2014, Berlin. Installation with various materials of varying dimensions and performative reading.

In "Pornographie du temps présent", philosopher Alain Badiou describes Democracy as the greatest contemporary fetish of the Western world. Contrary to thinking it as a fiction of Power under the participation of the demos, or as a form of effective sovereignty of the people, democracy is presented by the philosopher as a phantasmagoria of public freedom based on a political experience limited to comfortable occasional participations of the great majority.

Inspired by movements such as the Arab Spring, Spain's Indignados, and Occupy Wall Street, popular demonstrations took over the streets of cities throughout Brazil in June 2013. The demands, at first against an increase in the price of public transportation tickets, soon took on greater proportions. The protests were harshly repressed by the state and its militarized security visibly unprepared for dialogue. During the following months the city of Rio de Janeiro became one of the epicenters of Brazilian demonstrations, and that year's carnival had its most traditional festival transformed into another moment of popular political expression. Traditionally known for occupying the streets of the country with the anarchy of revelry, pleasures and excesses, suspending laws and orders, transfiguring characters in costumes capable of temporarily inverting social roles, the 2014 carnival incorporated critical discourses in the midst of the popular party. Discourses that ventured into other possibilities of political experience and social participations, challenging in their own way the democratic model and its limits.

The exhibition "Representatives" is the result of my presence in this 2014 carnival in Rio de Janeiro, in the face of the various encounters and experiences with the crowd.

© 2021 Barbara Marcel