International Conference

The Other 68 Anthropophagic Revolutions in Brazilian Counterculture after 1968

May 23-25, 2018
Museum Angewandte Kunst, Foyer, Schaumainkai 17, Frankfurt am Main
Conference in English. Free entrance.

Fifty years later, the events of May 1968 in Paris continue to be a major reference in political and cultural debates throughout the Western world. When the fiftieth anniversary of the May events will be celebrated in 2018, all eyes will be focused once again on the European metropolis. The international conference “The Other 68: Anthropophagic Revolutions in Brazilian Counterculture after 1968” will readjust this Eurocentric perspective and shift the attention away from the center to the supposed periphery. It will trace the history story of a different revolution, or a set of revolutions: The Tropicália revolution and other anthropophagic revolutions in art, literature and cinema in Brazil in 1968 and the 1970s.

Conference program:

Wednesday, May 23

3:30 p.m. - Conference Opening
Vinzenz Hediger (Frankfurt), Paula Macedo Weiss (Frankfurt)

4:00-5:30 p.m. - Opening Keynote
Victoria Langland (Ann Arbor)
Body Politics in 1968 Brazil: Student Militancy, Gender and Embodied Struggles for Social Transformation
This talk addresses the centrality of the gendered body for the student protests of 1968 in Brazil. From the martyred figure of young male militants, to the much more ambivalent representations of female activists’ sexualized bodies, it asks how the discursive and material bodies of student activists became key sites for social transformation. By looking at how students made bodies central to both their protest tactics and their political demands, it allows us to consider the importance of the body as a site of public protest during 1968 and into the post-68 period.

Victoria Langland is Associate Professor of History and Romance Literature and Director oft the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She is the author of Speaking of Flowers: Student Movements and the Making and Remembering of 1968 in Military Brazil (2013)

Followed by two screenings at the Kino des Deutschen Filmmuseums (Schaumainkai 41):

An evening for Helena Ignez

Helena Ignez is the star of both Cinema Novo and Cinema Marginal, the Brazilian new wave and underground cinemas of the 1960s and 1970s. In addition to her work as an actress, she is herself an accomplished filmmaker. This evening celebrates her work with a recent fiction film and one of her most famous starring roles in a film directed by her husband Rogério Sganzerla.

6 p.m.
A MOÇA DO CALENDÁRIO (My calendar girl)
R: Helena Ignez, BRA 2017, 86 min. DCP. OmeU

8:15 p.m.
R: Rogério Sganzerla, BRA 1970, 85 min. DCP. OmeU

For more information on the films, please click here.

***UPDATE: Unfortunately Helena Ignez will not be able to attend the event in Frankfurt as planned. A video message from her will be shown before the screenings.***

Thursday, May 24

Panel 1: Writing the Revolution
Chair: Daniel Fairfax (Frankfurt)

10 a.m.
Peter W. Schulze (Köln)
“Brasíliocartésiomaquias“: Colonial History and Post-‘68 Counter Culture in Paulo Leminski‘s Novel Catatau
Catatau, an experimental novel published in 1975 by Paulo Leminski, one of the protagonists of concrete poetry in the 1960s, reprises Oswald de Andrade‘s antropofagia in the spirit of Tropicalist counter culture. It shows a fictionalized René Descartes waiting in the botanical garden of Dutch Brazil (1630-1654) for the Vice-Governor of the colony, who staggers by in drunken stupor at the end of the novel. The novel interlaces the colonial history of Brazil with that of the capital city of Brasília, inaugurated in 1960 and turned into the seat of the military regime four years later. Through a reading of the novel’s kaleidoscopic regime of time, this paper highlights Leminiski’s ironic inversion of Cartesianism as a kind of “colonialist rationalism” (Glauber Rocha).

Peter W. Schulze is professor of Latin American Studies and Director of the Portuguese-Brazilian Institute of the Universität zu Köln. His books include Strategien kultureller Kannibalisierung. Postkoloniale Diskurse vom brasilianischen Modernismo zum Cinema Novo (2015)

11 a.m.
Oliver Precht (München/Berlin)
Chickening out. On the Revolution of Clarice Lispector
„Onward we march“, proclaims Oswald de Andrade: from the French to the Bolchevik to the anthropophagic revolution, and on to 1968. Every revolution that is truly revolutionary must appropriate, sublate and trascend every preceding revolution and strive towards a higher goal. Every new revolution must tell an even greater story than the last, and trace its origins even further back. But it is hard to decide which came first: The revolution, or its origins, the chicken or the egg. This paper attempts to trace a muted, but solidary critique of revolutionary heroism and the totalitarian philosophy of history that is often its corollary, through the works of one of the most important Brazilian authors of the 20th century, Clarice Lispector.

