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Giving visibility to urban change in Rio de Janeiro through digital audio-visual culture: A Brazilian webdocumentary project and its circulation

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This article discusses the crowdfunded Brazilian webdocumentary project Domínio Público (produced by the audio-visual collective Paêbirú Realizações Cultivadas), which portrays urban transformations in Rio de Janeiro in the run-up to the city’s hosting of the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games, with a particular focus on the impact in the city’s favelas. It argues that Domínio Público can be understood as a snapshot of a key moment in the recent history of Rio de Janeiro and of Brazil, which intertwines Rio’s urban transformations with digital audio-visual culture, fundamental for the circulation and visibility of these processes in Brazil and abroad, as well as with national political processes and crises which would go on to take unforeseen directions and proportions after the film’s release. The article shows how circulation and visibility were embedded in the project from the outset, and became an intrinsic part of its critical narrative on urban transformations.
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Keywords: Brazil; Rio de Janeiro; circulation; favelas; mega-events; urban change; visibility; webdocumentary

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Queen’s University Belfast

Publication date: July 1, 2017

More about this publication?
  • Cities have been increasingly at the forefront of debate in both humanities and social-science disciplines, but there has been relatively little dialogue across these disciplinary boundaries. Journals in social-science fields that use urban-studies methods to look at life in cities rarely explore the cultural aspects of urban life in any depth or delve into close readings of the representation of cities in individual cultural products. As a platform for interdisciplinary scholarship from any and all linguistic, cultural and geographical traditions, the Journal of Urban Cultural Studies prioritizes the urban phenomenon in order to better understand the culture(s) of cities.
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