THIS IS NOT ABOUT SHOES
Video / photographie
In the throes of the public demonstrations that occurred in the first half of 2013, the Brazilian population and press were stunned by the coverage provided by the Ninja Media, a free-media collective that became increasingly popular during the wave of demonstrations. This popularity was largely due to the group’s up-close, real-time coverage using cellphones, which enabled them to capture and distribute footage viewers could never have expected from the formal media. As such, their production and transmission of these first-person multi-narratives showing the violence the police were using against the demonstrators triggered a series of ruptures of a political, aesthetic and even commercial order.
The present project aims to move in the opposite direction to the images transmitted during the street marches using the footage produced by the police against the demonstrators.
Important international political movements are assuming more horizontal, de-personalized and internationalist forms while their adherents opt for anonymity by wearing balaclavas, black scarves or masks over their faces during street demonstrations. The present project, however, aims for the feet, where, paradoxically, the footwear reveals the singularity hidden behind the mask.
Police surveillance footage systematically maps the shoes and faces of street demonstrators in order to create possible associations. Though a change of clothing or the use of a mask are common ploys during street demos, rioters rarely remember to change their shoes, which makes footwear a key element in their identification.
The premise here is to research the strengths and weaknesses of anonymity in the contemporary bio-political context of the recent street demonstrations in Brazil. Here, in addition to the subjectivity emanating from demonstrator’s feet, their shoes become icons potentially capable of generating not only criminal evidence, but an intriguing tool for reading the present political situation. In a time of anonymous faces, what is to be done with the feet?