Construct, Destroy, Repeat: Excavating the City in Gregorio Graziosi’s Obra

Presenter: Silvina Yi, ABD

University of Michigan

silvina@umich.edu

KFLC Abstract

Panel: “Citizenship and the City: Re-Defining Belonging in Urban Latin America”

 

Construct, Destroy, Repeat: Excavating the City in Gregorio Graziosi’s Obra

 

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Cities are in constant change as a result of processes of capital accumulation. This can be seen in the attempts to remodel the city through renovation, deprivation of the poor, and obliteration of public spaces in the interest of private capital. Many major cities in Latin America have experienced unprecedented rates of expansion and renovation in the last decades. This paper explores how Gregorio Graziosi’s first film Obra (2014) disrupts and reveals the ways in which rapid urban growth erases memory and buries the past in an effort to depict a present devoid of history. More specifically, it analyzes how it disturbs the cycle of destruction and construction by arguing the way in which it exposes the process as incomplete. It therefore excavates the city of São Paulo in order to counteract neoliberalism’s partiality to an always-present time. The metropolis becomes a crucial protagonist that unravels discussions about the country’s past, present, and future in an ever-shifting geopolitical landscape. The slow-paced black and white film destabilizes the present and uncovers spaces that are coded with layers of meaning, experiences, and memories that were buried. Thus, this reading of Obra offers an opening, a reworking of the past, as a way to read the present in Brazil.

 

 

Panel: “Citizenship and the City: Re-Defining Belonging in Urban Latin America”

Organizers: Silvina Yi & Catalina Esguerra

Track: 

  • Spanish American Studies