Revelry visions 2 – Carioca street Carnival as an uprising

In 2022, the most traditional Dionysian festival of Brazilian culture was banned in the public spaces of the city of Rio de Janeiro, being only allowed in paid establishments, with Covid-19 control as justification, even though with seventy per cent of the population vaccinated. As Brazil continues to live under practices of censorship (practiced executed by the country’s conservative powers) and repression of a(r)tivist expressions – which sought somehow to denounce especially necropolitics (Mbembe, 2018) and abjections to the other (Butler, 2018) – this, added to two years of pandemic, insurgencies keep sprouting in urban everyday life, giving birth to potency where power is experienced.

Tracing unexpected routes through the city, the festive and erotic forms (Maffesoli, 2014) of the street block Carnival built breaches in the face of State interdiction. Thus, the movement of the street Carnival in Rio de Janeiro somehow resumes a place of social protagonism, going against a strict regulatory process, underlining not only the debate on the right to the city, but also – from the aesthetic and aesthetic experiences, revealed in the gestures of existences performed along the parades, through music, song and dance – the desire to continue being and having the ability to imagine, start over and share emotions and affections in the city’s everyday life.

The insubordinate bodies – sensitively experiencing the city with others, making incursions that begin in the morning and continue throughout the day, night and dawn, to return to the festive cycle and moving in the form of parade, walking through alleys, streets, alleys and occupying squares – reveal the transgressive power of the Carnival festival in which the street is lived, felt and symbolically transmuted as a space of freedom, sharing of affections and love for life. The street becomes flesh!

Corpographing (Jacques, 2012) the transgressive Carnival party through the spaces of the Port Zone of Rio de Janeiro, I invite all the readers to feel the meanings of this event through my body launched in this festive sensitive experience, in the sensitive and dissensual sharing (Rancière, 2009) of this community, which performs a small “uprising for life” (Didi-Huberman, 2017), for the right to exist in different ways, despite everything!

Text and images: Cíntia Sanmartin Fernandes, Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro – UERJ

Published on 05-04-2022


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