de Andrade, Jonathas. O Peixe | The Fish. 2016, https://vimeo.com/213283861
“The naturality of domination hides the spinal chord of this relationship, constituted by the constant exercise of force, power, and consumption.”
–Jonathas de Andrade (my translation)
Jonathas de Andrade’s multimedia work brings into focus the traces of colonization and slavery in Brazil’s that remain latent in contemporary social dynamics and collective imaginary. Connected to this interest, de Andrade’s pieces often foreground the artificiality of disciplinary truth regimes by playing with their formal conventions (in particular those from the social sciences).
O Peixe is a video-performance disguised as an ethnographic documentary. The video portrays Brazilian fishermen compassionately yet firmly holding fishes close to their own bodies as they wait for their catch to die. One could easily interpret the images as documentation of a “work ritual,” an everyday performance of interspecies care and intimacy that stretches the definition of emotional labor as gendered and restricted to middle-class, white jobs and to people-to-people interactions. That, until one realizes that the embrace-like gesture that fishermen perform is one made up by the artist, who deliberately resorts to fiction to test the limits of exoticization, violence, and credulity of the white gaze.