In contrast with the worldwide trend towards neo-liberal consolidation, political situations in Latin America seem to be in a state of rapid change. The emancipatory movements on this continent have become a focus of projected hopes from many different quarters. This does not always correspond with local realities; the minority progress that is actually achieved does not always live up to these worldwide expectations.
This springerin issue looks at the cultural and artistic promises linked with this political reorientation. In the discussion between the artists Lívia Flores, Lúcia Koch and Ricardo Basbaum, there is explicit debate on the potential for action and resistance of Brazilian contemporary art in the era of Lula da Silva. A special feature is devoted to the current works of Ricardo Basbaum, and examines in particular their implications with regard to developments towards a society of control. The article on the Chilean artist Edgar Endress, who for a long time has been investigating the many small stories of migration along the south-north route, also shows clearly the type of »self-choreographies« that are forced from subjects in the South American context.
»South America: The New Hope?« also however enquires after the prospects of a new »tropical modernity« as formulated, for example, in the manifestos of Brazilian cinema of the sixties. What became of the »aesthetic of rubbish« and the »aesthetic of hunger«, the latter one centrally propagated in the films of Glauber Rocha? In what ways do these productions of classical resistance cinema continue to influence the present? The fact that the significant politico-artistic programmes frequently produced by this continent are not just a thing of the past is demonstrated in a number of articles that look at contemporary Net.art and musical developments.
The concept of South America as a test laboratory of global social justice is discussed thoroughly in this issue – as recently in a series of articles on Argentina –, taking the example of Venezuela under Hugo Chávez.
It remains to be seen to what extent the cultural changes presently taking place in Venezuela and elsewhere on the continent contribute to the formation of new supportive societies, at a global level as well. For this to occur, it is essential for them to be made visible in the first place – something this issue of springerin tries to do.