Oliver Precht is a philosopher and writer based in Berlin. He teaches philosophy at the LMU Munich. His recent translations include Oswald de Andrade’s Manifeste (2016) and Eduardo Viveiros de Castro’s Die Unbeständigkeit der wilden Seele (2017)

Panel 2: Revolutionizing Art
Chair: Laura Teixeira (Frankfurt)

1:30 p.m.
Moacir dos Anjos (Recife)
An underdeveloped art
Culture and politics in Brazil during the 1960s were informed by the concept of underdevelopment. From the work of economist Celso Furtado about Latin America to the works by Hélio Oiticica, Glauber Rocha, Caetano Veloso and others, underdevelopment was considered both a condition for those who lived in Brazil (“of adversity we live”, said Oiticica) and something to surpass. Underdevelopment was a concept that guided the “experimental art” made in Brazil and Cinema Novo, and it was at the core of the only written manifesto of Tropicalismo, published in 1968 by poet and filmmaker Jomard Muniz de Brito. This paper will address the Brazilian artistic production of the period as one that reflected, both thematically and formally, the paradoxical environment in which it was produced: an underdeveloped art.

Moacir dos Anjos is senior researcher and curator at Fundação Joaquim Nabuco in Recife. He has curated the Brazilian Pavilion at 54th Venice Biennale (2011) and the 29th Bienal de São Paulo (2010). His books include Local/Global: arte em trânsito (2005), ArteBra Crítica (2010), Política da Arte (2014) and Contraditório (2017).

2:30 p.m.
Lena Bader (Paris)
„Interventions in Ideological Circulations“: The Rebellion of the Well-Versed Images
This paper revisits the origins of the anthropofagia movement in the 1920s in order to discuss its resurgence and popularity in Brazilian protest culture in the 1960s, and in particular in the Tropicália movement. The focus will be on individual artist, whose work emerged as pivotal moments of a transcultural modernity. With what we might call their pictorial migrations, they offer an important corrective for universalist approaches to a “Global Art History”. From an art history point of view, these works are significant because they highlight the politics of artistic engagement. The protest that they articulate anticipates figures and models of thought that become explicit in later, post-colonial debates and address basic questions of cultural identity.

Lena Bader is an art historian and head of research at Deutsches Forum für Kunstgeschichte in Paris, where she directs a focus on „Travelling Art Histories“. Her current research focuses on image migrations between South America and Europe.

4 p.m.
Max Jorge Hinderer Cruz (Rio de Janeiro)
New Alliances, New Sex, New Cocaine: Exile and the Relations of Production in Hélio Oiticica’s Life and Work in New York 1971-75
Many protagonists of Brazil’s post-68 counterculture were living in exile. It is fair to say that some of the most emblematic of Brazil’s counter cultural music, film and art works have been produced abroad. For visual artist Hélio Oiticica (1937-80) – a key figure of the Tropicália and counter cultural movement – life in exile, first in England and later in the USA, led to profound changes in the way he conceived both his life and work. Yet, art history and history largely fail to account for the impact of these radical shifts on Oiticica’s work. This paper aims to de-center the standard accounts of Brazil’s counterculture of the 1970s.

Max Jorge Hinderer Cruz is an author, art critic, theorist and curator living in Rio de Janeiro.

Friday, May 25

Panel 3: Anthropophagic Sounds
Chair: Rembert Hüser (Frankfurt)

10 a.m.
Christopher Dunn (New Orleans)
Tom Zé, or, Side B of Tropicália
This presentation will focus on experimental pop artist Tom Zé, a key figure in the tropicalist movement of 1968 together with Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, and Gal Costa, who all came from the northeastern state of Bahia. Although he enjoyed some early commercial success, Tom Zé pursued experimental/avant-garde musical practices (ie. the use of unusual time signatures, discordant harmonies and melodies, tape loops, street recordings, aleatory sounds, and invented instruments), constituting an alternative tradition within Tropicália, which may be understood as kind of “side B” to the more commercial “side A” on a vinyl record.

Christopher Dunn is Professor of Portuguese and Brazilian Studies at Tulane University in New Orleans. He is the author of Brutality Garden: Tropicália and the Emergence of a Brazilian Counterculture (2001) and Contracultura: Alternative Arts and Social Transformation in Authoritarian Brazil (2016).

11 a.m.
Detlef Diederichsen (Berlin)
Short Summer of Distortion
On first look it might seem as though the Brazilian popular music of the rebellious year of 1968 was in perfect sync with the creations of the colleagues from the northern part of the continent and overseas. The recordings of Gilberto Gil, Caetano Veloso and Mutantes were bubbling with psychedelic guitar insanities, sound effect overkill and exalted vocals. On a closer look we find that the distorted guitars of the Tropicalists were significantly different from the majority of the contmeporary psychedelic guitar players. This paper explores that difference.

