Vanessa Ramos Velasquez
Vanessa Ramos Velasquez

The work is comprised of a theoretical essay, where I propose a new practice of consumption (ingestion, digestion, excretion) involving a technological mediation. It contains a manifesto-poem with a new take on the original Manifesto Antropófago written by the Brazilian modernist author, Oswald de Andrade in 1928. His manifesto was an assertion of the unique Brazilian voice in the emerging modern time, away from clichés of colonialism, while unapologetically metabolizing outside references from the “First World”. My reflection updates that anthropophagic practice of cultural cannibalism to the digital age, where the virtual world is the new frontier and anyone can be a colonizer. My reflection also thematizes the contemporary carnavalization of indigeonus personhood.

This work was initiated in May 2009 and completed in July 2010. But in reality, it is morphing according to the interplay with the date and place where it’s presented. The work thus becomes anthropophagy in action during the performance. For example, the work was adapted to the specific date of Transmediale.11: as Feb. 2nd is the day Yemanjá I dedicated my presentation to the Afro-Brazilian Goddess, because this deity is herself a result of a cultural synchretism, a remix of African, Amerindian, and European elements. So, I built a boat (symbolic of making offerings to the deity), in which I read my Digital Anthropophagy theory and recited my Anthropophagic Re-Manifesto for the Digital Age. When I finished the reading, I ate a piece of the manifesto and shared it as an ”eucharist” with the audience. Then, I invited the audience to deposit offerings in the Anthropophagic Boat to Yemanjá. Following, I called up a spiritual center of the Yorubá religion in Brazil via Skype to ask for their blessing to put the boat in the virtual sea (video screens with video of ocean recorded in Rio de Janeiro). The performance ended with a Q&A session with the audience while the boat “sailed” through the turbulent waters of digital cannibalism. In the performance at Emergeandsee Media Arts Festival, I built a boat from German newspapers and read Digital Anthropophagy as an “El Requerimiento”. The performance acquired yet additional local flavors at ISEA2011/Istanbul, at the Moscow Biennale, in Norway, as well as in the performances via skype from Berlin to symposia and exhibits in Brazil.

EFEMEROS  A installation that becomes a performance upon public participation

©2009 Vanessa Ramos Velasquez

This work takes as inspiration the ephemeral nature of organic life cycles and interactions. I invite 8 people to participate, thus completing the meaning of the art, which then acquires a local flavor. The piece involves human movement (dancers, guests and audience volunteers), sound art, film projection mixed with videomicrography, and textile design. An immersive environment offering the possibility of a multisensorial interactive experience. The installation becomes a performance upon interaction of the public as participants.

Efemeros is concurrently an investigation into intimacy in the age of digital culture. In my generation, people come together and part ways in a much shorter cycle, greatly due to the impact of digital culture. We live in an age deeply affected by exuberant access to information and consequently, a wide array of choices. We also have incorporated deeply into our beings the connection machinery that supposedly brings us together. Today we walk a fine line between connectivity and isolation and feel naked without our digital gadgets. Alone Together, a term coined by MIT’s Sherry Turkle is perhaps the best way to describe this phenomenon. In Efemeros the question is: What happens when two people are brought face to face, completely stripped? As Oswald de Andrade, the author of the Cannibal Manifesto of 1928, wrote: “What trampled the truth was clothing, an impermeable layer between the inner world and outer world.”  My social experiment proposes art as subjective and organic and that participating audience members become one with the artwork. Accordingly, that interaction completes the artistic meaning, and infuse it with an ephemeral and metamorphic quality.

The handmade film called Metamorfose plays in the background. The filmmaking process: I asked friends throughout the world to bury rolls of 16mm films bare into the earth for 1 year (4 seasons) following a set of my own chance-operation instructions including bathing and spicing the film in substances of their choice before burial. The results of those operations obtained from the participating volunteers dictate how the film is affected by hand by me in post-production and edited. Gradually, this process turns into a full cycle of renewal: death, decay, fertilization, gestation, and rebirth, generating the visuality of each film frame. 

©2009 Vanessa Ramos Velasquez

An excerpt from the film METAMORFOSE: Berlin

©2008 Vanessa Ramos Velasquez

Somnex in Luminem is a live video-dance-sound-art performance featuring dancers whose movement and forms are abstracted to various degrees. The core concept is the play between dream and reality realized as a media conversation executed in space and time. This work was derived from my earlier theatrical performance art piece: We Hide Our Monsters Underneath Our Pillows. The story is based on conflict resolution in the realm of lucid dreaming, a safe place to deal with the duality of human nature including all its violent transgressions. An attempt to attain closure in the space of induced reality. The work is inspired by diverse sources, such as the Amerindian value of dreams; classics of literature: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Steppenwolf; the ethical issues of transcranial cortex stimulation; and the tensions between the Apollonian and Dionysian philosophic principles.

Somnex in Luminem was initially developed in New York City in 2008 with participation of dancers from New York Metropolitan Opera and Flexicurve Dance Company. 

Light-design technique and videoart: the dancers onstage slowly become self-lit, while their LED body lights and body silhouettes are captured by a camera, which in turn feeds the video into the computer software for live manipulation, then projected onto the screen behind the dancers. The live technique creates abstractions of the real-time stage performance. The resulting poetic painting in motion in the background loosely resembles what’s being seen on stage as if in an Alpha (hypnotic) state of dreaming.

The videos below show both the real-time dance performance and the videodance imagery manipulated live during the performances:


SOMNEX IN LUMINEM 2009. Live videodance performance

©2011 Vanessa Ramos Velasquez
©2010 Vanessa Ramos Velasquez

Above: Emergandsee Media Arts Festival, Berlin. 6.2011

Below: ISEA2010/RUHR. 8.2010, manifesto eaten and shared with audience members.

©2011 Vanessa Ramos Velasquez
©2011 Vanessa Ramos Velasquez
©2010 Vanessa Ramos Velasquez

Below: Transmediale.11.

Two slides morph along the 25-minute lecture.

The anthropophagous portrayed by Hans Staden in the 1500’s and the new fine young cannibals at the computer.

Stephen Kovats, Artistic Director of Transmediale.11 introduces the presentation.

A Q&A session follows at the end.


Complete documentation of all performances at

©2008 Vanessa Ramos Velasquez
©2012 Vanessa Ramos Velasquez



Winner of the Vilém Flusser Theory Award Distinction - Transmediale.11

Presented as lecture-performance with publication on event proceedings and catalogues. Premiered at E-Culture Conference section of ISEA2010/RUHR, panel Cyborgs and Transhumans. Further presentations after Transmediale.11: Emergeandsee Media Art Festival, Berlin. 6/2011; ISEA2011/Istanbul; Moscow Biennial 2011; International Congress Image, Imagination, Fantasy: 20 Years without Vilém Flusser, Brazil (via skype from Berlin); Art Exhibit at ABCiber conference 20,000 Leagues, Brazil (via skype from Berlin); Bergen Academy of Art and Design, Norway 3/2012. ISEA2012/Albuquerque (LatinAmericanForum), International Congress Vom Begriff zum Bild: Medienkultur nach Vilém Flusser, Brazil, 12/2012, Kultursymposium Weimar (Goethe Institut) 2016.

Recorded live webcast from Transmediale.11:

Personal archive videos with English subtitles below:

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Art in public space.

©2022 Vanessa Ramos Velasquez
©2016 Vanessa Ramos Velasquez