The Imaginary Brazil in contemporary Film, Fashion, and Design
In Favelization, Kertzer sets out to understand the ways in which specific producers of contemporary Brazilian culture capitalized on misappropriations of the favela (informal squatter settlements that grow along the hillsides and lowlands of many Brazilian cities) in order to brand luxury items as “Brazilian.” Kertzer analyzes the the works of artists and designers citing instances of engagement with primitivism and stereotype to make their goods more desirable to a non-Brazilian audience. The author further argues that the processes of interpretation, aestheticization, transcendence, and domination are part of the favelization phenomenon. Originally written by Kertzer as a thesis for Parsons The New School for Design’s Masters program in the History of Decorative Arts and Design, Favelization locates design as part of a broader constellation of representations that includes a variety of forms from printed media to film.

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