Detlef Diederichsen is a musician, scholar, music critic and journalist He is the head of music and performing arts at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin, where he has curated festivals like „Worldtronics“ and „Wassermusik“.

Panel 4: Revolutionary and Other Screens
Chair: Vinzenz Hediger (Frankfurt)

1:30 p.m.
Daniel Fairfax (Frankfurt)
Cancer : Glauber Rocha in 1968
The most globally renowned of the Cinema Novo filmmakers following the international success of Deus e o diabo na terra do sul (1964) and Terra em transe (1967), Glauber Rocha was also the Brazilian director whose practice was most fundamentally transformed by the worldwide political earthquake of 1968. The spirit in which Rocha experienced the seismic events of 1968 is best embodied in a work that even today remains one of his least known (and least viewed) films: Cancer. This paper will seek to place Cancer in the context of Brazilian politics and culture in the 1960s, as well as integrating this critically neglected film into Rocha’s broader corpus of cinematic works and critical/theoretical writings.

Daniel Fairfax is an assistant professor in film studies at Goethe-Universität Frankfurt. His study of the transformation of Cahiers du cinema and film theory in the wake of 1968 will be published in 2019.

2:30 p.m. Closing Keynote
Robert Stam (New York)
Anthropophagy, the Carib Revolution, and Popular Culture: the Transnational Gaze on the Radical “Indian”

This lecture/video presentation will focus on the circulation around the “Red Atlantic” of the image of the misnamed “Indian” as “exemplar of freedom,” both in popular media culture (film, music, the internet) and in social thought. It will highlight interconnections between radically indigenizing social discourses in the U.S., France, and Brazil, especially emphasizing the 500 year Franco-Brazilian-indigenous dialogue which traces back to the 16th century French colony in Brazil. The focus will be on moments, in social philosophy and in popular culture, where indigenous critique and western awareness of the egalitarian communal freedom of some native societies catalyzed expanded notions of freedom and equality and the radical interrogation of social norms.

Robert Stam is University Professor at New York University and author of some seventeen books on film, the media, and cultural studies, including Tropical Multiculturalism: A Comparative History of Race in Brazilian Cinema and Culture (1997)

4 p.m.
Round table discussion
Permanent Revolutions
Moderator: Marc Siegel (Frankfurt/Hildesheim)


Conference description

1968 in Brazil is the year in which the military dictatorship tightens its repressive regime and institutionalizes torture, prompting a student revolt which continues to reverberate throughout the political life of the country until today (Langland 2013) 1968 in Brazil is also the year of the Tropicália Movement, named after the eponymous installation by artist Hélio Oiticica, which sees musicians like Cateano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Tom Zé, Gal Gosta or Maria Betânha combine pop with avant-garde elements, using television as a platform to transform popular music and counterculture, to emerge as the first global superstars from the global south, almost a decade before Caribbean Reggae musicians (Dunn 2014). 1968 in Brazil also marks the beginning of Cinema Marginal, an countermovement to Cinema Novo by directors such as Rogério Sganzerla, which combines references to classical genre cinema with deeply layered references to popular culture and innovative montage effects. In the visual arts and literature and in the humanities, the disruptive convulsions of the late 1960s also leave their traces, paving the way for such transformative developments as the work of anthropologist Eduardo Viveiros de Castro on perspectivsm.

The work of Viveiros de Castro, who also worked as a set photographer for filmmaker Ivan Cardozo and wrote screenplays for his films, exemplifies the ways in which the various post-68 movements intersect. In their parallel and intertwined dynamics, these movements contribute towards the “molecular revolution”, the questioning and inversion of established cultural hierarchies at a level of micro practices, as described by Suely Rolnik and Félix Guattari at the dawn of the new Brazilian democracy in 1986 (Rolnik/Guattari 2008).

Bracketing together the cultural movements in Brazil in 1968 is a shared reference to Oswald de Andrade’s influential concept of cultural anthropophagism, first formulated in his “Anthropophagic Manifesto” in 1928 (De Andrade 2016). Brazil is the birth place of modern western phantasies about cannibalism and anthrophagy, with Hans Staden’s 1557 book about his adventures with the Tupinambá, one of the first legitimate bestsellers in the history of publishing, stocking the arsenal of the European imagination with tropes that would last for centuries. Turning the tables on the established narratives, de Andrade elevates anthropophagism to a generative principle of a non-metropolitan intellectual and artistic culture, enacting what has been characterized as a “post-colonial strategy avant la lettre” (Schulze 2015). References to de Andrade’s cultural anthropophagism range from the work of Clarice Lispector to the Tropicália movement to the Cinema Marginal and the Cinema Novo of the 1970, with Nelson Perreira dos Santos explicitly addressing the legacy of Staden in „Como era gostos o meu frances“(Stam 1997).

