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Geography, Music, Space

Fausto Di Quarto (Sociology, Bicocca University of Milan) - Short film: Reclaiming Democratic (Public) Spaces through Music: The Case of Viaduto Santa Tereza in Belo Horizonte (Brazil) (7 mins)

09:00-11:00 - Session I: The political spaces of music

Throughout history, groups excluded from political life have used public spaces as the place of political struggle where to earn the right to be part of the public political arena (Fani, 2007; Harvey, 2001; Lefebvre, 1976). Considering art as a form of dissent against institutional power, music is here being conceived as universal vector allowing a full sensory re-appropriation: it propagates through space boundless, undisciplined, disclosing the city’s invisible “power borders” and producing change by bringing forth problems and opportunities that feed the need for discussion and comparison among different subjects (Lamotte, 2014; Leite, 2004; Dayrell, 2001). Focusing on the public space as the locus for democracy, and conceiving conflict as constitutive of the social condition and democratic politics (Swyngedouw, 2012), this contribution analyzes a residual/interstitial space under a bridge called “Viaduto Santa Tereza” and discusses how this area has become a hot spot for musical, cultural and political life of Belo Horizonte (MG) thanks to a small group of people who started in 2008 to use this empty space for a batalha de MC's (rap freestyle “battle”), expanding to become one of the most interesting example of cultural experimentation and political commitment in the city and in Brazil. Evidences showed a negotiation of power and an on-going struggle for democratic politics in the city council: the Viaduto embodies the place of the right to the city for groups who call for transparency and participation in the political arena of Belo Horizonte.

Dayrell Juarez. 2001. A musica entra em cena: o rap e o funk na socializaçao da juventude em Belo Horizonte, Tese de Doutorado em Educaçao
Fani, Ana Carlos. 2007. O Espaço Urbano: novos escritos sobre a cidade, Labur ediçoes, San Paolo. Harvey David. 2002 [2000]. Spaces of Hope, Edinburgh Univ. Press, Edinburgh.
Lamotte, Martin. 2014. “Rebels without a Pause: Hip-Hop and Resistance in the City.” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 38 (July 2011): 686–94.
Lefebvre Henri. 1976 [1968]. Il diritto alla città - 3. ed. Marsilio, Padova.

Leite Rogerio. 2004. Contra-usos da cidade: lugares e espaços publicos na experiencia urbana contemporanea, UNICAMP, Campinas (SP).
Swyngedouw, Erik. 2009. “The Antinomies of the Postpolitical City: In Search of a Democratic Politics of Environmental Production.” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 33(3): 601–20.