Digital Culture in Brazilian SF Fandom: The Case of Sertãopunk

Patrick Brock (University of Oslo)

My research into Brazilian online communities shows that social media and blogging are replacing traditional media and academia as the working space of intellectual debate and cultural production for younger generations in the science fiction genre in Brazil. The debate over who created the sf subgenre "sertãopunk" is one example of this process and shows the liquidity and cross-pollination of cultural debates online. Sertãopunk is inspired by the geography and culture of the Northeast of Brazil. This semi-arid and economically underdeveloped region sends its migrants to work as an underclass in the more affluent cities of Southeast Brazil, becoming a signifier of poverty and underdevelopment. In this context, the debate over sertãopunk raises intra-national prejudice issues. Once the subgenre emerged and gained popularity, Northeast readers and creators sought to reject stereotyping and lay claim to this vision, echoing identity and agency struggles among Afro-Brazilians. They sought to reject the notion of underdeveloped region, proposing to imagine the Northeast as a place of potential, technology and culture where multiple temporalities coexist, in an example of futuring or radical utopian act. Therefore, this thematic track will question the consequences of this online shift to the overall debate. Does it become more profound or superficial, for instance? Is online media more conducive to cross-pollination from identity issues of different areas? How constructive can these mini culture wars be to an understanding of place of enunciation and identity issues? How self-publication platforms affect notions of genre? Is the Brazilian sf fandom taking upon itself the task of decolonizing the genre? How the creation of a subgenre serves as a signpost of status in the fandom community? I hope to divulge my findings with tentative responses to some of these questions and learn what others are researching in science fiction fandom in the Americas.

Creating a Movement from Scratch: A Testimony about the Birth and Growth of Sertãopunk

Gabriele Gomes Diniz (Federal University of Ceará)

Sertãopunk is a Brazilian movement of speculative fiction, and quite unlike other cultural movements, it started from scratch, and got disseminated through social media. At the time of its conception, there weren't any published works that would classify as sertãopunk and now, two years later, researchers and authors from around the globe know its name. How to get a new cultural movement up and running, with only a concept to begin with? One of the three creators of sertãopunk will give her testimony on how to movement was created, built, and developed in social media and virtual spaces, from the conception of sertãopunk to its international reach. She also will discuss how the movement mobilized on social media to raise issues of authenticity and stereotyping, staking its claim to the genre’s authorship and questioning an essay published by an independent magazine for literary criticism.

Amazofuturism: A Consensus within the Brazilian Science Fiction Community?

Vítor Castelões Gama (University of Brasília)

Amazofuturism is a science fiction subgenre gaining momentum in Brazil. The subgenre proposes a positive view about the Amazon region of Brazil, this subgenre is akin to cyberpunk and solarpunk aesthetic. Yet unlike other subgenres in Brazil (such as Sertãopunk, Cyberagrest and Afrofuturism), Amazofuturism had no significant backlash from within the sf community. Despite that, I believe that Amazofuturism has an intense potential for conflict, which lies not primarily in external factors, but is rather located internally. These conflicts are contained in common representations about the Amazon region, such as the Earthly Heaven or Green Hell dichotomy. I will briefly exemplify amazofuturist works and other speculative fiction of and about the Amazon, characterizing them either on heaven or hell representation. I will focus my analysis on the artworks of João Queiroz and Keoma Calandrini and address their commonalities and differences in an attempt to showcase what these aspects mean to Amazofuturism as a whole. João Queiroz favors a solarpunk aesthetic, while Keoma Calandrini favors a cyberpunk aesthetic. Both artists, accordingly, present different aspects of the amazonic experience and, most relevant to my objective, maintain and strengthen the representations of earthly heaven and green hell. This binary, I will suggest is tied to seasonal experiences of the Amazon, which corresponds to the flood and drought of the Amazon rivers. In addition, the Amazon is a floating signifier, and this characteristic is brought to the forefront of regional art.

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