The concept of cultural anthropophagism also points to an intertwinement of urban and indigenous culture and of artistic and anthropological knowledge, for which Mario de Andrades 1928 novel „Macunaíma“ is a paradigm. Further complicating the binary of urban and indigenous culture, Joaquim Pedro de Andrade cast comedian Grande Otelo, a descendant of African slaves, in the title role in his 1969 film based on the book, thus pointing on the pitfalls and ambiguities of Gilberto Freire’s notion of Brazil as a “racial democracy” (Stam/Shohat 2012).

Studying Brazil’s post-68 transformations is of importance beyond the scope of the country itself. Cultural anthropophagism, as de Andrade envisioned it, was a strategy of emancipation form the metropolitan centers of culture, and both the avant-garde of the 1920s and the post-68 movements may be read as visionary responses t to the power differentials of globalization (Dunn 2016). Cultural anthropophagism is a molecular revolution that not only reverses the traditional hierarchies inside Brazil, but reverses the dynamics of cultural production, thus producing a model that continues to be relevant on a global scale until today.

Against this backdrop, the conference “The Other 68. Anthropophagic Revolutions in Brazilian Counterculture after 1968” pursue two connected goals. The conference aims to develop a different, non-euro-centric perspective of the social transformations of the 1960s and their consequences, and it aims to study the revolutionary artistic and political movemetns in Brazil as a a paradigmatic case of the inversion of what Arjun Appadurai has called, in a particularly lucid analysis of the dynamics of globalized culture, the “global cultural flows” (Appadurai 1990). To achieve its goals, the conference choses a distinctly interdisciplinary approach, bringing together social hand cultural history with cultural theory, musicology, anthropology and film and media studies. By centering the debat around the notion of cultural anthropophagism, the conference brings together a number of parallel strains of current research to create a platform fo the inter- and transdisciplinary study of the politics and aesthetics of cultural transformation in the age of the third globalization (Baldwin 2016).

The conference consists of five panels on the social history of 68 in Brazil, the Tropicália movement in music, developments in the visual and performance arts, the transformations of film, and developments in anthropology. The conference combines scholarly panels with film screenings at the Kino im Deutschen Filmmuseum and is open to the public. Prospective speakers include actress, producer and film director Helena Ignez, anthropologist Eduardo Viveiros de Castro, psychoanalyst, cultural theorist and curator Suely Rolnik, art historian and curator Moacir dos Anios, curator Max Jorge Hinderer Cruz, historian Victoria Langland, musicologist and Brazilianist Christopher Dunn, Film scholars Robert Stam, Lucia Nagib, Peter W. Schulze, Marc Siegel and philosopher, translater and literary scholar Oliver Precht.

The conference is part of the Campus event “Tropical Underground” (, which is organized by the Institut for Theater, Film and Media Studies at Goethe-Universität and the Cluster of Excellency “The Formation of Normative Orders” with the Museum Angewandte Kunst, the Weltkulturen Museum, and the Kino im Deutschen Filmmuseum.

The papers will be published in an edited collection curated by Marc Siegel and Vinzenz Hediger.


Appadurai, Arjun (1990) Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Cultural Economy. In: Theory, Culture and Society, Vol. 7, 295-310.

Baldwin, Richard (2016) The Great Convergence. Information Technology and the New Globalization. Cambridge MA: Belknap Press.

De Andrade, Oswald (2016) Manifeste. Aus dem brasilianischen Portugiesisch von Oliver Precht. Wien: Turia & Kant.

Dunn, Christopher (2014) Brutality Garden. Tropicália and the Emergence of a Brazilian Counterculture. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.

Dunn, Christopher (2016) Contracultura. Alternative Arts and Social Transformation in Authoritarian Brazil. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.

Langland, Victoria (2013) Speaking of Flowers. Student Movements and the Making and Remembering of 1968 in Brazil. Durham: Duke University Press.

Nagib, Lúcia (2007) Brazil on Screen: Cinema Novo, New Cinema and Utopia. London: I.B. Tauris.

Rolnik, Suely und Félix Guattari (2008) Molecular Revolution in Brazil. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Schulze, Peter W. (2015) Strategien „kultureller Kannibalisierung“. Postkoloniale Repräsentation vom brasilianischen Modernismo zum Cinema Novo. Bielefeld: transcript.

Small, Irene (2016) Hélio Oiticica. Folding the Frame. Chicago: Chicago University Press.

Stam, Robert (1997) Tropical Multiculturalism. A Comparative History of Race in Brazilian Cinema and Culture. Durham: Duke University Press.

Stam, Robert und Ella Shohat (2012) Race in Translation. Culture Wars around the Post-Colonial Atlantic. New York: NYU Press.

Viveiros de Castro, Eduardo (2017) Die Unbeständigkeit der wilden Seele. Aus dem brasilianischen Portugiesisch von Oliver Precht. Wien: Turia & Kant.

Video Recordings