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BOOKS IN THE MEDIA

CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 3/14/2014

Favelization: The Imaginary Brazil in Contemporary Film, Fashion and Design

This week in the Huffington Post, Maria Gabriela Brito reviews Favelization, the Cooper-Hewitt's newest ebook in the DesignFile series. Brito interviews author Adriana Kertzer about the practice and ethics of "marketing luxury goods and exotic experiences based on the idea of life in the favelas." Kertzer responds, "A discussion about favelization (which I define as the use of references to Brazilian slums to brand luxury items as "Brazilian") requires that we address the difference between the meanings attached to favelas in Brazil and those employed by companies and individuals using references to favelas in the marketing of high-end products. Favelization also raises questions about the myths of racial democracy and intersocial class cordiality common in mainstream discourse about Brazil. Discrimination based on race, socioeconomic background, and place of residence are a reality in Brazil, as well as government inaction, mismanagement and corruption.

Favelization: The Imaginary Brazil in Contemporary Film, Fashion and Design
ABOVE: A Vik Muniz piece "Medusa After Caravaggio" from the "junk" series reflects on the mirror. The junk of this series was in many cases collected by the pickers of Jardin Gramacho in Rio or gotten straight from junkyards close to the favelas.

What intrigues me about references to favelas, in the context of luxury goods, is the disconnect between how I experienced (or not) favelas growing up in São Paulo and the frequency with which it is referenced in the marketing of design projects aimed at a non-Brazilian audience. My research focuses on the question: How did a symbol of Brazil's poverty, much maligned by the Brazilian press and often feared by inhabitants of the formal city, come to signify Brazilianness and attached value?

As a design academic, I recognize the limits of my awareness of the realities of favela life and the numerous government decisions (or inaction) that may have led to their growth in Brazil. What I do choose to speak forcefully about is the circulation of stereotypes in the context of the international luxury market. I am fascinated by the persistent need for the "exotic" among makers and consumers.

To read more, continue to the Huffington Post.
Favelization: The Imaginary Brazil in Contemporary Film, Fashion and Design
Favelization: The Imaginary Brazil in Contemporary Film, Fashion and Design
Favelization: The Imaginary Brazil in Contemporary Film, Fashion and Design
Favelization: The Imaginary Brazil in Contemporary Film, Fashion and Design
Favelization: The Imaginary Brazil in Contemporary Film, Fashion and Design
Favelization: The Imaginary Brazil in Contemporary Film, Fashion and Design
Favelization: The Imaginary Brazil in Contemporary Film, Fashion and Design

Favelization eBook

Favelization eBook

DESIGNFILE
Available for iPad, Nook and Kindle




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