Race, sexuality, and power in Ivens Machado's video performance Escravizador-Escravo (1974)

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Publication Type thesis
School or College College of Fine Arts
Department Art & Art History
Author Sales, Jennifer Leite
Title Race, sexuality, and power in Ivens Machado's video performance Escravizador-Escravo (1974)
Date 2016
Description Brazilian artist Ivens Olinto Machado's experimental video, Escravizador-Escravo (1974), deploys the body to elucidate a violent power struggle between the artist and an Afro-Brazilian man. The video constructs clear hierarchal relationship between the two actors while also introducing a homoerotic element. The title and the video performance recall the socio-political hierarchy of the master-slave dynamic present during colonial and imperial eras in Brazil (c.1530-1888), yet reveals more complexity within this historic relationship. As a result, Machado's video presents an antithesis to the popular theory of racial democracy suggested by Brazilian writer and sociologist Gilberto Freyre in his seminal 1933 book Casa Grande e Senzala (The Masters and The Slaves). Freyre argued that the establishment of Brazil's hegemonic ethnic and sexual identity was the result of the tolerance and benevolence of slave-masters, not racial domination or oppression. After the abolition of slavery in Brazil, Freyre's ideas continued to feed racial blindness, which failed to recognize race as a significant factor in socio-economic inequalities. In a comparison of the artist's video, Versus from the same year, this thesis seeks to demonstrate Machado's interest in manipulating normative structures of power, employing racial and homosexual relations. While existing scholarship on video art has focused on its emergence in Brazil, my thesis argues for a study of video art from the perspective of race relations and the emergence of homosexual subcultures in the 1960s and 70s. Through this expanded scope, it is possible to gain a nuanced insight into the relation of video art and identity politics, at a time when Brazil was under social, political, and cultural repression of the military dictatorship (1964-1985). Ultimately, Escravizador-Escravo, an obscure and understudied work, proposes video art's potential for exposing contradictions within and raising awareness of Brazil's historic narrative of white imperialist patriarchy.
Type Text
Publisher University of Utah
Subject Brazilian Video Art; Escravizador-Escravo; Gilberto Freyre; Homosexual Relations; Ivens Machado; Racial Democracy
Dissertation Name Master of Arts in Art History
Language eng
Rights Management ©Jennifer Leite Sales
Format Medium application/pdf
Format Extent 841,943 bytes
Identifier etd3/id/4315
ARK ark:/87278/s6vh8x6b
Setname ir_etd
Date Created 2016-10-13
Date Modified 2021-05-06
ID 197860
Reference URL https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s6vh8x6b
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