobilities: A Cross-Perspective Between Brazil and Canada. Ottawa: U of Ottawa P, 2011. Pp. 364. $29.95.

This bilingual (English/French) collection of essays on the issue of mobility in contemporary culture, with a specific focus on Brazil and Canada, takes a wide approach. The essays are not only limited to the exploration of this concept in the aesthetic characteristics of works of art and their reception, but they also delve into situations and contexts that touch upon mobility in multifarious ways. The articles, written by Canadian and Brazilian scholars, consider historical, political, and artistic facets of mobility in contemporary life.

Walter Moser's introductory piece, "Analyser les mobilités culturelles," sets the stage for the volume by presenting mobility as a multilayered concept. His theoretical exploration is subsequently applied to the case study of Inhotim, a park and contemporary art museum in in Brazil. The autoethnographic analysis of the author's own mobility as viewer/fâneur meandering through this park/museum mingles with commentary on a selection of the museum's artworks, which also, through their materials, media, strategies and devices, interrogate the concept of mobility.

Following Moser's introduction, the book is divided into two parts, each featuring a set of essays preceded by a brief overview. In Part I, "Localisations comparées/Siting Cultural Mobilities," urban mobility plays an important role in case studies of phenomena set in Brazilian cities such as Brasília, Cuiabá, and São Paulo, and Canadian cities such as Montréal, Ottawa, and Toronto. The Northeastern backlands of Brazil, a region known as the sertão, is also featured in this section. These essays can be grouped into three main approaches: historical, political, and artistic.

In the historical vein, Ismail Xavier's "The Brazilian Backlands as a Site of Migration: From Cinema Novo to Contemporary Cinema" attempts to relate the sertão, migration, and cinema. A mythical place in the literary imaginary of Brazil, the sertão or backlands inspired classic films by Glauber Rocha, Nelson Pereira dos Santos, and Ruy Guerra. Xavier zeroes in on the concept of migration, as the often impoverished inhabitants of the sertão were forced to move for economic or political reasons. He goes on to consider films from the 1990s and 2000s set in the sertão, in which filmmakers such as Caldas and Ferreira and Marcelo Gomes represent a different kind of migration, the contingent arrival of foreigners to the sertão, as a parallel to Brazilian film production within today's world cinema.

Angélica Madeira's essay "L'itinérance des artistes et la constitution des arts à Brasília," considers the historic creation of Brazil's capital, Brasília, and how the field of art was established in that new city thanks to the migration of artists from various parts of Brazil. Concepts such as "roaming," "nomadism," and "mobility" illustrate how artists such as Athos Bulcão, Rubem Valentim, and Cildo Meireles first settled [End Page 509] in Brasília, with some choosing to remain and others moving on to other places. Madeira also delves into the work of contemporary artists in Brasília, particularly Andréa Faria and Fernando Madeira, whose art can also be seen as nomadic.

Ludmila Brandão examines the fascinating phenomenon of itinerant vendors known in Brazil as "camelôs" through the political concept of global subaltern flows. She considers the urban implications of these global flows, which compete with the official system of sale and distribution of hegemonic products and their penetration of urban spaces with their barrage of values, images, and imaginaries. Special attention is paid to Cuiabá's "camelódromo," a mix of market and shopping mall built in an attempt to regularize this informal street commerce. Brandão probes the dynamics of commercial exchange and wider urban mobility issues via the work of Deleuze and Guattari.

Ivette Walty's essay "Journaux de rue: espaces entrecroisés" reads the phenomenon of urban homelessness in street newspapers and their circulation. For Walty...


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pp. 509-512
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