Bárbara Wagner comments 'You are seeing things'

Artist Bárbara Wagner, in partnership with Benjamin de Burca, deconstructs the Brega phenomenon in the film Estás vendo coisas [You Are Seeing Things] (2016), ​commissioned by the #32bienal. Below, Wagner comments the film and shows some references that led to the creation of the work: : 

"In the social and professional landscape of Brega music from Recife, video clips are the catalyst of an imagined future punctuated by a powerful appetite for success as encouraged by capitalism. You are seeing things looks at this world where self-regulation and image management play a crucial role in the construction of voice, status and identity of a whole new generation of popular artists.

MC Porck in Estás vendo coisas, 2016

MC Porck photographing a client in his salon, in the Vietnã neighborhood, Recife, 2015

Dayana Paixão in Estás vendo coisas, 2016

Scripted and performed by actual members of the Brega scene, the film follows two main characters – hairdresser / MC Porck and irefighter / romantic singer Dayana Paixão– as they plot their course from studio to stage. Resembling a musical, You are seeing things is set in the darkness of a nightclub, where gestures are accompanied by melodies about love, fidelity, success and wealth. Drawn from its mediatised context, Brega language is broken and rearranged to expose the vocabulary of spectacle experienced as a form of affective labour.

Brega is an informal term applied to a whole body of mass-oriented popular music produced since the 70's with a strong association to the idea of bad taste. Rooted in a broader context of socio-economic phenomena, today Brega has incorporated sophisticated methods of production and distribution, giving account of the visibility of a middle class society reaching out of the favelas of Brazil. Different from approaches that often satirize the subject by magnifying its carnivalesque aspects, You are seeing things adopts a psychological and more melancholic tone to reflect on how cultural expressions respond to economic conditions.".