Sound Matters in Poetry, Music, and Arts Under Dictatorship in Brazil
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This dissertation, “Sound Matters in Poetry, Music and Arts Under Dictatorship in Brazil,” shows how experiments with sound across three different fields—poetry, popular music, and fine art—established new models for poetic, musical, and artistic interventions in which sounding and listening practices were set to destabilize traumatic experiences under the Brazilian dictatorship of 1964–1985. The cases analyzed in this dissertation are a particular iteration of the long Brazilian modernist tradition, which both responds to global aesthetic modernism and local desires for the construction of a national culture. The first chapter looks at Augusto de Campos’s late concrete poetry, arguing that it is as auditory as it is visual, and that sound is central to his engagement with politics and media in mid-1960s Brazil. The second chapter turns to João Gilberto and Caetano Veloso’s early 1970s work: I show how, prompted by concrete poetry and new media technologies, these artists tackled the trauma of exile through an unconventional and creative use of sound, expanding musical conventions. The final chapter engages with sound art and media, examining works by Antonio Dias, Cildo Meireles, Waltercio Caldas, and Paulo Bruscky: I analyze how they used vinyl records as a sculptural medium in order to combine conceptual inquiry with political critique. Ultimately, this dissertation presents a poetics of sound fostered by artists who created forms of micropolitical dissent during times of macropolitical authoritarianism and brutality.
Brazilian Popular Music
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