Adriana Amaral, Marcos Boffa, Eduardo de Jesus, Clarissa Diniz, and Priscila Farias

The set of portfolios examined by the selection committee of the 9th Sergio Motta Award gave us an exciting and complex panorama of Brazilian contemporary art production whose foundation is based on the use of technological instruments, devices, and processes to create artwork.

What we observed was a diverse production—both in Early-Career and Mid-Career categories—that presents different levels of involvement with technology and with possible ways of making poetic expressions feasible. It is a group of artists who take risks by using several different tools and materials to reach their goal of reflecting upon contemporary life and its multiple unfoldings, which stem from the meeting between subjectivities and our country’s different social and political contexts, as well as technological structures. It is a heterogeneous and extremely vibrant panorama in which we notice some of the strengths that characterize the more recent artistic art production.

In the selection process, we gave priority to artists who expressed critical views, situations of confrontation with standardization and subversion in terms of usage when addressing the technological environment and its diversity, thus generating pieces that build the structure of their poetics and expressions in a comprehensive manner within the expanded field of contemporary art. In view of the presented works high quality, we had to establish strict criteria in order to present a comprehensive scope of the artistic production.

We also sought to make sure that works expressing tension—which is typical of contemporary art—between the past and the present would be included, especially when the artistic practice involves the use and appropriation of technologies. Since technological innovations from the past became parameters that are available in procedure libraries—just as, today, appropriation and rearticulation are common practices in institutional and commercial spaces—and in view of the current context, we believe that it is necessary to avoid the use of technological tools, platforms, and interfaces as an articulating axis for the artwork: we must go beyond and include formal, conceptual, technical, cultural, aesthetic, and political issues to create broader and denser senses in response to the multiple situations in which technology is present.

It is important to point out that we must question technology not only regarding its tools, but, above all, regarding its language, which inevitably generates inventive and critical approaches. And maybe there, in the very space in which technology is created through art, is where the most difficult aspect of the works submitted to the Award lies. Therefore, this is the limit within which this selection committee sought to work, giving priority to portfolios that, in some way, folded technology upon itself, emphasizing its implications in view of different aspects of subjectivity and social life.

This is the scenario we sought to highlight through the selection of works for the 9th Sergio Motta Award.